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MacBytes
Jan 14, 2008, 12:10 PM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: Apple May Need to Play Better with Others (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20080114131015)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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PlaceofDis
Jan 14, 2008, 12:15 PM
sure, blame apple. not Universal.

i thought it took two to fight. (in other words: they're both to blame).

Peace
Jan 14, 2008, 12:18 PM
Apple really does need to give in a bit. Consider the $.99 song. It's been that price for a while now. Jobs hasn't budged on the price.He needs to.

nagromme
Jan 14, 2008, 12:43 PM
He needs to let the labels raise the .99 because those songs are costing more to make now? Or because .99 is the standard elsewhere too?

Music labels dislike Apple because Apple is successful and all this change scares them. They want partners they can bully. Even if Apple gives in on one or two details, like letting them charge more for singles, they'll still be scared of Apple's success and still won't want to play nice.

As for those companies who think Microsoft/WMA/PlaysForSureExceptOnZune would be a more compliant partner.... time may teach them differently.

PlaceofDis
Jan 14, 2008, 12:45 PM
Apple really does need to give in a bit. Consider the $.99 song. It's been that price for a while now. Jobs hasn't budged on the price.He needs to.

only if that price is lower. why should it be more?

the iTunes store takes one rip for distribution, and doesn't have the overhead costs associated with CD packaging.


and again, why do they need to give in? to an archaic system that doesn't work anymore?

Peace
Jan 14, 2008, 12:46 PM
Mainly because other online services like Amazon are eventually going to eat away market share.
Contrary to others opinions the iTunes store does generate iPod traffic.If the iTunes store starts to lose a lot of that share the iPod share will go down with it.

PlaceofDis
Jan 14, 2008, 12:50 PM
Mainly because other online services like Amazon are eventually going to eat away market share.
Contrary to others opinions the iTunes store does generate iPod traffic.If the iTunes store starts to lose a lot of that share the iPod share will go down with it.

amazon is priced the same way, is it not? and its MP3's are unlocked, which means they work with iTunes and the iPod. they'll take away the iTS revenue, but not the iPod sales so long as iPods are the best player out there.

if anything, iTunes needs to start getting rid of the DRM on its tracks. again, the label's fault and not Apple's. there is no need to raise the prices on tracks like the label's want.

cmcbridejr
Jan 14, 2008, 12:56 PM
Apple and Universal are actually competitors, so I do not see why either should give in.

For one thing, Apple is a large shareholder in Disney products, while Universal competes aggressively against Disney films and theme parks.

Universal also has a large partnership with Microsoft (MSNBC). Don't you think it is funny that Universal pulled their content from iTunes and their direct download service only works with PCs running Microsoft's OS?

To top it off, Universal is a subsidiary of a French company (Vivendi).

Peace
Jan 14, 2008, 12:58 PM
Apple and Universal are actually competitors, so I do not see why either should give in.

For one thing, Apple is a large shareholder in Disney products, while Universal competes aggressively against Disney films and theme parks.

Universal also has a large partnership with Microsoft (MSNBC). Don't you think it is funny that Universal pulled their content from iTunes and their direct download service only works with PCs running Microsoft's OS?

To top it off, Universal is a subsidiary of a French company (Vivendi).

Microsoft no longer has any interest in MSNBC.

t0mat0
Jan 14, 2008, 01:15 PM
Where's the section saying that others need to play better, apart from Apple? I'd be happy to see the general video industry play a little more cleanly.

HobeSoundDarryl
Jan 14, 2008, 01:35 PM
Some of you guys kill me (even if this is an Apple-centric site). If Apple would let the OWNERS of the content price it is as they see fit, you wouldn't have those owners doing things like they are doing with Amazon, trying to cut into the iTunes domination.

But, because Apple insists on setting prices for OTHER company's products, those companies naturally should feel like Apple is not a good ally. Imagine if Apple decided they wanted to dictate the price of whatever the company you work for sells.

Yes, if Apple allowed the OWNERS to set prices as they wished, some prices may go up. But so what, as owners, they should be able to ask more for whatever they are selling. If the much-anticipated greed goes too far, then few will pay those higher prices and pricing will come back down.

