37 thoughts on “Another day, Another iPod Obit”

  1. Yes, a Gallic shrug would be La Mère of all bitch-slaps, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving government.

    Is it wrong for me to really, really want this to happen? (rhetorical question)

    Oh please oh please oh please oh please!!!!

  2. “The iLock-in is really iConvenience”

    Om, why is this true? What’s the convenience? Apple already has a licensing scheme for hardware that’s compatible with iPod. Why can this not be extended to software? Had Apple not been so hardball about the lock in, refusing Real’s request to license FairPlay, I doubt this issue would ever have come up.

    “No body is forcing anyone to buy music from the iTunes”

    Nobody was forcing anyone to buy Windows either, but that didn’t mean Microsoft didn’t have a monopoly.

  3. No one’s forcing you to buy Windows ? When was the last time you were able to get your money back for the preloaded Windows on the PC you juse purchased ? How often do you see “Linux” as an option for pre-installed OS’s from the Dell’s, Gateways, and HP’s of the world.

    I have the answer for you: NOT BLOODY OFTEN.

    Now as for the “iLockin”. Are you insane. You can ask for your online library to be stored to MP3 locally. Which can then be dragged and dropped ( or are you too lazy to resort to that ), to whatever digital content manager your “other” MP3 player supports. I’ve done it. I’ve used this same exact mechanism to move files from my iTunes library to my Rio Forge mini-MP3 player. It works. Maybe the iTunes program doesn’t “integrate” with the other player, but so what. Why should it HAVE to ? iTunes was made for iPOD, not the other way around, don’t get your brain whirled up into a tizzy trying to make sense of that. Software is ALWAYS made to support Hardware. As far back as there has existed “BIG IRON” ( one among many names for computers like IBM’s S360 ), software has existed for making the hardware useful. Only since the dawn of the “PC Era” has the notion that we make software for it’s own sake.

    I’m as much for “fair use” backup of my digital content ( and since I paid for it, I DO consider it MINE. ). But, what the French government is proposing is, oh hell I’ll just quote OM…RIDICULOUS. This, coming from a government that screws over the young people entering the work force from college. 2 year probationary period without recourse if you’re fired with no reason given ? Get real.

  4. I kind of agree that standalone mp3 players are going to be a thing of the past in the next few years. I think more and more customers are going to want players capable of video, some kind of wireless access and possibly dvb/OTA hdtv tuner built in and a decent screen (touch screen).
    I just got a Nokia N770 (discounted at the IETF 🙂 ) and couldnt be happier. This thing packs a gorgeous 800×480 4.1″ screen with 802.11 b/g and bluetooth with a touch screen interface. It has the regular assortment of utilities
    and IM clients, opera/firefox derived browser. No VoIP client yet but that is going to be addressed pretty soon.
    I now use this mostly for all my music and videos and yes it has the standard 3.5 mm stereo adapter.
    I think nokia missed a beat here by not including a built in hdd.
    Of course this doesnt preclude apple from doing something similar.

    Nokia if you are listening i would like one with a OTA hdtv tuner and a 20gig hdd for xmas :-).

  5. Getting rid of DRM on CDS and DVS that restrict a user from making a backup copy or transferring the data to a laptop hardrive or iPod for later viewing/listening should be encouraged from the consumer’s view point. Why is everybody making this look like a predominately anti-iTunes law?

  6. A big “What If”… but what if (say) a Nokia phone enabled p2p sharing of music (and other data) — be it off of a mobile BitTorrent application and/or a bluetooth capacity?

  7. I can’t see anything that indicates that the French government want to get rid of DRM. The law that was passed, as I understand, simply calls for the ability to play DRMed files on any target hardware capable of playing a digital music file. In other words, that means licensing FairPlay to other hardware makers, so that, some years down the line when your iPod has gone and you decided to move to AN Other make, you can still play what you paid for. I didn’t realise that was so unreasonable.

    I also doubt that licensing out will stop iPods being iConvenient – unless there is something in the FairPlay code that does very strange things.

