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Old Aug 2, 2006, 09:00 PM   #1
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Apple's response to Norwegian Consumer Council on iTunes Mu...




Category: Apple Services
Link: Apple's response to Norwegian Consumer Council on iTunes Music Store
Description:: This is a summary of the contents in the 20 page response from Apple to the Norwegian Consumer Council's complaints filing over terms and conditions in iTunes Music Store.

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Old Aug 3, 2006, 06:47 AM   #2
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Apple state you can't be accused of anti-competitive practice if you don't have a monopoly position? But what if you use anti-competitive practices to achieve a monopoly position?
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 10:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by whooleytoo
Apple state you can't be accused of anti-competitive practice if you don't have a monopoly position? But what if you use anti-competitive practices to achieve a monopoly position?
Please explain. What has Apple done to prevent competition in the market?
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 10:48 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsnort
Please explain. What has Apple done to prevent competition in the market?
Here's one - breaking Real's Harmony, thus preventing other companies from legitimately selling music compatible with the iPod.
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 11:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whooleytoo
Here's one - breaking Real's Harmony, thus preventing other companies from legitimately selling music compatible with the iPod.
Real's Harmony was reverse-engineering, they tried to force their way into compatibility.

Nothing is preventing Real from selling regular MP3 files that will play just fine on the iPod.

As for Microsoft, their new toy isn't even compatible with PlaysForSure... How is that for customer support?
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 11:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvan256
Real's Harmony was reverse-engineering, they tried to force their way into compatibility.

Nothing is preventing Real from selling regular MP3 files that will play just fine on the iPod.
Nothing, apart from the record labels who would never agree to it.

I've heard nothing to indicate what Real did was illegal, so what's wrong with it? To me "trying to force their way into compatibility" is a good thing - I like choice as a consumer and would prefer if every music player on the market was compatible. Why should anyone cheer on a company that's attempting to reduce their choice?
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 12:10 PM   #7
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Maybe I'm missing something but I'm always a little mystified by the claim that the iPod limits choice. I quote Walt Mossberg (from a 5/11/06 WSJ column):

Critics attack the iPod and iTunes as "closed" and "proprietary," because the songs Apple sells at its iTunes Music Store play only on iPods, and iPods can't play songs purchased from other music stores. But both the iPod and iTunes handle the two most common open audio formats, MP3 and WAV, and the most common open video format, MP4. They work well even if you never buy a song from Apple. And iTunes and the iPod work on Windows computers, not just Macs. So how is that closed?
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 12:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKF
Critics attack the iPod and iTunes as "closed" and "proprietary," because the songs Apple sells at its iTunes Music Store play only on iPods, and iPods can't play songs purchased from other music stores. But both the iPod and iTunes handle the two most common open audio formats, MP3 and WAV, and the most common open video format, MP4. They work well even if you never buy a song from Apple. And iTunes and the iPod work on Windows computers, not just Macs. So how is that closed?
It isn't closed, but it does limit choice.

The incompatibilities between music store/player formats isn't a technical issue, but a business decision. Apple wants to lock iTMS customers into buying only iPods, hence they don't license Fairplay. They want to lock iPod users into buying from iTMS, hence they prevent solutions such as Real's Harmony. The hope is, if you've bought a lot of music from iTMS, you're reluctant to ever switch to another music player if you're unable to take your music with you, or switch to another service if you can't play it on your existing iPod.

What's particularly galling about it is that Apple doesn't need to do this! iTMS and the iPod are the runaway leaders in terms of design, brand appeal and simplicity.
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 01:13 PM   #9
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I concede that the system does limit a few choices, but in what to me seem pretty small ways.

And I agree that it is a business decision. Of course it is. This is business, and Apple wants to make money. And they did, after all, do a remarkable job with the iPod and iTunes, as I think we agree. Maybe it's not that I dispute some of these points so much as that I can't really begrudge Apple for not rolling out the welcome mat for a competitor like RealPlayer, which doesn't seem to want real competition (such as inventing its own eloquent mp3 player, and a great program to go with it) as much as it wants just to jump on Apple's bandwagon.
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 04:38 PM   #10
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Exactly....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BKF
I concede that the system does limit a few choices, but in what to me seem pretty small ways.

