Monday, July 02, 2007



In the four years since iTunes popularized the sale of music online, many in the music business have become discouraged by what they consider to be the near-monopoly that Mr. Jobs has held in the digital sector — the one part of the music business that is showing significant growth. In particular, Mr. Jobs’s stance on song pricing and the iPod’s lack of compatibility with music services other than iTunes have become points of contention.

At the same time, Mr. Jobs has refused the industry’s calls for Apple to license its proprietary copy restriction software to other manufacturers. Music executives want the software to be shared so that services other than iTunes can sell music that can be played on the iPod, and so that other devices can play songs bought from iTunes.

Mr. Jobs has argued that sharing the software with other companies would increase the likelihood that its protections would be cracked by hackers, among other problems. Instead, he asked the music companies to drop their insistence on copy protection altogether. So far, only one of the four music companies, EMI, has made a deal to sell unrestricted music through iTunes.

The article is primarily about Universal not signing an agreement for Apple to sell it's catalog on iTunes, but it raises another topic that I have some concern about, the iLife initiative. A lot of Apple fans are really digging the great new inventive products flying out of Steve Jobs ass these days, but most of those fans are rapidly overlooking the problem situation of Apple's insistence on not sharing it's products with other services. Indeed the recent iPhone release is only available on the AT&T network. While I'm sure these negotiations were going on before the big merger, but AT&T, the NEW AT&T is quickly becoming the old AT&T(anyone know how to spell monopoly?).

Who cares? Well I think there are two problems here depending on your viewpoint. Fans of Apple may one day come to discover that their White Knight of technology is trying to become another Microsoft. Once the company that claimed Microsoft was stealing all of their good ideas. One idea they've stolen from the thieves is market dominance. While Apple computers aren't enveloping the PC market yet, other Apple products are making it difficult for competitors. iTunes is such a product and the inability to use any software other than iTunes with it is eventually going to cause a problem in that you have to go to Apple all the time. Why is this a problem, well I guess that depends on whether I'm right about the second problem, Monopoly. Sure monopolies are supposedly illegal right now, but anyone eyeing the media conglomerates has to appreciate that companies nowadays are taking the place of tycoons of the olden days. Companies in big markets are focusing less on one type of service and are attempting to saturate multiple markets with their brand name. Just like Microsoft broke the video game console barrier and is trying to takeover other media devices, Apple has a planned market environment that revolves around one name Apple. Everything from music players to DVR systems are being created in the Apple world. The drawbacks are going to be seen in real competition and consumer choice in the market.

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