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Apple confirms MySpace ban in retail stores

MySpace profile browsing was clogging store traffic, an official statement from the company says.

In New York City, you can go to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in midtown 24 hours a day, seven days a week and browse the Web from the Macs on display. But due to a new Apple regulation, you can no longer access

From a black MacBook laptop at the cube-shaped retail store on Friday morning, most Web sites were loading at full speed. But when an attempt was made to load MySpace's Web site, the Safari browser delayed and failed to load it. Indeed, a post Thursday night on the Apple rumor community ThinkSecret had said Apple was in the process of blocking the popular social-networking site from the Macs in Apple Stores because MySpace users were taking up too much time on the machines.

The 5th Avenue Apple Store in NYC Apple

A statement from Apple Friday confirmed this. "Nearly 2 million people visit Apple stores every week," the statement read. "We want to provide everyone a chance to test-drive a Mac, so we are no longer offering access to MySpace in our stores." According to an Apple representative, the News Corp.-owned MySpace is the only site that has been blocked.

Representatives from MySpace were not immediately available for comment.

An Apple Store employee (who does not work in the Fifth Avenue store), confirmed to CNET that this has been an ongoing problem. "MySpace is a big issue for the Apple stores because people come in, Photobooth themselves (using Macs' built-in webcams), then stick their picture up on their MySpace account and loiter at machines for hours," the source said in an e-mail. "It is especially troublesome at the flagships and high-volume stores, and for a while there was no official word on how to deal with it."

Heavy MySpace use was simply getting in the way of business. And with the impending launch of the iPhone, perhaps the most hyped Apple product yet, store traffic could reach a fever pitch.

The source went on to say that restricted Internet browsing is not an entirely new strategy for Apple's retail stores: the San Francisco Apple store had configured a few machines on display to only allow access to sites bookmarked by Apple, so the PCs would be available for demonstration purposes. The other machines had unrestricted Internet browsing enabled.

While MySpace is currently the only site blocked, according to Apple's official representative, the retail employee added in the e-mail that some stores voluntarily impose mild filters to block pornographic content. Blocking MySpace may help alleviate this, the source added, as "there are some more-than-R-rated MySpace photos out there."