And I agree that it is a business decision. Of course it is. This is business, and Apple wants to make money. And they did, after all, do a remarkable job with the iPod and iTunes, as I think we agree. Maybe it's not that I dispute some of these points so much as that I can't really begrudge Apple for not rolling out the welcome mat for a competitor like RealPlayer, which doesn't seem to want real competition (such as inventing its own eloquent mp3 player, and a great program to go with it) as much as it wants just to jump on Apple's bandwagon.
Thats the part that peeves me the most....

Everyone belly-aching about Apple's "monopoly" are companies that have tried and failed to bring out a successful product to compete against the iPod.

Apple created their own system - and no one can force them to open it up to the wild and give every unimaginative, crappy company a free ride. As long as Apple plays nice and doesn't pull Microsoft-esque tricks (like paying retailers to stop selling competing products) then they'll be okay.

Apple is a big business and like every other big business they want to make money - but they are still pretty much in "our" corner when it comes to music - because of them we still have 99 songs...
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 04:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvan256
Real's Harmony was reverse-engineering, they tried to force their way into compatibility.

Nothing is preventing Real from selling regular MP3 files that will play just fine on the iPod.

As for Microsoft, their new toy isn't even compatible with PlaysForSure... How is that for customer support?

just like to point out Reverse-engineering is legal. And it is an example of anti compition action.

Apple current system is set up to be anti competive. sicne they have both the number 1 player and 1 music store. Then they made sure that no else will work with either one.

Music is going to require to have DRM for the major stuff (so mp3 argument is out the window).

Apple is making it pretty clear that they are not going to let any one else play. They are getting near monoply standing and using anticompetive ways of getting there.
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 06:48 PM   #12
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Its not really a monopoly if you ask me.

Hell, Apple hardly even makes money off of the song sales. I think they end up with like a penny for each after all that happy server upkeep, bandwidth, and the RIAA, reaming them up the behind.

******* the RIAA. >:O
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 08:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timepass
Apple current system is set up to be anti competive. sicne they have both the number 1 player and 1 music store. Then they made sure that no else will work with either one.
All business is setup to be anti-competitive by your logic.

Apple created their system. They are not obligated to give it away to anyone else. Apple is not keeping other companies from developing their own player/software combo (which numerous companies have done) - they just suck at it. That's not Apple's fault.
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 08:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhEsTen
All business is setup to be anti-competitive by your logic.

Apple created their system. They are not obligated to give it away to anyone else. Apple is not keeping other companies from developing their own player/software combo (which numerous companies have done) - they just suck at it. That's not Apple's fault.

That fine to do apple system until you get to the spot where apple currently is. Apple has reach the point with doing that set up is hurting compition a lot more than helping it.

Other companies can do the Store/player combo but niether would do very well even is the software/hardside was better than apple. reason behind is the new store is not going to have the market base to have the record company really play nice or help them and the player not giong to work so not going to have the artiest. that effects the player because they cannt get the music out there. The Store is hurt because it will only work on a very small number of players and they cannt build up the market share.


Apple set up is reaching the point where it going from a good combo to anti competitive pratice. By your logic M$ could take MS Word and set it up so it would not allow any other company to read or write to .doc format. That would kill off openoffice and all the others because they cannt play with the number one office suite out there. It not anticompetive they are not stoping any one else.

Or they could take Windows and say oh no if software is not made by M$ then it will not work on our OS. It not stopping other companies from making it own OS and software for it.

Apple just is reaching the line where the set up becoming anticompetive.
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 11:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timepass
Other companies can do the Store/player combo but niether would do very well even is the software/hardside was better than apple. reason behind is the new store is not going to have the market base to have the record company really play nice or help them and the player not giong to work so not going to have the artiest.
Well, I can't agree with that. The record labels would like nothing more than to find a way to dethrone iTunes. Jobs is forcing them to keep all songs at 99 cents, and they hate it. See http://www.technewsworld.com/story/49727.html. The minute the recording industry is able to throw support behind an alternate venue, a venue that will allow them to charge you more, they'll do it.
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Old Aug 3, 2006, 11:56 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKF
Well, I can't agree with that. The record labels would like nothing more than to find a way to dethrone iTunes. Jobs is forcing them to keep all songs at 99 cents, and they hate it. See http://www.technewsworld.com/story/49727.html. The minute the recording industry is able to throw support behind an alternate venue, a venue that will allow them to charge you more, they'll do it.

