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Apple, Coke to Give Away 70 Million iTunes Songs in Europe

Apple (AAPL) is teaming up with Coca-Cola (KO) in Europe to give away about 70 million songs on its market-leading iTunes Music Store — more than a third of the total number of songs it has sold there to date.

The companies declined to disclose terms of the deal.

In just over two years, Apple has sold 200 million songs in Europe, with about 150 million coming in the last 12 months.

Previously, Apple had teamed up with Coke's rival PepsiCo (PEP) for a giveaway of 100 million songs in the United States.

In Britain, Coke will distribute 70 million song codes inside packs of Coca-Cola and Diet Coke that can be redeemed for tracks at the iTunes store, where they usually sell for 79 pence ($1.47) each.

In Germany Coke will give away some 67,000 iTunes songs and 1,500 iPod portable music players, and other European promotions will follow in the coming months.

The Coke-Apple alliance comes weeks after Coke bowed out of the online music category by closing its mycokemusic service, one of the first European download stores when it launched in January 2004.

Since the launch of iTunes in Europe, the service's market share had slipped into insignificance.

"Mycokemusic.com was the first to the market, but we've decided that everybody is great at something," said Chris Burggraeve, Coca-Cola's director of marketing for the European Union. "Apple is undeniably the leader in this field."

Apple's dominance in the European download market has been challenged in recent months, with France passing a law that could force it to open its iTunes store to portable music players other than the iPod.

Three Nordic countries have also demanded that Apple open its platform to competitors.