  8. Om, just wanted to say that this judgement of yours seems pretty funny seen from France. Do you know anything about the french market? iTunes and iPod are not as dominant as in the States, and the generic portable mp3 player was not killed by the iPod (actually, they don’t sell so much iPod device here…).

    I was amazed to read all those articles and viewpoints about the DADVSI law and Apple. WTF? Nothing in the law was specifically about Apple. They barely mentioned Apple in the tens of hours of the debate (and I’ve watched most of it…).

    Anyway, this is not about Apple. It’s more about interoperability. It’s not at all about the iPod (which plays mp3, an industry standard), but it IS about iTunes Music Store (35% of the French market?) which sells music with FairPlay DRM, and about VirginMega.fr and FnacMusic.fr and all the other ones which sell music with WMA DRM. So, in terms of market share, it’s more about Microsoft than about Apple.

    Last funny thing about all this ruckus: this interoperability amendment (no, it’s not about the French Gvt either, since the minister was against this one) is maybe the only positive (albeit “idealistic”) feature in an overall crappy and dangerous law. Why aren’t you discussing the effects of all those other features on free software, legal security of software development as a whole, intellectual property rights, private copy, p2p and fair use, etc.?

    PS. I don’t care about Apple shutting down the french iTunes Music Store because they don’t wont to allow other software or devices to play their FairPlay AAC. Why would I want to buy DRM-stricken low quality music files when I can buy a CD for roughly the same price on amazon, then have a CD (no need to backup), and can rip it to mp3, ogg vorbis or flac?

  9. “Last funny thing about all this ruckus: this interoperability amendment (no, it’s not about the French Gvt either, since the minister was against this one) is maybe the only positive (albeit “idealistic”) feature in an overall crappy and dangerous law. Why aren’t you discussing the effects of all those other features on free software, legal security of software development as a whole, intellectual property rights, private copy, p2p and fair use, etc.?”

    Uh, why did the Culture Ministry (of all things) sponsor this? They’re they protector of all things — this definitely was an anti-American (i.e. anti-Apple) bill.

  10. One last thing:
    Sorry if I sound bitter in this previous comment, but when you’ve spent weeks discussing a complex bill, trying to read through legal code, amendments and sub-amendments, watching to the Parliament debates until 2-3 in the morning (very harsh debates, very interesting), discussing amendments that could facilitate the access of blind people to books (including academic books), discussing possible (very small yet important) exceptions to the author’s monopoly on distribution of their works for pedagogical purposes, etc. [I stop here because there’s much more in this bill and the relative amendments that were proposed]…

    Well, you’ve been discussing and analysing all these things and then there’s this guy who sums it up as “OMG the French are so dumb they want to force Apple out of the country!”… your first reaction would be to reply: “F**k you, you don’t know shit about this!”

    Please notice that I tried to be a bit more constructive.

  11. Similarly, I find the French desire to get rid of DRM absolutely ridiculous

    The debate about this law have been going on in france for 4 months now and I’ve been following it closely. And let me tell you one thing: you don’t have a clue of what you’re talking about.

    “You can go to Virgin megastore and buy a CD and rip it to load it up on your iPod”
    Not if the CD is “copy protected”. You have to break the protection to rip it… And this French law says it is illegal to break DRM. What you are allowed to do is to reverse engineer the DRM for interoperability purpose. And the law also says that it is not illegal to publish the source code of the software that interoperate with a DRM.

    This law is the equivalent of the american DMCA (but worse).
    One of the amendement of this law is called the Vivendi amendement. Because is was written by Vivendi Universal, one of the major music compagny. Here is a rought translation of what it says:

    Is punished by three years of imprisonment and 300 000 euros of fine, the fact :
    “1° to place at the disposal of the public or to communicate to the public, knowingly and in any form that it is, a device obviously intended to let unauthorized public access works or protected objects;

    “2° to incite knowingly the use of a device mentioned with the 1°.”

    This is a big threat to open source software.

    This law is mostly pro-DRM. But thank to the courage of a few “deputé”, in the middle of the night, the last day of debate, it was amended to save interoperability and open source software.