but then you run into another problem. it would cost more to download the songs and the increase cost would cause it to fail. they woud have to play at the current cost of iTunes.
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 08:35 AM   #17
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Another quick question. Will the PS2 games I already own play on the Xbox my son wants for xmas? (I really don't know the answer to this.) Or is this whole interoperability argument wholly centered around music downloads?
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 09:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKF
Well, I can't agree with that. The record labels would like nothing more than to find a way to dethrone iTunes. Jobs is forcing them to keep all songs at 99 cents, and they hate it. See http://www.technewsworld.com/story/49727.html. The minute the recording industry is able to throw support behind an alternate venue, a venue that will allow them to charge you more, they'll do it.
OMG. I was perusing some of the links on the page you sited and found this wonder of journalistic integrity. ( His very words drip venom for Steve Jobs)

http://www.technewsworld.com/story/m...ilm/49589.html
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 09:05 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timepass
but then you run into another problem. it would cost more to download the songs and the increase cost would cause it to fail. they woud have to play at the current cost of iTunes.
The point still stands that the recording industry is and will be happy to play nice with an Apple competitor. And why do you say that the prices offered by a competitor have to be more? Isn't the point of competition to lower prices?

Can Apple be blamed for being a monopoly just because in this field, at least, it is so far and above the competition? Are you a monopoly if other companies do poorly what you do well?
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 09:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKF
And I agree that it is a business decision. Of course it is. This is business, and Apple wants to make money. And they did, after all, do a remarkable job with the iPod and iTunes, as I think we agree. Maybe it's not that I dispute some of these points so much as that I can't really begrudge Apple for not rolling out the welcome mat for a competitor like RealPlayer, which doesn't seem to want real competition (such as inventing its own eloquent mp3 player, and a great program to go with it) as much as it wants just to jump on Apple's bandwagon.
I agree it's probably good for Apple (the reason I say "probably", is that I believe the lack of interoperability, and the sheer complexity of the formats, DRMs, bitrates, differing service agreements etc. may be stunting the growth of the online digital music industry. Instead of Apple conceivably being a big fish in a huge pond, it's a huge fish in a small pond - relative to CD sales or the pirate download scene).

However, I think it's not good for the consumer, which is why I find it strange that people would consider Apple's interests ahead of their own.
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 10:27 AM   #21
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In economics, a monopoly (from the Latin word monoplium - Greek language monos, one + polein, to sell) is defined as a persistent market situation where there is only one provider of a kind of product or service. Monopolies are characterized by a lack of economic competition for the good or service that they provide and a lack of viable substitute goods.
There's more than one provider... there are many music stores out there, even cheaper than the iTMS. There are many music players out there, even cheaper than the iPod. No-one is forcing the consumer to buy an iPod, or fill said iPod with music from the iTMS. Not to mention that music purchased at the iTMS does *not* have to be played on an iPod (and the iPod does not have to play music from the iTMS). I've purchased many a song on the iTMS, and I don't even have an MP3 player...

There is no monopoly in effect. There are many providers... it's just that most of them suck in comparison to the iTMS / iPod. You can whine all you want about it, but it's not a monopoly. It's about a silly as me complaining that my Net10 (pay by the minute) cell phone won't take prepaid minute cards from a competing service. More silly actually, since the iPod is useful beyond the iTMS, and the iTMS is useful beyond the iPod.
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 12:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkaake
There's more than one provider... there are many music stores out there, even cheaper than the iTMS. There are many music players out there, even cheaper than the iPod. No-one is forcing the consumer to buy an iPod, or fill said iPod with music from the iTMS. Not to mention that music purchased at the iTMS does *not* have to be played on an iPod (and the iPod does not have to play music from the iTMS). I've purchased many a song on the iTMS, and I don't even have an MP3 player...

There is no monopoly in effect. There are many providers... it's just that most of them suck in comparison to the iTMS / iPod. You can whine all you want about it, but it's not a monopoly. It's about a silly as me complaining that my Net10 (pay by the minute) cell phone won't take prepaid minute cards from a competing service. More silly actually, since the iPod is useful beyond the iTMS, and the iTMS is useful beyond the iPod.
Then explain why M$ has to deal with so many restriction on there OS and everything they do. There is compition out there for all that stuff. So by your agurment they are not a monoply and should have free will.