On the other hand, if the public shows it is willing to pay higher prices, then the companies will be doing what every other capitalistic company in the world does- work toward finding the optimal price that maximizes profits, which is the right of any company in a capitalistic society.

We, the consumers of such things, should be the ones controlling pricing (not Apple) by choosing to accept or reject product prices with our wallets. In that scenario, nobody has to feel like their toes are getting stepped on and the greediest of greedy companies who happen to produce desirable content could then sell it on iTunes again.

If Apple would "play ball" this way, I suspect we would have long ago had tons of movie & video product on iTunes, probably lots of HD content, etc.

The alternative is to keep acting like Apple has some right to absolutely set the prices of products that belong to their partners until those partners find a way to undermine Apple's lock on the media space now. We're seeing the first serious efforts to do that with Amazon now. If Apple doesn't let their partners price their products as those partners wish, only more Amazon-type solutions will follow.

Slam this all you want, but if Apple decided to price your company's products, I wonder how quickly you might find yourself fighting on the same side with some of those "greedy" companies.

I'm as big a fan of Apple's as anyone, but IMO, they are just WRONG on this stance, and should "play ball" ASAP.

dukeblue91
Jan 14, 2008, 02:18 PM
Some of you guys kill me (even if this is an Apple-centric site). If Apple would let the OWNERS of the content price it is as they see fit, you wouldn't have those owners doing things like they are doing with Amazon, trying to cut into the iTunes domination.

But, because Apple insists on setting prices for OTHER company's products, those companies naturally should feel like Apple is not a good ally. Imagine if Apple decided they wanted to dictate the price of whatever the company you work for sells.

Yes, if Apple allowed the OWNERS to set prices as they wished, some prices may go up. But so what, as owners, they should be able to ask more for whatever they are selling. If the much-anticipated greed goes too far, then few will pay those higher prices and pricing will come back down.

On the other hand, if the public shows it is willing to pay higher prices, then the companies will be doing what every other capitalistic company in the world does- work toward finding the optimal price that maximizes profits, which is the right of any company in a capitalistic society.

We, the consumers of such things, should be the ones controlling pricing (not Apple) by choosing to accept or reject product prices with our wallets. In that scenario, nobody has to feel like their toes are getting stepped on and the greediest of greedy companies who happen to produce desirable content could then sell it on iTunes again.

If Apple would "play ball" this way, I suspect we would have long ago had tons of movie & video product on iTunes, probably lots of HD content, etc.

The alternative is to keep acting like Apple has some right to absolutely set the prices of products that belong to their partners until those partners find a way to undermine Apple's lock on the media space now. We're seeing the first serious efforts to do that with Amazon now. If Apple doesn't let their partners price their products as those partners wish, only more Amazon-type solutions will follow.

Slam this all you want, but if Apple decided to price your company's products, I wonder how quickly you might find yourself fighting on the same side with some of those "greedy" companies.

I'm as big a fan of Apple's as anyone, but IMO, they are just WRONG on this stance, and should "play ball" ASAP.

This is not quite how it works, like everything else in sales there is a wholesale and a retail price, so whatever Apple sells over that wholesale is theirs to keep.
When iTunes was originally started it was sold to the labels as for Mac only and with no plans for windows, the labels wanted to use iTunes to show the world that online download purchases was not yet ready to make a profit for them.
However it turned out to be that iTunes was a hit and the Labels wished they charged more than they actually did and proposed the charge on a tier level which means nothing more than a price increase to Apple and ultimately to the consumer.

I remember reading that iTunes made a huge effect on some of the Labels bottom line and that scared the crap out of them.
Which also meant that they are loosing control over pricing and general leverage the enjoyed before.

So you can see that it's not Apple but some of the major studios / labels that are not playing ball.
None of the labels has pulled all their content of off iTunes as of yet due to the fact that they can't afford to do so without loosing a boatload of cash.

Alrescha
Jan 14, 2008, 02:28 PM
Slam this all you want, but if Apple decided to price your company's products, I wonder how quickly you might find yourself fighting on the same side with some of those "greedy" companies.

To offer a contrary point of view; if I owned a store you can be sure that no-one would be setting prices except for me. This is how it works almost everywhere else (and I don't think consumers are usually fond of the exceptions).

