Real annoys Apple, BusinessWeek gets confused

Jul 30, 2004 16:18 · 359 words · 2 minute read

Real Networks has [introduced software that allows them to make their songs compatible with iPods][1]. This means there are now two three legitimate places to buy music for the iPod. Of course, Apple promises to make the next version of the iPod software disable these Real songs.

Choice #3, is really the best choice because you don’t need to worry about stupid DRM wars. Apple’s promise to disable these songs is reminiscent of Microsoft ensuring that their software had compatibility problems with DR-DOS, which was later found to be anticompetitive behavior.

The article about this in BusinessWeek (which is a commentary piece, so I guess I should blame the commentator, not BW) is confused about consumer motivations.

For years, the open approach failed to turn it into a viable business. Apple made that happen.

The open approach was never tried. The initial services set up by the major labels were just plain stupid. Apple has had success with their store because they made a really cool player and provided what was easily the best online music store experience available.

This doesn’t mean that Apple deserves some special protection. They need to continue to fight for their business the same as anyone else. I, as a consumer who owns an iPod, would love to have more choices of places to buy music.

Over the past few years, largely because of the DMCA, companies that make real, physical products are exerting control over how those products are used. That’s obnoxious. If I buy a device, I should be able to use it in all sorts of ways that the original creator may not have thought of. Copyright laws already exist to protect content holders from wanton infringement, so there’s no need to cripple the devices that I can buy.

The DMCA is several years old now, so some people are probably getting so used to it that they think this is “the way it should be”. Wrong. The DMCA is bad legislation for the vast majority of people and should be corrected.

[1]: Apple rails against Real%27s iPod move/2100-1041_3-5288378.html?part=rss&tag=5288378&subj=news.1041.20 “‘Stunned’ Apple rails against Real’s iPod move | CNET”