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Apple delivers iTunes Canada

Company will charge 99 Canadian cents per song in hopes its online music store will take off in the Great White North.

Apple Computer on Thursday launched a version of its iTunes online music service in Canada.

The company said its Canadian site will offer the same features as its U.S. and European iTunes operations, including access to more than 700,000 individual songs and incorporation of the same content usage rights applied to its existing services. The service will charge 99 Canadian cents (83 cents) per track.

The launch comes just days after Apple missed its previously announced deadline to introduce the service. The company had originally expected to take iTunes live in Canada by the end of November.

"It's a lot of hard work," said Apple vice president Eddy Cue. "It took us a few extra hours than we thought it would."

In addition to hammering out details over song rights and taxes, Apple also made the Canadian store bilingual--with listings in both French and English.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple introduced its online music store in the United States in spring 2003 and expanded to Britain, France and Germany in June. Last month, Apple added nine more European countries.

In addition to bringing iTunes to Canada, Apple plans to bring its retail stores north of the border. The company expects to open an Apple store in Toronto by the middle of next year.

In the U.S. market for legal music downloads, iTunes controls 70 percent market share. According to Apple, it has sold more than 150 million tracks since the service was launched in April 2003.

Apple will look to add more stores in the coming year.

"There are certainly a few more countries in Europe and Asia that are potential opportunities," Cue said. "That's something we hope to work on and address next year."

CNET's Ina Fried contributed to this report.