    But it is not finished yet, the senate has now to read the text. And he might change it in any direction…

    You trade interoperability for convenience and lock-in.

    “The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either” Benjamin Franklin

  12. Sounds great in theory, but good intentions rarely wind up with good solutions. Especially when a government is involved.

    Does anyone have any idea about how this mandated interoperability is supposed to look like in practice (real products and services)? Anyone with any engineering skills actually think about how this will be implemented in a way that doesn’t leave companies liable when the DRM is unreliable, or doesn’t leave customers confused and annoyed when things no longer just work? That’s what Apple’s comment is about – if either of those things happen, either the music companies will stupidly pack up, or the consumers will smartly pack up and head to other places to find the music for their players (you know, mp3s won’t suffer any of these DRM not working annoyances).

    Everyone seems to think implementing DRM is so easy or bringing multiple schemes together in one product or service will be a piece of cake. It’s mighty complex. Anyone remember Microsoft’s ebook reader stuff locking you out, and that was just getting one scheme to work right?

    Someone said a music store can just offer the song in any DRM format the user wants (like audible does). But how does that help when I want to switch formats later (because I bought a new player)? Does the store just let me go back and get a new copy in the latter format? Another said to let you buy multiple copies (in different formats) for a few cents more. Yeah, that’ll work, users are just dying to triple the size of every song on their hard drives, just in case.

    Can I have an engineering answer please from those defending this part of the law…

  13. @ mark:
    « Sounds great in theory, but good intentions rarely wind up with good solutions. Especially when a government is involved. »
    True enough. I said this one little amendment (out of a text of 20 articles and 300 amendments…) was idealistic. I think that it won’t make Apple and Sony and Microsoft open their closed formats. But at leas it might start a national (and hopefully international) reflexion on DRM. Right now something like 2 or 3 per cent of culture and knowledge have DRM. Do we really have to wait until it’s 90 per cent before adressing this issue?

  14. By the way, the iTunes Music Store has moved to over 40% of the French market, whereas a year ago the three stores had about 33% each. Not dominant, but it’s now a clear majority.

    The main problem is no one seems too clear on what the bill actually means. The IFPI (European Music Industry Org) can’t even figure out if they really support the bill. They breathe this stuff for a living and all they can manage is that they support it “in principle”, and need to assess it some more. And yet, it’s already been voted on by 400 legislators. Isn’t that scary?

    So, does it mean that Apple has to let other stores sell Fairplayed tracks? If yes, then if those tracks don’t work exactly right in iTunes or on an iPod, who is inconvenienced, and whose fault is it? Who do you call? The Ghostbusters?

    Does it mean that Apple has to let other device makers (or other companies jukebox software) play Fairplayed tracks? If yes, then if iTMS tracks don’t work exactly right in those players, who is inconvenienced, and whose fault is it?

    Does it mean that Apple has to make iTunes (or gasp, the iPod) play protected WMA tracks? When it doesn’t work right, who is inconvenienced, and whose fault is it?

    Or does it simply mean that Microsoft has to make a version of WMP for the Mac that plays protected WMA tracks? Uh, guess not.

    I could go on and on like this. And I haven’t mentioned ATRAC yet or Real’s Helix stuff, or Om’s Garage Shop’s latest DRM innovation.

    Answers anyone?

  15. I am not sure how iTunes/iPod is NOT a lock in? Actually the only other means of buying music for my iPod is buying CDs. Most music download services will have some sort of DRM, why even Audible has a DRMed version of books… and if Ipod didnt support the .aa format (which thankfully, it does), otherwise i wouldnt be able to listen to Audible either.

    I would definately like my iPod to play playforsure DRMed files. But obviously thats not going to happen. But I dont see anything wrong with that, as a consumer. Shame Jhymn doesnt work with iTunes 6… yet…

    And in reply to Marks’ post, well if payforsure can do it fairplay can do it too… I dont really think its that hard to make most MP3 players that compatible with both schemes or even one scheme. Multitude of players are already out for the MS playforsure DRM.

