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ZDNet: Apple\'s struggle with real bad for consumers?

updated 11:15 am EDT, Fri August 6, 2004

ZDNet on Apple/Real

Charles Cooper of ZDNet has written an article on the history of digital music online, paralleling the struggles during the days of Napster and illegal music downloads, and the modern world of online music sales. Cooper says: "Apple deserves the kudos it's gotten--but will squander a lot of that good will if it goes ahead with an ... Apple would like nothing better than to exert Microsoft-like domination of the music business ... Too bad. In the struggle over Napster, the music companies turned out to be their own worst enemies. So intent on kneecapping Napster, they ignored the best interests of their customers--which would have been to find a way to coexist with the new Internet technology. Is Apple going to go down a similar path?"

by MacNN Staff




  1. kafoochy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Here here!

    I haven't yet read the article, but these are exactly my sentiments. Finally an article that looks at the best interests of both Apple and it's customers!

  1. TylerDurden

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What's real bad?

    Headline is real bad written?...


  1. gunnar

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Litigate, then licence

    Apple has nothing to lose by going after Real in the short term. A quick court case with a cease and desist order would be great. Whether they win or lose they can still licence FairPlay with others if they choose to.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Unless Real can offer music the iTMS doesn't, there's no need to license FairPlay to other.

    Real is just mad that they can't freeload off the iPod.

  1. Eriamjh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pardon me...

    ...but Apple hasn't done Sh*t to stop Real yet. It's all talk.

  1. klinux

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The article's headline

    The article's headline is real and is about Real and is really bad.

    Sadly, some reader's grammar is not so good either. Its!=it's.

  1. Swift

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So ZDNet, which has done everything they can to put the kibosh on anything Apple does, is now dispensing "friendly advice."

    It's all timing. Let's look at the market in six months or a year. Real still wants people to pay a subscription fee, right? And then a purchase price above that? What other sub services are there out there? Which ones will agree to distribute FairPlay AAC's, not WMA's (unless MS allows others to copy their DRM? Ha!) and otherwise share Apple's investment burden?

    Jobs' insistence that the Mac be a closed box was too dogmatic, and a product of another era. But it's another thing to demand that Apple change a cash cow to a net loser in the interest of "peace and love."

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What about WMA?

    So if I read the news articles correctly, Harmony doesn't just enable Real's music files to be played on the iPod. It also allows them to be played on devices that play Microsoft's DRM version of WMA. Why hasn't Microsoft been as upset about this as Apple is? I'm assuming that Real isn't paying any licensing fees to Microsoft, either. And you'd think MS would have more to lose. Their entire profit model is based on music sales, which Real would be biting into. Whereas Apple's profit model is on selling iPods, which Real would actually be HELPING.

  1. Person Man

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why Apple has to do this

    First, Apple has to go against Real because they shouldn't be expected to ensure compatibility with Harmony in future releases of the iPod firmware. Imagine if all the other music stores did this. Apple would have to support each variation in addition to their own. It is ridiculous to expect Apple to do that.

    Second, Real has stated their intentions of licensing Harmony to other music stores. If they do this, they effectively cut Apple out of the picture... "why should I license FairPlay from Apple, when I can license Harmony from Real and still be compatible with the iPod?" (This assumes that licensing Harmony would be cheaper than licensing FairPlay).

    Apple has to do something to protect themselves. I'm sure they will license FairPlay when the time is right.

  1. MacScientist

    Joined: Dec 1969


    In reply to Person Man

    Actually Apple is licensing FairPlay. HP and Motorola are two licensees. Apple contends that it is Apple's perogative whom it accepts as a licensee. Real and its supporters effectively claim that Apple has no discretion in the matter. The loss of Apple's ability to reject license applications would drive its license fees to zero which would, in turn, drive Harmony license fees to zero. The natural consequence if Real succeeds would be that everbody including Real would lose.

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