A.
(first post - hi)

HobeSoundDarryl
Jan 14, 2008, 04:53 PM
Appreciate the comebacks, but it doesn't change my thinking. If you own a store, yes, set your own prices. But what if you owned/distributed a product through a store that dictated the pricing. Your "store" would be a product that you might want to sell for more (or less) than that store's set pricing.

If you didn't like that pricing, you can do what Universal did, take your sales opportunities elsewhere. If other like you also didn't like it (but the store was a very important store), you might join in with what the others are doing- trying to take steps to undermine (Apple) that one store to regain the opportunity to set pricing for their products as they see fit.

As to, "that's not how it works," that is how it works. Apple is getting away with holding at prices because they are the biggest game (for digital downloads) in town right now. But the others are doing things with a smaller game (Amazon) right now that they're not doing with Apple. Why? Because they don't want their pricing forced at a single level or a few price points.

In stubbornly sticking with flat pricing, Apple risks stores doing more Amazon-type deals, and/or doing a "Universal" and pulling the content, only to sell it somewhere else.

This is the "wrong" to which I refer. Apple could have it all if they let customers police pricing rather than dictating pricing to their suppliers. Bottom line: it is NOT Apple's content to price. Thinking they can dictate pricing is a game that they may indeed lose over time.

Again, huge Apple fan here; but this has been wrong (IMO) the whole time.

nagromme
Jan 14, 2008, 05:54 PM
A central reason for the iTunes store to exist--and a central reason why it has been a great and successful venture--is simplicity. Look at the competition to see how to miss that mark!

And central to that is the simplicity of the pricing model: songs are .99. That's fundamental to the concept of the store. Record labels are free not to participate in that concept, but Apple's not "wrong" to attempt it. (Not to mention make a ton of money for the content owners in the process.)

Do you feel that the concept of a store where all songs cost the same should not exist? Or do you simply feel that content owners should not be forced to participate? (Which they are not.)

The iTunes store is not JUST the content owners' project. It's a joint project with a huge contribution from Apple (to say the least). Why should they be able to dictate Apple's download prices? They certainly should (and did) have a say, but Apple should have a say too. It's not Apple's content, but it IS their store (and, in fact, a new mainstream industry of their own creation). So both parties have a reason to expect a role in pricing. And no one music label is vital, since there are so many sources of music for iTunes. As a result, one label has less power than the operator of the store. Just like one food supplier among many doesn't have the same power as the store that sells everything from everyone. That's business.

As for Apple's alleged complete stubbornness, that's simply not accurate. Apple has given in to the music labels on many points:

* The original concession to allow DRM.

* Pricing albums differently.

* Allowing some songs to be album-only.

* Removing the iTunes WAN sharing feature.

* Applying different pricing to different European countries.

* Charging $1.29 (for a time) for iTunes Plus.

And again, I'm convinced that what the labels object to, first and foremost, is not the details but rather the very success Apple has seen, and the resulting mindshare and power in a "scary" time of change. As long as Apple is successful (and iTunes shows no signs of that changing) then the content owners WILL want to go elsewhere, flat pricing or no. (Nor is Apple the only one charging a standard .99.)

Remember if the labels had the kind of complete control, with no input from Apple, that you wish mean ol' Apple would let them have, there would be no legal downloads in the first place. Their fear of change isn't even in their own best interest!

Apple didn't force them to offer legal downloads. They didn't force them to accept .99. And they don't force them to keep participating in the iTunes store. But they DID offer a good system that appeals to consumers and makes money for the content owners. I don't see the content owners having the "right" to change that system. They can go elsewhere of course. And when they do--like Amazon--they seem to suddenly find .99 acceptable... hmmmm..... :)

Neerazan
Jan 14, 2008, 06:48 PM
Apple and Universal are actually competitors, so I do not see why either should give in.

For one thing, Apple is a large shareholder in Disney products, while Universal competes aggressively against Disney films and theme parks...

Sorry to be a pedant, but Apple have no stake in Disney (or vice versa) at all.

Steve is the single largest shareholder in Disney, but that's not the same thing, not by a long way.

Apple do not produce 'content', they provide a conduit for other people's content (iTMS), and ways to play that content (AppleTV, iPods, iPhone, Macs, etc...). I can't see how by that measure Universal and Apple are competitors?

