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Guardian: Apple will lose audio war, hurt consumers

updated 10:20 am EDT, Fri October 22, 2004

Apple in \'audio war\'

Yet another columnist says that Apple's (i.e., open up the iPod/iTunes system) is detrimental for both the company and users and that Apple has a very large number of competitors in the burgeoning market: "Apple is making corporate enemies by refusing to license FairPlay, its bought-in digital rights management system. FairPlay is intended to stop rival music services from offering protected downloads that can be moved straight to an iPod, and makes it impossible for hardware manufacturers to make digital players that work with iTMS....But in the long run, it could be bad news for consumers, even if most of them have not yet realised it."

by MacNN Staff





  1. tuscmat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Arrogant loser.

    You'll notice how the author frames the argument in how not licensing Fairplay is bad for COMPANIES, not consumers. The consumer here is like a Borg drone and "Choice is irrelevant". Jackass.

  1. rkadowns

    Joined: Dec 1969


    These columnists

    would do well in a communist country.

    Let Apple seal it's own fate. They shouldn't have to 'fairplay' if they don''t want to just like I shouldn't have to pay social security if I don't want to.

    To say that Apple hasn't been licensing fairplay is to spread a lie anyway.

  1. MacnTX

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not Again...

    Looks like someone else forgot to do their research. This article blows the Fairplay licensing myths right out of the water...

  1. Salieri

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Jack Schofield

    Jack Schofield is one of the biggest apologists for Microsoft and one of the biggest Apple-haters in the UK. This is about the third or fourth time this year he's written about why Apple is repeating past-mistakes, why WMA is more open, etc and his argument hasn't changed in the slightest. He also regularly writes about why open source and Linux are bad and Microsoft's way is best. I actually think he believes it, too.

    Surely the lesson everyone should have learnt from Microsoft in the 80s isn't that "open" systems that allow a lowest common denominator are the best way forward. It's that if you have 90% of the market, everyone will come to you and ignore the incompatible smaller fry, even if they use "open" systems. Licensing FairPlay would be the number one way for Apple to lose its market dominance.

  1. Mediaman_12

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple & Jack 'again'

    Jack Schofield almost always uses his weekly colum to bash Apple in one way or another.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i love this...

    "Expect a backlash when they find Apple has locked them into a proprietary system."

    So burning the music files to CD is considered a proprietary system? WOW!! News to me!

  1. MPMoriarty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Workaround to iPod

    If the online music stores really wanted to be able to work with Apple's iPod, couldn't they just use a special export feature to move their protected music to the iPod in an unprotected format that it does accept such as MP3, AIFF, WAV, AAC.

  1. shadowself

    Joined: Dec 1969


    All ready licensed

    They should REALLY do their homework.

    Apple has licensed the underlying software to both HP and Motorola. There have been public announcements to this effect. HP is already shipping HP branded iPods.

    Who knows who Apple will license to next?

    If Apple's market share for the iTMS (currently estimated at 70+%) or the iPod (with an even larger market share than iTMS) starts to drop drastically then you can expect Apple to license more broadly. Until then very selective licensing should be expected.

  1. Person Man

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Workaround

    Two problems with that approach.

    WMA files are also "lossy" (i.e. you lose some of the audio information in the compression). Converting from WMA to anything other than AIFF or Apple Lossless will result in a worse sounding file than converting straight from the original to the target format.

    The record labels would probably not allow easy conversion to a non-DRM format. (As it stands now, to convert an iTMS purchase you have to first burn it, and then re-rip to get a non-DRM file, and even then you run into issue one, above). In fact, the record labels would probably LOVE to get rid of CD burning entirely (at least until they come up with a way to protect the songs on the disk that people burn, which is something protection companies are working on).

  1. Digsa

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Jack Schofield and Apple


    Just to back up earlier comments - this guy is totally in Microsoft's pocket. He recently covered a visit by Steve Ballmer to London, and managed to write an article that was little more than a MIcrosoft press release. NOTE - he was one of the few British journalists allowed access to Ballmer by Microsoft's London PR company. Get the idea?

    He is editor of a Tech section in the newspaper every Thursday in the UK, where he usually takes the opportunity to bash Apple stuff for no good reason. File his name away with Paul Thurrott. At least in print he's a bit restrained...wait till you see the newspaper blog site! He really goes into crazy-mode against Mac users there - check this out -

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