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BW: Apple should license AAC/FairPlay DRM

updated 12:00 pm EST, Wed March 24, 2004

AAC/FairPlay DRM licensing

In order to secure the largest share of the digital music business to rival stores, opines Alex Salkever of BusinessWeek Online. While Apple's current iTunes/iPod set up is enabling it to lead both the music store and MP3 player industries, continued competition from rival services that employ Microsoft's WMA format coupled with improved MP3 players from competitors could leave Apple in a similar position it found itself in the PC market during the late 80's and early 90's.

by MacNN Staff




  1. mkbhatia


    Joined: Dec 1969


    testing this


  1. tuscmat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Isn't it typical how Apple has to be the one to change what they do and no one else? Why innovate when you can have the status quo?

  1. ennerseed

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple did a great job of keeping all their connections hardware and software proprietary in the 80's / 90's. And Apple had the leading edge during that time also. It got them SHUT OUT.

    Oh well...

  1. fumacchu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    80s/90s Apple Execs

    I think it's funny that all these pundits say that the Apple of today will blow it like the Apple of yester-year with their "closed" policies. What exec from those days are still at Apple today? Is the corporate culture at Apple anywhere close to what is was when Apple blew it with the Mac? You live and learn from history.

  1. bfalchuk

    Joined: Dec 1969



    When will anyone realize that Apple is LICENSING FairPlay. They don't own it. They're a goddamn licensee! It's not their call. They also don't own AAC, but are licensing it, too. They've created their own version of it, but it's still an open standard.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: idiots

    True, but I believe Apple has an exclusive contract with Fairplay.

    I believe Apple should allow others to license FairPlay on the condition that any product released using it is supported on MacOS X.

  1. Stephen.S.

    Joined: Dec 1969


    80's/90's Apple Execs

    What exec from those days are still at Apple today?

    Steven Jobs

  1. Brianimator

    Joined: Dec 1969


    My email with the author

    I wrote:

    "If Apple really wants to boost AAC, it would allow other device and software makers to license Apple's own FairPlay digital-rights-management (DRM) system."

    Wanna License AAC/FairPlay?

    Talk to the people who own the technology (i.e. not Apple)



    You guys need to do your homework - this issue continues to really upset me. Apple is embracing standards all over the place, the iTMS is no different.

    Alex Salkever wrote:

    Actually, Apple owns FairPlay. Check the trademark listing. Anyone can license AAC. But without FairPlay they can't play iTMS songs, which is the whole point.

    If you have any other factual corrections please let me know.

    I wrote:

    It's interesting - Apple owns "Fair Play"(, not "FairPlay" - (this may seem like a silly case of semantics, but they seem to be careful in formatting their other patented names correctly) They use the latter spelling in describing their DRM technology ( How can two companies - VeriDisc and Apple lay claim to DRM named "FairPlay" and "Fair Play" respectively (actually, Apple refers to Fair Play as "software technology" in their patent listing)? Why have we not heard any rumblings of a law suit on this from either side? My belief is that Apple has gained early access to the yet unfinished technology, and that when it is finished, we will see it made broadly available. Otherwise, yes, you're right, it does need to be made available to all.

    Alex Salkever wrote:

    Bottom line, no one else can play iTMS songs. That may sell iPods for now. It could also isolate Apple down the road. As for folks who say that the whole industry has built a WMA transcoder and can flip the switch, I have heard that's simply not true and its a very mess technology problem that no one has really solved with any degree of success to the level that the average consumer would be happy.

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree

    But, we don't know that they won't do this either. They'll make their money by providing the best buyer experience and by selling the best MP3 player. They would win this war by doing what they do best, innovate. There very well could be a plan at Apple to maximize profits by keeping it to themselves and then releasing it, say at the same time the Sony and M$ open their service.

  1. nagromme

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple advantages

    You can't compare Macs in the 80s to music now.

    Apple had the best OS then and the best music products now. That's where the similarity stops. Advantages Apple has with music that it did not have with the Mac include:

    * By far the biggest share of the market

    * By far the biggest mindshare

    One day it may make sense for Apple to lend a hand to the also-runs. Maybe even to Microsoft (WMA). That day is not today.


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