HobeSoundDarryl
Jan 14, 2008, 06:57 PM
They find 99 cents acceptable on Amazon ONLY because they are trying to undermine what they see as a practical monopoly-in-the-making for digital downloads. My guess is that if Amazon shows them enough traction, they'll undercut the minimum price Apple can sell the same songs for to make site(S) like Amazon a more appealing proposition based on price. Not because they "find it acceptable," but in desperation to break Apple's burgeoning grip.

For now, they still play ball with Apple because Apple is King of this space. But the Amazon proposition offers a way to buy music (for less) and still get it into iTunes and onto iPods. My belief is that they'll feed this fire to try to reduce Apple's marketshare, and soon others beyond Amazon will have significant & similar offerings.

Why isn't their tons of movie and video content on iTunes from every major player? Because Hollywood sees the mistakes their buddies in the music business made, and don't want to make the same mistakes. They don't want to be forced into a "one price" (is good for consumers) model any more than any other company that sells anything would want a distributor to try to force them into a one price model.

Even mighty Walmart doesn't force all DVDs to be one price, nor all CDs, nor all of pretty much anything else. Why? Because that works well for both Walmart and their suppliers. Because good movies & music is worth more than bad movies & music. Because that is a fundamental of capitalism: supply & demand.

As a result, Walmart carries practially ALL movies that we might love to have available through iTunes(but can't get in iTunes). Walmart has music that we can't yet get through iTunes. Cable has VOD of video that we can't get through iTunes. For that matter, my local grocery store has movies that I can't get through iTunes. Etc. Even though Apple is the current King of the space, these partners don't want to be forced to sell their products as the "King" wants it sold.

The point is Apple could have it all. Apple is set up so well to have it all. But because Apple wants to be the "pricing dictator" of content that does not belong to them, the suppliers of that present & future content are increasingly motivated to not readily "play ball" with the current "King" of the space. This ultimately ends in only 1 of 2 ways:
1. Either Apple plays ball, and allows supply & demand capitalism to set prices (effectively transferring the policing of pricing to consumers), or
2. Suppliers will work ever-harder against Apple to sell their content through solutions like Amazon and many clones that will probably come. In this scenario, iTunes eventually loses its crown.

As Apple fans, it's easy to take Apple's side, but, as mentioned previously, if you were the production house with content that you wanted to sell, I wonder how happy you would be to have a distributor telling you how it will be priced. Wherever you work now, if Apple stepped in and told your company what you can charge for your products or services, how much of an Apple fan do you think your CEO would be?

And the whole "Apple saved the music industry" argument is meaningless. No company ever feels they owe much to another for something that has been done in the past. They certainly wouldn't keep giving away price flexibility because they feel they owe Apple for the digital music breakthrough.

I realize I "lose" this debate mostly because to some Apple is always right. But it is extraordinarily easy for this Apple fan to see that if Apple's real objective is to deliver maximum media to ipod/itunes fans (like me), trying to make Hollywood and (continue making) the music industry do it this way, won't get that content into iTunes/iPods in ways we would most like to get it.

Great NBC/Universal programming is NOT available anymore via iTunes. All of the others hold back latest releases, HD versions, etc. when similar is available on things like XBOX. Why do that if they would make more money selling it through iTunes? Because they want Apple to "play ball" more than they want that incremental revenue.

Since Apple doesn't own the content, they must "play ball." Else they risk the really good content being sold and distributed in ways outside of the itunes/ipod system. If you step back and take a really good look, that IS the way things have been going, and may continue to go further that way if Apple doesn't come off relatively inconsequential stances such as price inflexibility.

cwt1nospam
Jan 14, 2008, 07:16 PM
Appreciate the comebacks, but it doesn't change my thinking. If you own a store, yes, set your own prices. But what if you owned/distributed a product through a store that dictated the pricing.
You mean like Walmart?

The fact is, the studios are desperate to set up a system where they're in charge, and nothing Apple or anyone else does will change that. Apple can try to play nice until Microsoft closes its doors, but the studios won't change their attitude! They can't. The internet is making them irrelevant, and the only way for them to survive is if they can generate enough successful online vendors that none of the vendors has a large chunk of the market. This has nothing to do with Apple. It's all about the studios and how they see their control of the market slipping away.

pgwalsh
Jan 14, 2008, 08:03 PM
All I want is a set top box that will allow me to surf the web, watch movies in HD, listen to my music stored within the device or streamed from the web or another computer and record TV shows.