I think the biggest problem is Apple used to be a nitch player and being allowed to keep everything in house. Just in the mp3 and online music store marekt they are not a small player any more. They are the M$ of mp3 and music stores right now.

My question to everyone is lets say instead of apple that was fighting this battle it was M$ or sony or creative (everything else stays the same just m$ owns iPod and iTMS), would you all be cheering for them and say they are right? if you answer is no. Thank you, you just lost you leg to stand on.

Lets up the anti even more. Lets say apple is the one trying to get into the market. Well the iPod would hurt and the iTMS would fail because it would not work number 1 player.

I think apple is a chicken and they way they are acting seems to show that they dont have any faith in their product. Because they are keeping it closed and dont have to deal with the compition. If apple so confident about how good there stuff is open it up and prove to the world that it is the best and does not require all this help.
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 02:06 PM   #23
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Microsoft was found by the United States to be “unlawfully maintaining its monopoly” (italics mine); it was not found to have achieved market dominance through the introduction of a great product. If they manage to do that some day, God bless them. And Microsoft still has a pretty good market dominance anyway, as you might have noticed, but you don’t hear a lot of Apple fans asking for them to be sued for it. Most of us would rather Apple just keep inventing and improving its own OS and computers and players and etc.

Having said all that, mkaake hit the larger point on the head: Apple doesn’t even have a monopoly here. We’re talking about one music player, let’s remember. There remain lots of alternate ways to listen to music. Enjoy them!

As for the “What if Apple was trying to break into the market” scenario, remember that once upon a time Apple did break into the market. And they took it over not because they made you or me buy an iPod, but because the damn little thing, in conjunction with iTunes, was and remains the best system for organizing and listening to digital music files.

Does this way of thinking privilege the company Apple over the consumer (and I am a consumer!)? Well, it just might. That puts me in an odd position, but I think that to ask Apple to approach this differently is to ask them to act really in a sort of quasi-nonprofit way. Perhaps the angriest people here are, ironically, the ones with the highest opinion of Apple and how it should behave. I think Apple generally does right by the consumer, but they’ve earned their spoils here, and I can’t expect them not to want them. That’s why they went to the trouble and expense to invent the thing, after all.
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Old Aug 4, 2006, 03:53 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Timepass
My question to everyone is lets say instead of apple that was fighting this battle it was M$ or sony or creative (everything else stays the same just m$ owns iPod and iTMS), would you all be cheering for them and say they are right? if you answer is no. Thank you, you just lost you leg to stand on.
That's a fair question, and I honestly don't know how I would answer.

But let's turn that question a little bit.

In June of this year I replaced a 2 year old Dell Inspiron 1100 with a Black Macbook. The Dell had approximately $1000 of productivity software on it, purchased seperately from the comp, including M$ Office 2003. All $1000 of that software is useless now, it is not "interoperable" with Mac OS. I had to lay out again for Office, and for Mac OSX compatible equivalents for the others. Now I'm not complaining! I knew before I switched that this would be the case! But how is this different from the iPod/iTMS issue?

I've posed this premise in a few other threads on the iPod/Norway issue. No one has even responded yet. Maybe this time I'll get lucky?

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Old Aug 4, 2006, 04:25 PM   #25
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you know if you call a lot of those companies you got your software from they would be willing to change the liceince over to the Mac verson free or just a small fee (mostly the cost of getting you a new disk and you turning in you old one). Most are wililng to do that. there biggest fear is you getting another copy of there software and installing it on another computer and having 2 liences and only paying for 1.

Like Office 2k3 was good only for the Dell was only allow to be installed on one computer at a time. Now if you bought it though Dell then it was an OEM copy that is tied the computer. Read the EULA. Chace are really good that you could of gotten most of it replace and change over to a new one for a very small fee at most (the cost of getting you a Mac OS verson.)

Also it is differenct because for the most part because the prodivders of most of the software do not make the OS. Now if it was let say a third party that was not related to apple that did that tie in then it would be another story and legel (which is quite a bit like your software example the companies are not related)
That and apple going to have to fight agaist how much of a joke it is to make it open for everyone. and to allow other DRM to play. It is a true joke how easy that is to get on something. Also Apple could make there OS able to read exe format just choose not to (same with M$ could allow XP to read .apps in some way but both woudl require a ton of work).
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