  16. Samir,

    Playsforsure. Maybe. That’s exactly the point. Go and read reviews of the multitudes of playsforsure or janus players and you’ll see that people still are having problems getting things to play or sync/update. It’s been over three years now (for WMA in general – a little less for playsforsure and less still for janus). Omar Shahine (MS employee) just wrote recently on his blog that he’s given up looking for a WMA player that works as well as an iPod. Why is that?

    Because if Company A writes common software, and many Companies (B to Z) create differentiatable hardware to use that common software, there are problems, little problems that annoy. Company A can’t work extra hard with just one Company’s hardware to fix problems – that’s not a level playing ground for all the other Companies. And it’s a lot of work for Company A to do it with everyone. Company A can make a reference platform – but Companies B to Z are competing against each other, they want theirs to be special and different from the others, so they will veer away from any reference platform.

    Now this was accepted for computers and OSes. And Windows users accepted all sorts of problems – BSOD, driver issues, registry issues, etc. But the mainstream consumer electronics world is different. Do you tolerate freeze-ups or reboots on your TV or DVD player or stereo? Would you tolerate it in your car or your kitchen appliances? I don’t think so. Do you know that this is one of the major reasons people choose iPods (and Macs)?

    Don’t take my word for it. Even Napster (a WMA store) has voiced their displeasure with Microsoft over the WMA/playsforsure performance, saying that has caused people to choose the iPod over WMA players, and therefore, iTMS over Napster.

    The second point is when you put two DRMs on the same player or jukebox, and two jukebox interfaces for a player, you can expect either a sparser interface, or an exponential growth in problems. iTunes knows it’s always talking to an iPod, so I can add features, like sync/playlists/times played, and the ensuing complexity in the interface between the two because it’s still one-to-one. But if iTunes has to handle multiple player interfaces for players built by different companies, it will need to simplify the features to make it work within a timeframe because I can’t be sure that every player will present the same capability.

  17. Aurelien,

    Interoperability sounds good, but without a single standard to converge upon, it is fool’s gold. It’s an N-squared problem or an endless drain on resources.

    It’s better to choose instead to:
    A. Get rid of DRM altogether, or
    B. Mandate a single standard for everyone who wants to play.

    So did we ask vendors to make divergent networking standards interoperable? Did we say that your product must work with all others? Or did we say that everyone’s product should converge on a single standard? Hey, isn’t this why the Internet works?

    Good intentions, bad law.

  18. @ mark :

    Well, sorry about that mark but you should just stick to what the law says…

    This amendment enables people/companies to ask DRM makers (through justice if necessary) for the means to play/be able to use their DRM format, for interoperability purposes only.
    Does it require the iPod to play WMA/WMA DRM? Not at all.
    Does it require WMA stores to sell FairPlay AAC? Not at all.
    Does it require Apple to provide WMA DRM support in iTunes? Not at all.
    But it enables VLC developpers to ask Microsoft to provide information on WMV9 and WMV10 so they can make these formats play in their software.

    I don’t see what the big threat to the consumer experience is.
    You implied that the best experience was iPod iTunes iTMS, and I won’t argue (actually I don’t know which combination is best). So, people will be able to choose this combination, BUT they will also be able to chose something else. This something else might not be as good, but they’ll still be the “right” choice available. So were is the threat?
    Or are consumers not responsible enough to get to choose?

  19. Florent V:
    If you read my post, you would’ve noted that I asked questions as to what the law really requires because no one seems to be able to turn that into products or services.