Bonuses: Supports nearly all file type etc. Has multiple movie download services ie netflix, amazon, itms.

I want a device that allows "me" to choose who I purchase/rent movies from and I don't want to be tied into one content provider.

Rodimus Prime
Jan 14, 2008, 11:54 PM
It is going to come back and bit apple in the rear. Apple has a history of doing stupid moves like that. Apple not understand the rules of play are very different if you lead the market.

People complain about M$ doing all sorts of business moves that are unethical but they all turn a blind eye when apple pulls the exacted same stunts with the music business.

It already slowly starting to back fire on apple. Companies are pulling the plug on apple and going to other distributer.

Lets look at the Apple iTV crap that really is just an over price POS. It can only play iTunes movies. It can not record TV or have any of those uses.

Now of course I am going to get flamed for this. But then again I expect nothing less from the blind.

RichL
Jan 15, 2008, 01:09 AM
www.mininova.org

only because Demonoid was shut down

lolz

cwt1nospam
Jan 15, 2008, 08:19 AM
It is going to come back and bit apple in the rear. Apple has a history of doing stupid moves like that. Apple not understand the rules of play are very different if you lead the market.

People complain about M$ doing all sorts of business moves that are unethical but they all turn a blind eye when apple pulls the exacted same stunts with the music business.
Huh? How have those complaints hurt Microsoft? The only thing that's hurting Microsoft is their inability to innovate is causing people to see that they've only been coming out with "me too" products that lack the quality that Apple produces. They've got the Xbox, which was extremely late to the game and has no innovations (graphics aren't innovative, they're evolutionary), especially when compared to the Wii. Their OS upgrades always require more powerful systems in order to work, and even then they're slower than previous versions! They still can't get a handle on security, with the latest worm stealing the bank account information of hundreds of thousands of people. These issues are what's hurting Microsoft, and they don't have anything to do with their business tactics, such as screwing their Plays for Sure partners.
It already slowly starting to back fire on apple. Companies are pulling the plug on apple and going to other distributer.
Apple is by far the leader in online distribution of music, and the record labels would be worried about any company with Apple's dominance. The only thing Apple or any other company in their position could do to make the labels feel better would be to lose market share.

Lets look at the Apple iTV crap that really is just an over price POS. It can only play iTunes movies. It can not record TV or have any of those uses.
Steve Jobs is giving his keynote today. You need to pay attention to it. If you do, you will undoubtedly see that the Apple TV will be carrying movie rentals soon. If you think about it at all, you'll also realize that it doesn't record TV because Apple is trying to play nice with the movie industry. Recording TV would be a threat to the online rental business that those companies want to develop.
Now of course I am going to get flamed for this. But then again I expect nothing less from the blind.
This is not a flame, but you can't post poorly thought out arguments and not expect corrections. You call others blind, yet you can't see the world around you!

Rodimus Prime
Jan 15, 2008, 06:15 PM
Steve Jobs is giving his keynote today. You need to pay attention to it. If you do, you will undoubtedly see that the Apple TV will be carrying movie rentals soon. If you think about it at all, you'll also realize that it doesn't record TV because Apple is trying to play nice with the movie industry. Recording TV would be a threat to the online rental business that those companies want to develop.!

Of all your arguments this one is the most load one full of crap. It is complete BS that being the argument why the iTV can not record TV. There are way to many other DVR devices out there that can record live TV. Now lets add in movies on demand from the cable providers (same as renting in this case) and low and behold we already have devices out there that do EXACTLY what the iTV does. Face it, it is a crappy over price product and apple fans will just buy because it is apple.

apsterling
Jan 15, 2008, 06:35 PM
Sorry to be a pedant, but Apple have no stake in Disney (or vice versa) at all.

Steve is the single largest shareholder in Disney, but that's not the same thing, not by a long way.


Apple Bought out Pixar, which has a big influence. Note that Disney's most successful movies recently are Pixar creations. Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., A Bug's Life, and Toy Story have found their way into the parks, too. Apple has more control on Disney than you'd think, by having control in the parks.

