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Europe questions iPod/iTunes regulation

updated 11:20 am EDT, Wed March 28, 2007

Europe on iPod regulation

A top European Commission official has questioned the need for regulation of iPods in Europe, following requests by some to force the Cupertino-based company into making its iTunes Store compatible with competing portable players. "Before we jump in to regulate competition on the market it is worth asking whether competition is actually harmed," said Philip Lowe, the Commission's director general for competition. "Is there not vigorous competition between different bundles of mp3 players and music libraries?" Meglena Kuneva -- Europe's Consumer Affairs Commissioner -- earlier this month requested changes to Apple's iTunes service to make it more compatible with non-Apple formats, but clarified that she was not suggesting legal action, according to Reuters. Norway in January declared that Apple must open up its music downloads by October 1st to avoid legal action, following an exchange of words between the iPod-maker and the Scandinavian country.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Apple should just shutdow

    Appe should just shutdown iTunes there. Let the people decide if they want it back or not instead of the governments medeling. The iTunes store has a legal right to run the way it is because it prevents no one from buying what they want on either PC's or Mac's which no other online store can match period. Customizing one store or a few would not be practical and very costly. Not to mention illegal for Apple since they don't have control over the DRM, only the music labels do. Again I say they should be going after the music labels not Apple. There are plenty of ways to get music from the iTunes store to work with other players. And the iTunes store doesn't force anyone to buy from there nor does it prevent PC owners from playing the content on there PC's unlike Microsoft Only stores which you can't even access with a Mac because IE6 is not available.

  1. Geordiekeith

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Norway

    Norway is geographically in Europe, but not politically as it is not part of the European Union, which the European Commission "oversees". So the Norwegians who want an iPod will just visit Finland or Sweden to buy their iPods, then rip their CDs or download for "non-iTunes" sources.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    It would take

    all of europe for Apple to even consider "opening up" the supposedly closed loop. I'm not going to rant about how there is no way it's closed because all know that by now. As often as we see piracy out of that reason, there is no incentive to trust that kind of info to the masses.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Huh?

    If I buy music from the iTunes store, I can play it back on a Mac and a PC, and my iPod, which works with both Macs and PCs.

    Now, let's look at the majority of MP3 players out there, and music stores - stuff bought on WMA/PlaysFerSure only works on certain PCs, and definitely not on Macs. The vast majority of MP3 players only ship with Widows software.

    So, if this is about choice, I think we know which side offers more choice. If this is about interoperability of downloaded music, iTunes music plays on both platforms, WMA music does not.

    Can someone explain to me again why Apple are the bad guys in this equation? (Oh, right, because they are the more successful ones)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: huh?

    If I buy music from the iTunes store, I can play it back on a Mac and a PC, and my iPod, which works with both Macs and PCs.

    Now, let's look at the majority of MP3 players out there, and music stores - stuff bought on WMA/PlaysFerSure only works on certain PCs, and definitely not on Macs. The vast majority of MP3 players only ship with Widows software.


    iPods and iTunes only work on a subset of Windows PCs, those that run Windows 2000, XP, or Vista. This is the same set of PCs that PlaysForSure run on. WMA runs on a lot more.

    So, if this is about choice, I think we know which side offers more choice.

    Right. The Playsforsure way! It runs on PCs and a bunch of MP3 players. iTunes runs on Macs, PCs, and a single player. Oh, wait, you were going for the "Hey, it works on macs, so its got more choice!" point. Hmm, I think you need to improve your argument somewhat.

    If this is about interoperability of downloaded music, iTunes music plays on both platforms, WMA music does not.

    This isn't about playing on a Mac (considering its marketshare, esp in europe, its really doubtful its about that). Its about interoperability on the MP3 player side.

    Can someone explain to me again why Apple are the bad guys in this equation? (Oh, right, because they are the more successful ones)

    Yep, the more successful with the closed system (WMA is 'closed' in the sense its proprietary, but anyone can license it, so it certainly is more open then Fairplay).

  1. ApeInTheShell

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Agrre with zinkdifferent

    The reason the iTunes and iPod system works so well is because it was originally developed for the Mac. It follows the same system Apple has been using for years. If you make your own hardware you must make your own software. Everyone wants either the iPod to be compatible with other music stores or iTunes DRM to be compatible with other MP3 Players. Surprise! Both of the other music stores and music players only work on Microsoft Windows. Let us say Apple opens up their system because oh so scary Europe says so. What have Mac users gained? The competition is hard pressed to release Mac software to work with their stores and players. The iPod is cool but why spend $250 when you can get an equivalent MP3 player for $150 that can download iTunes music, sync with iTunes, and so forth. Only iPod Windows users will benefit from the wide selection and open format leaving iPod Mac users out in the cold. Back to the present: iTunes only runs on a Macintosh or Windows computer. The iPod syncs with iTunes but it has its own operating system. The Apple TV streams your music wirelessly from your computer to the device. I hope that helps clarify things for you Testudo.

  1. OSXDamon

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Scratches head?!?!

    This article is not anti iTunes; therefore your responses should be addressing the articles issue as to the higher ranked commission official stating, they "don't think competition may have been harmed." & "questioned the need for regulation of iTunes." - i.e., the "top European Commission official" is in argument against the previous statements made by Europe's Consumer Affairs Commissioner.

  1. dozx

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    pointless

    All your arguing here is pointless. It is simple If you don't like one product, buy another. No one is forcing anyone to buy an iPod or buy music from iTunes. If you want to buy into that dead end thing called "plays for sure" be my guest (even Microsoft doesn't use it). And if you do buy music from iTunes and want to use it else where re-rip it DRM free. This is nothing but EU playing a political game. Mad because they have been, quite frankly, shut out of the digital music game. They would force this upon Microsoft as well if they were doing well in the digital music area. We shouldn't be fighting about my platform or your platform is better, you should realize this isn't about Apple or Microsoft, it is about EU making noise to get something started so both are weaker to allow there companies a chance to compete.

  1. itguy05

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Wrong as usual Testudio

    "Yep, the more successful with the closed system (WMA is 'closed' in the sense its proprietary, but anyone can license it, so it certainly is more open then Fairplay)."

    WMA is closed. Why do you think there is no WMA/WMV-DRM support in OS X? MS won't license those components.

    MS also won't license WMx for use in an OS or OS component, only the player part and only for non-DRM files.

    So, in that sense, WMx is closed and proprietary. Even more so than MPEG4, which anyone can license for any purpose from the standards body.

  1. brainiac_7

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Ban Zune, too

    "The Playsforsure way! It runs on PCs and a bunch of MP3 players. iTunes runs on Macs, PCs, and a single player. Oh, wait, you were going for the "Hey, it works on macs, so its got more choice!" point. Hmm, I think you need to improve your argument somewhat."

    PlaysForSure doesn't, um, actually play on the Zune, for sure. Ban it, too, Europe, while you're at it.

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