    1. Is the law online somewhere? A link? Translated into English?
    2. Your first sentence says you can ask Apple for the code for Fairplay. And what will you do with it? If you are going to sell Fairplay songs, on whose player are those songs supposed to work? All Fairplay players, including the iPod? If you are going to sell a Fairplay player, should iTMS songs be playable on your player? Or just Fairplay songs from your store?
    3. Your responses only answered one of my questions – the iPod need not play WMA DRM. Your first two questions turned my questions around backwards. But based on your first sentence, I suppose the answer is yes – Apple is required to let others start selling Fairplay songs and Fairplay players. Am I correct in saying that?
    4. Today consumers can choose this combination or another combination, and they’re choosing iPod. But they could choose to use the WMA standard and have many hundreds of players and hundreds of stores to choose from. Or they can be foolish, in your eyes and the French legislators eyes, and choose the Apple way and be stuck with iPods and iTMS forever. Why do you need to protect those fools who choose iConvenience/iLock-in? Don’t you know they want it? Your law doesn’t really add any more choice.
    5. When Apple has to let others use Fairplay, can Apple put up big stickers on the iPod packaging that say “for most reliable service, use iTMS”? Like if I buy super-cheap ink refills for my printer from no-name brands instead of from HP/Epson/Canon, I know it’s my risk and that if they don’t work, I should not call HP/Epson/Canon? 🙂
  20. “I don’t see what the big threat to the consumer experience is.”

    Wow. People just don’t realize how incredibly difficult it is to have created the iPod/iTunes/iTMS experience. Sony, which understands the concept experience, tried to create a complete system like Apple, but failed miserably in implementation. For three years now, MS and its hundreds of partners have attacked with “iPod killers” and “iTMS killers,” and they’re still attacking, yet they fall further and further behind, as they mumble promises for next year. Excuse me, while I shout: IF THE CONSUMER EXPERIENCE IN THE WMA WORLD OF CHOICE WAS BETTER, THEY WOULDN’T GET TROUNCED BY THE APPLE WORLD OF IPOD ONLY!!!

    But these competitors are so deluded by and fixated on the idea that consumer choice is paramount. Because they think it doesn’t hurt the consumer experience. Wow! What empirical evidence do they have of this? Windows OS. Ugh! They refuse to see the drawbacks to the consumer experience caused by this supposed goodness of choice. Even as Windows, with all its ills, delays, and opportunity costs in lost innovation and lost productivity, stares them in the face everyday. And even as millions of consumers ignore “THE NO-LOCK-IN CHOICE OF WMA” and flock to the iPod, because the convenience, simplicity, and just works experience to be had today is worth far more than the potential of lock-in tomorrow. (And for those that aren’t confident that iPods will always be better: they just keep buying CDs and rip.)

    The consumer experience is of utmost importance. Protect it. (As an aside, consider the state of the US car industry – GM/Ford/Chrysler vs. Toyota/Honda. Just works=success? )

    Let me be clear: I would prefer no DRM. Systems would be much simpler. But that’s not possible until government’s and consumers spend their energy persuading music owners to no longer insist on DRM. Focus on the disease, not the symptom.

  21. It’s better to choose instead to:
    A. Get rid of DRM altogether, or
    B. Mandate a single standard for everyone who wants to play.

    There was no choice possible, this is an implementation of the european directive named EUCD which comes from a WIPO treaty. The treaty is ten year old and state:

    “Contracting Parties shall provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures…”

    The choice was already made: protect DRMs, very very bad intention.
    But our parlementarian manage to play a trick to the wipo. Ok we protect DRM but we also protect interoperability… Both concept oppose each other, DRM can’t be effective if they are interoperable.

    But this stuff on interoperability is just one article out of 30. The rest of the law is very bad.
    – The right to the private copy (fair use) is threatened.
    – Educational use of copyright material in classs is threatened.
    – Library are threatened (they can’t index protected content, they’re not allowed to make copies to lend them to their users…)
    – If you illegaly download a song under copyright you are subject to 38 euro fine. 10 millions French (1/6 of the population) use p2p software today to download “illegaly”. How are we going to enforce this law??
    – …

    Another important point is that the French gouvernement is very pro-DRM. The gouvernement is against interoperability (Well, they say they are for interoperability and open source software, but always advise to vote against amendement that could save interoperability and open source software…)
    I dare to say that our ministry of culture is corrupted (he was already found guilty of stealing public money for his political organisation years ago. And now he is a ministry, I know crazy stuff…) He preach for whatever the music industry tells him.
    Luckily a few parlementarian fought back, actually, it was a struggle. Read in english what one of them as to say about interoperability:


    Bad intentions, one good article, very bad law.

