updated 11:00 pm EDT, Mon August 18, 2008
Tim Bucher sides with Dell
Three years after settling a wrongful termination suit against his former employer, Tim Bucher has decided to help Dell take on the iTunes empire. The former Apple Exec tells BusinessWeek that one day in 2004, Steve Jobs came to him saying "people think you are sometimes manic-depressive," and proceeded to fire him. Bucher says the charges of mental illness are "completely false," and he went on to sue Apple. Today, Bucher has moved on -- he heads a 120-member team to put Dell back in the music business.
BusinessWeek says Dell's effort will not be another head-on attack with a competing branded audio player and music store. Instead, Dell is working to create partnerships among Apple's long list of rivals including record labels and cell-phone companies. Bucher is working on a standard to compete with Apple's FairPlay DRM that will give users more choices in how they buy and use content. The alliance is also likely to give record companies and other content owners the pricing flexibility they have been demanding from Steve Jobs. The Dell project -- expected to be unveiled next month -- would involve supplying the software for free with Dell hoping to make money from increased hardware sales.
Bucher came to Dell about a year ago when it purchased the company he founded and its most valuable asset -- "Zing." The application provides the underpinnings so content can easily be shared or "zinged" between computers, music players and other devices. The software is the centerpiece of Dell's renewed emphasis on music and other content, BusinessWeek reported.
As for his motivation, Butcher says it's strictly business. He says he holds no grudge against Steve Jobs. "I guarantee its not about Revenge," he told the magazine.