LONDON - Apple Computer launched its highly anticipated iTunes Music Store in Europe on Tuesday, expanding the popular digital music service to users in Britain, France and Germany.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said iTunes would be available without subscription. The charge for downloading a single track would be 79 pence ($1.43) in the United Kingdom and 99 euro cents ($1.20) in Germany and France.
Jobs boasted that more than 85 million songs have been downloaded from iTunes in the United States. Along with the United States, France, Germany and the United Kingdom account for 60 percent of global music sales.
Apple plans to launch a pan-European iTunes store, covering those countries not involved in Tuesday’s launch, around October, Jobs said at a news conference.
The iTunes unveiled in Europe will feature new technology including free print-out CD inserts and allow iTunes users to share music through a wireless Internet server.
‘‘We are trying to marry the music and technology to bring it to people in a creative way,’’ Jobs said.
Apple also plans to introduce its iPod mini, the smaller version of its iPod MP3 player, in the United Kingdom, France and Germany next month.
Shares in Apple rose 57 cents to close at $30.69 Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
On the eve of Apple’s overseas entry into the online music market, Napster UK Limited, a subsidiary of Roxio, announced an exclusive, threemonth marketing deal with Britain’s leading broadband service provider, ntl Napster said its month-old British online music offering would be bundled with ntl’s Broadband Plus service package beginning in July.
Microsoft Corp. also announced an expanded relationship with British-based OD2, a leading distributor in Europe’s small but growing legal online music business. Microsoft MSN’s music product, powered by OD2’s SonicSelector jukebox, is already available in the UK, France and Italy but was expanded to Germany and will be offered in Belgium and Spain.