  22. Marcelo:

    “When was the last time you were able to get your money back for the preloaded Windows on the PC you juse purchased ?”

    You are aware, of course, that you can easily buy PCs without Windows? You do know that there’s more than one supplier of PCs – unlike in the Apple world, where even if you didn’t want to run Mac OS X on your MacBook, you’d have to pay for it?

    “You can ask for your online library to be stored to MP3 locally.”

    I’m not even sure what you’re talking about here: it certainly isn’t AAC-DRM’d files bought ffrom the iTunes store, which is what we’re talking about. If you’re going to call someone “insane”, I find it’s often best to know what you’re talking about first.


    “People just don’t realize how incredibly difficult it is to have created the iPod/iTunes/iTMS experience. Sony, which understands the concept experience, tried to create a complete system like Apple, but failed miserably in implementation.”

    And there is nothing to stop Apple licensing some or all of their technology to third parties. What would Apple stand to lose if it licensed FairPlay to (say) Real, so that songs sold on Real’s store could be compatible with the iPod? Apple wouldn’t be responsible for content sold by Real, if Real somehow messed it up, just as Microsoft isn’t responsible for all the crap that Windows vendors tend to put on new PCs (Sony, I’m looking at YOU).

    So what’s stopping Apple doing so? Simple: it would remove some of the competitive advantage that the company has for iTunes Music Store. It would mean that iPod owners who want to buy their music in digital form without buying a CD (a small but increasing segment of the music market) would be able to do so without giving Apple additional money. That is tying, and when you have a monopoly, it’s also illegal.

    There are no technical reasons why Apple doesn’t license FairPlay. It boils down to money, not technology. You might not have a problem with people using their market position to do this kind of thing, in which case, fair enough. But pretending that it’s down to technology is as silly as Microsoft’s argument that it couldn’t debundle Internet Explorer as it was “a part of the OS” was.

  23. Aurélien sums it up pretty well.

    @ mark:
    iPod/iTunes/iTMS is a lock-in, yet it’s convenient.
    WMA players/WMP/WMA stores is another lock-in (you seem to think that I said otherwise… but every single DRM system is a lock-in), and it’s not as convenient.
    So people are massively (in the US) choosing the first one. Not so massively so in France, but it’s pretty successful as well.

    So now we make a low that says “ok, those convenient all-in-one systems can stay as they are, but we’ll try to provide a way for consumers not to be locked in, just in case they want to choose something else, or want to buy songs on iTMS or a WMA store and play it on other software (and possibly devices)”.
    What’s the big problem about that?
    Apple is not required to play WMA.
    Microsoft is not required to play FairPlay AAC.

    Answer to one of your questions:
    The law does not require Apple or Microsoft to licence their DRM system for free, or even to licence it at all.
    Interoperability as defined in the law does not mean that anyone should be able to produce/sell Fairplay or WMA DRM. It only means that software developpers and device makers should be able to PLAY those formats

    The text of amendment 143 to the DADVSI bill (article 7) can be read here, but it’s french only:

    Who said there was a WMA world of choice in the first place? Just WMA (even with 10 or 100 stores) is no choice. What amounts to a real choice is Fairplay WMA standard mp3 open formats such as Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, etc., as long as these formats can interoperate up to a reasonable (minimal?) level.

  24. There is choice in the WMA world. Microsoft said so 🙂

    Seriously, there is player and music store choice in the WMA world because Microsoft is willing to license its DRM to anyone (I assume, for a small fee). If you don’t like your Creative player, you can buy one from Samsung or iRiver or Dell, etc. If you don’t like Napster, you can use URGE, or Virgin, or Walmart, etc. Why is this not a real choice?

    You seem to insist that choice must include the ability to change digital music formats – from WMA to Ogg Vorbis or FLAC or MP3. I’ll think about it some more but right now, I don’t think that’s reasonable to insist on.

    Gotta go. I’ll respond to the other points later.

