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Old May 22, 2006, 02:25 PM   #1
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Navio Gaining Industry Momentum As Fairplay Alternative

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CNN Money/Business 2.0 reports that Navio, a Cupertino California startup specializing in DRM technology, is gaining some prestige for their efforts in reverse-engineering Apple's Fairplay DRM technology.

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Already, early Navio customers like Fox, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Walt Disney Internet, Cingular and Verizon Wireless have been experimenting with Navio's software to sell digital content. Disney, for example, will be using Navio to power content sales on its website promoting the Pixar/Disney animated blockbuster Cars.
The report does not elaborate on Steve Jobs' reaction to Disney using Navio, or what his role was in the process surrounding the decision to use Navio's technology.

Navio plans to launch software by the end of June that will allow its customers to distribute copy-protected videos that are compatible with the iPod. Movie and Music studios are apparently eagerly awaiting the arrival of the software.

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Hollywood, which has seen Apple rapidly seize control of the paid music-download business, is especially eager for an alternative to iTunes. In fact, they'd like to run their own stores.
Navio's efforts were first reported in November 2005. RealNetworks has also attempted to reverse-engineer Fairplay, and has had varied success. This is the first time that any reverse-engineering attempt of Fairplay has seen this level of interest from movie and music studios.
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:29 PM   #2
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Steve won't be happy given the fact that Navio is getting interest from the movie and music distribution companies. Gotta get that Video iPod out ASAP
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:31 PM   #3
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Interesting read. I am hoping that the competition from others will keep iTunes prices down when (not if) they start to sell feature movies.

It may be bad for Apple in the long run, but this could also benefit us by offering us more choices for purchasable "pod compatible" videos.
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:31 PM   #4
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Time for an iPod Updater!
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:35 PM   #5
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Steve will not be happy, unless this is all his idea...

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Old May 22, 2006, 02:38 PM   #6
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Competition is good. As long as Apple keeps on top of the 'goodies', people will buy their products (me being one of them).
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:40 PM   #7
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Of all the places in the world for a competing company to be located... Cupertino. Seems to be more than coincidental to me.

EDIT: Apple HQ - Navio HQ Driving Directions

Less than a mile from the Apple campus also. hmmmm. Suspiscious.
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:40 PM   #8
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so, i'm buying this navio protected videos and songs, put them in my itunes and play them on my ipod.

then, when i buy a new ipod or itunes is updated the navio protected videos won't play anymore because apple changed the drm codes.
at least until navio releases a patch to circumvent the changes apple made.
so i will have hundreds of songs and videos that don't play mixed up with hundreds of songs that will play in my itunes library.

sounds like i'm gonna pass on that one.
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:40 PM   #9
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Most of the comments so far seem to be positive, yet when Real introduced their iPod-compatible service, most people blasted them.

I have no problem with either company. More choice is always a good thing.
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:46 PM   #10
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Compettiton Good or Bad?

Am I the only one thinking that the competition of the movie studios/record companies opening their own ipod compatible stores could end up being bad.

Why negotiate down to a fair price on iTunes when you can sell it yourself for a stupid amount?
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:47 PM   #11
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I've never heard of Navio, and I believe I speak for most when I say that; "If it doesn't work in iTunes or on my iPod, I don't care."
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:52 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nermal
Most of the comments so far seem to be positive, yet when Real introduced their iPod-compatible service, most people blasted them.
Because everyone hates Real.
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Old May 22, 2006, 02:53 PM   #13
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As much as I love Apple, I cant stand DRM! I hope that FairPlay will burn on the stake, and I will certainly not buy music from Apple before it does.
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by vniow
Because everyone hates Real.
If they didn't release buggy, bloated software - and adware/spyware for Windows - we wouldn't.
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vniow
Because everyone hates Real.
exactly.

But I still though it was a poor move and a low ball move what apple did to real and if apple does it again to this one they could be getting them selves into more and more legal trouble because things like real and Navio will start being used agaist them showing unfair bussiness pratice.

That being said things would be even worse this time with several big name record and movie people backing it. They can easily pull there support for iTMS and the iPod causing a lot of pain for apple.
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:13 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Pancake
Am I the only one thinking that the competition of the movie studios/record companies opening their own ipod compatible stores could end up being bad.

Why negotiate down to a fair price on iTunes when you can sell it yourself for a stupid amount?
That is exactly what I am afraid of. At that point they pull everything from iTunes music store and sell it in their own store and price how they feel. There is no conusmer leverage because they own the whole distribution chain. The only power is when/if consumers object and don't buy, but in the mean time all the content is pulled from the iTunes music store.

I agree competition for Apple is good, just as long as it doesn't give the motion picture companies or record labels any power.
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:17 PM   #17
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What I get out of this is that their core business will be proving media companies with a way to put their media on an iPod - still protected - without having to go through Apple.

