E-commerce was supposed to break down borders, but try buying something from a website overseas and you’ll frequently find that there’s some lawyer who says you can’t.
A tune might be available on iTunes in the UK or France, but if your iTunes account is in Germany or Sweden you will often find yourself barred from buying it. Sometimes, the European Single Market is little more than an illusion – and for expats in particular, it can be frustrating.
The European Commission is now trying to bang a few heads together. Competition commissioner Nellie Kroes has brought together Apple’s Steve Jobs, the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and the CEO of eBay to try to work out what can be done.
Still, isn’t it odd that Eurocrats should be needed to persuade companies to sell their products to consumers who want to buy them? Surely good capitalists should want to find a way to make this happen?