  25. @ mark:
    Well, as a free software user I tend to use the word “choice” in order to mean “people can choose whatever they want and is technically feasible because there is no artificial barrier”.
    It’s an idealistic definition of “choice”, and you find traces of this idealism in this amendment to the french law.

    But here we’re just talking about music formats and music players. The lawmakers in France were not just thinking about this online music market.
    They were thinking about the future generation of office software that will include DRM. They were thinking about the possible generalization of DRM to whatever field it will be technically possible to extend it to (and I don’t think it’s a pessimistic vision).

    So they thought, before we write in the law that it is forbidden to go through a DRM (3 years in jail, 300K euros), we should make sure that it won’t backfire. So they took two measures:
    – government and public institutions can do it for security reasons
    – software developpers can do it for interoperability reasons.

    And it remains forbidden to crack DRMs for any other reason (including making copies if I’m not mistaken… even if the law isn’t 100% clear on that one, I think the judges will rule so), forbidden to publish software with such intentions, etc.
    So DVD Shrink will be illegal when this law is enabled.
    But VLC will remain legal because it only allows people to read the content.

    PS: I’m not defending microsoft over apple or anything like that. I think microsoft is pretty worried as well. Maybe not about WMA DRM, but about WMV10, Office file formats, etc.

  26. It’s been a good discussion but I still think this whole interoperability thing is useless and in the end, just leads back to piracy. As a software and systems engineer, and a consumer who wants things that just work, I’ve argued for this connection in terms of user experience and engineering difficulty and legal liability in previous posts and won’t repeat myself.

    Many of you still think that iPod owners buying from another Fairplay store won’t complain to Apple about song problems, or ditch legal downloads altogether for mp3s. I don’t agree and neither does Apple. (And I think this is completely different from the issue with Office file formats because there is no third party involved who owns the stuff like music labels or movie studios.)

    As I said before, spend your energy making laws that forbid DRM, or create and mandate a single DRM standard for everyone, but don’t do this interoperability junk. Oops, repeating myself.

    But I’m tired. Everyone knows but ignores the fact that Apple makes pennies off of each song sold, and it’s the labels who reap the profit. So my last point is this for those who cynically think Apple’s statement was meant to just protect the iTMS (rather than as a warning to the labels):

    1. If Apple shut down selling music on iTMS tomorrow worldwide, which music player do you think would sell the most for at least the next five years? Or if there were a single DRM standard for every music download store and player in the world, which music player do you think would sell the most?
    2. Where will all those iPod owners get music to put on their iPods (besides eMusic and ripping CDs)?
    3. Will there be more piracy or less?

    A part of me hopes Apple shuts down iTMS before ever agreeing to interoperability just to prove that they are right.

  27. I couldn’t disagree more on the “Average Joe” bit. I was just talking to a friend of mine the other day who could easily be described as that elusive “Average Joe”. He was telling me how he would never buy songs from iTMS even though he loves his iPod Shuffle. He doesn’t want to run into problems with the DRM in case his computer dies on him. So he just buys the CD and rips it or sometimes downloads the music instead from some P2P network. It’s important to realize that this is not a guy who reads BoingBoing or Slashdot. This is a regular guy who’s just about as tech-savvy as the typical modern teenager. (Which is to say, he’s basically the stereotypical buyer of an iPod.)

    I’m quite confident that the only reason that most people put up with Apple’s DRM is because they don’t know of the consequences when things go wrong. And it’s not hard to discover those consequences. If someone, or someone they know gets bitten by DRM problems, DRM’s iConvenience suddenly stops being a feature.

  28. “Similarly, I find the French desire to get rid of DRM absolutely ridiculous”

    If there was such desire it would be ridiculous but you are very bad informed, the French do not desire to get rid of DRM, they just want IBNTEROPERRABLE DRM’s so One company cannot lock an entire market, controlling content distribution and content play devices like Apple is doinf right now.

    Apple know this has nothing to do with piracy, it’s just anti monopolistic law, you know, good for consumers, good for indistry…

    If you bash the French, knwo what you talk about next time.

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