I'd say that having my products in the most attended amusement parks on the planet is solidly having a stake.

Of all your arguments this one is the most load one full of crap. It is complete BS that being the argument why the iTV can not record TV. There are way to many other DVR devices out there that can record live TV. Now lets add in movies on demand from the cable providers (same as renting in this case) and low and behold we already have devices out there that do EXACTLY what the iTV does. Face it, it is a crappy over price product and apple fans will just buy because it is apple.

What about people, like me, that either don't want to pay their Cable Co. for a DVR device, or don't want to spend $300 for a TiVo? Or people who can't get On Demand, also like me. I'd say it's a great value then.

It's not a crappy device, over-priced, perhaps, but not crappy. Name a Cable On Demand service provided High-Def movies for $3. And if there are some, name any Cable On Demand services with movies older than a few months available. This is where I truly see value in the Apple TV.

Granted, it's not my type of device, seeing as I'm happy using my iPod and the Component cable on my TV, or standard Audio on my Stereo, but it's great for some especially those with home theaters, and 5.1 Mixed music.

Rodimus Prime
Jan 15, 2008, 07:01 PM
What about people, like me, that either don't want to pay their Cable Co. for a DVR device, or don't want to spend $300 for a TiVo? Or people who can't get On Demand, also like me. I'd say it's a great value then.

It's not a crappy device, over-priced, perhaps, but not crappy. Name a Cable On Demand service provided High-Def movies for $3. And if there are some, name any Cable On Demand services with movies older than a few months available. This is where I truly see value in the Apple TV.

Granted, it's not my type of device, seeing as I'm happy using my iPod and the Component cable on my TV, or standard Audio on my Stereo, but it's great for some especially those with home theaters, and 5.1 Mixed music.

You want one. Find ATT Uverse I know for a fact since I order one of those last night for less than 3 bucks with on demand.

I believe Time warner, Cox, Verizon and other major providers all do that as well.

The point is the argument apple says that it is to play nice with the movie industry is a load of BS. A lot of people bought it hook line and sinker. I would not be surpised apple real reason for it is they want to just hold on to control and letting me OMG choose what they want to record and watch is unheard of. They do not have to pay apple anything for a device that records live TV

As for your rather weak argument about people like you who have a 5.1 one surround sound system, HDTV and do not have cable are so few and far between that it really does not matter.

Schmoe0013
Jan 15, 2008, 07:10 PM
I think rentals is a good first step towards future relationships with other companies like the movie industry.

apsterling
Jan 15, 2008, 09:46 PM
You want one. Find ATT Uverse I know for a fact since I order one of those last night for less than 3 bucks with on demand.

I believe Time warner, Cox, Verizon and other major providers all do that as well.

The point is the argument apple says that it is to play nice with the movie industry is a load of BS. A lot of people bought it hook line and sinker. I would not be surpised apple real reason for it is they want to just hold on to control and letting me OMG choose what they want to record and watch is unheard of. They do not have to pay apple anything for a device that records live TV

As for your rather weak argument about people like you who have a 5.1 one surround sound system, HDTV and do not have cable are so few and far between that it really does not matter.
I do have cable- I just don't have On Demand, or DVR. I'm saying that this is an easy way for people who want HD content on their TV, but don't want to watch recycled HDTV, to get it. If more people adopted HDTVs and saw Apple TV this way, it would sell better.

Cox lacks a true On Demand system- at least here in Phoenix.

Apple isn't trying to control what you record and watch, it's the DMCA that's forcing a stick to us end users. Apple, unfortunately, as a content and hardware provider, is in the middle.

As for people with 5.1 and HD, they're quite common- it truly completes the experience. I just want more 5.1 Audio. ;)

cmcbridejr
Jan 17, 2008, 03:17 PM
Apple Bought out Pixar, which has a big influence. Note that Disney's most successful movies recently are Pixar creations. Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., A Bug's Life, and Toy Story have found their way into the parks, too. Apple has more control on Disney than you'd think, by having control in the parks.

I'd say that having my products in the most attended amusement parks on the planet is solidly having a stake.

Thanks for the backup.

I really did not feel like getting further into explanation.