This is a nice idea, but they're still reliant on the company they're supposed to be competing with. Plus, Apple already offers a pretty good deal to content providers via iTMS, and the major reason for the MPAA/RIAA companies to want something else is so that they can charge whatever they want for their content. Nobody is trying to convince Apple to lower their prices.

So what do the media companies get out of it? The ability to charge more. What does the customer get out of it? The ability to pay more.

Bottom line: This will only work if everyone suddenly wants to pay more for music and videos/movies than what Apple charges, and only if Apple doesn't release required upgrades that break Navio's DRM.

Unless I'm missing something, this is a terrible idea from a company destined to be forgotten.
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timepass
That being said things would be even worse this time with several big name record and movie people backing it. They can easily pull there support for iTMS and the iPod causing a lot of pain for apple.
I'm not going to say it will never happen, but, it'll never happen!

Apple have already proven to the music and TV companies that the iTunes model works for them more than it does for Apple. Jobs can use the 'piracy stick' on any music companies that threaten to leave; 1 billion legal downloads/sales or 1 billion illegal downloads?
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timepass
But I still though it was a poor move and a low ball move what apple did to real and if apple does it again to this one they could be getting them selves into more and more legal trouble because things like real and Navio will start being used agaist them showing unfair bussiness pratice.
The DMCA, as much as I may hate it, may actually protect Apple in this case. By breaking or copying the DRM, these companies would likely find themselves in violation; a point which Apple would likely not raise unless it goes to court.

Then again, I'm no lawyer.
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by greenmonsterman
Of all the places in the world for a competing company to be located... Cupertino. Seems to be more than coincidental to me.

EDIT: Apple HQ - Navio HQ Driving Directions

Less than a mile from the Apple campus also. hmmmm. Suspiscious.
LOL, their idea of "reverse engineering" must be something along the lines of "let's case the joint then wait until the time is right to break in and steal the code".
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:35 PM   #21
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I thought reverse engineering a company's intellectual property was illegal
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Old May 22, 2006, 03:49 PM   #22
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This just in apple ceases support all third party products. Steve Jobs commented, "the V.smile learning system is going DOWN"

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Old May 22, 2006, 03:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timepass
But I still though it was a poor move and a low ball move what apple did to real and if apple does it again to this one they could be getting them selves into more and more legal trouble because things like real and Navio will start being used agaist them showing unfair bussiness pratice.
There is nothing illigal about having a closed hardware-software system like Apple does. ( Well maybe in France ) Just because you may consider it "mean" or unethical, it doesn't mean it's illegal.
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Old May 22, 2006, 04:01 PM   #24
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There is nothing illigal about having a closed hardware-software system like Apple does. ( Well maybe in France ) Just because you may consider it "mean" or unethical, it doesn't mean it's illegal.

never said it was illigal. Unethical maybe.

A M$ type of move yes.
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Old May 22, 2006, 04:11 PM   #25
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The good news: At least in this article the studios/labels don't express any interest in Microsoft's DRM, which Microsoft seems determined to keep locked into the Windows OS.

Well that's it for the good news, now for the bad:

First, in terms of competition for Apple, so far there hasn't been any, just the usual pathetic, non-innovative, knock-off de jour of iTunes from a host of media and software companies that should have known better. Worse, the studios/labels idea of "competition" usually boils down to higher consumer prices and greater, more restrictive DRM.

Second, no matter how interesting the technology, any company that wants to inject itself into the DRM business and target the iPod has to be insane to try and go forward without having Apple's (read: S. Job's) expressed consent to do so. Apple will always insist that the key to it's success (particularly with the iPod) in the media business is the tightly integrated ecosystem that it developed around iTunes, the Music Store, and the iPod. Targeting the iPod alone (either by a competing player or by a DRM gateway) is satisfying at best only 1/3 of the consumer experience Apple has established. Software (iTunes) and access to media (the Music Store) are carelessly glossed over by the roster of instant wannabes who apparently still have a terribly myopic view of how Apple achieved it's success with the iPod. And no one is more keenly aware of that than Apple.

Right now, Navio is a hardware/software update away from being a footnote in DRM technology history. Trying to do an end-around (reverse engineering or otherwise) to the iPod in order to pitch your product to media content providers isn't going to go very far without Apple's expressed blessing.

In order to get Apple's blessing (not to mention interest), I think you're going to have show Apple in no uncertain terms that you are going to add value to Apple existing business. No one to date has apparently done that and it doesn't look like anyone has spent a microsecond trying. That's okay if you have a spectacular concept waiting in the wings that would make the iPod/Music Store/iTunes system look pale by comparison, but no one has come close to that. In the final analysis, it just doesn't look like anyone is interested in competing with Apple, at least in real-world terms. All that's left is the me-too crowd, and they don't have a clue, let alone any original ideas.
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