iTunes Compatibility Protest Grows

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ipedro, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. ipedro macrumors 68030

    ipedro

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    #1
    iTunes Compatability Protest Grows

    January 22, 2007
    Doug Mellgren
    Associated press
    OSLO, Norway – German and French consumer groups have joined a Nordic-led drive to force Apple Inc. to make its iTunes online store compatible with digital music players made by rival companies, a Norwegian official said Monday.

    Currently, song purchased and downloaded through iTunes are designed to work with Apple's market-leading iPod players but not competitors' models, including those using Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media system. Likewise, iPods generally can't play copy-protected music sold through non-Apple stores.

    Last June, consumer agencies in Norway, Denmark and Sweden claimed that Apple was violating contract and copyright laws in their countries.

    Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman Bjoern Erik Thon said French consumer lobby UFC-Que Choisir and its German counterpart, Ferbraucherzentralen, joined the effort late last year, and other European countries are considering it. Finland's Kuluttajavirasto consumer group is also part of the effort.

    "This is important because Germany and France are European giants," Thon said. "Germany, in particular, is a big market for digital music.''

    The Nordic regulators have met Apple officials at least twice on the complaints.

    In a written statement after one such meeting in Oslo in September, Apple said it "is working to address the concerns we've heard from several agencies in Europe, and we hope to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.''

    Thon said Norway gave Apple until September to change its polices, or face possible legal action and fines in the country.

    "It cannot be good for the music industry for them to lock music into one system," he said.

    A French law that allows regulators to force Apple to make its iPod player and iTunes store compatible with rival offerings went into effect in August.

    Source: The Toronto Star
     
  2. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68030

    ipedro

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    #2
    I'm surprised this topic isn't being picked up. :confused:

    There is a rising demand for iTunes music to become playable on all devices. Legal moves seem to be imminent.

    I think that if this comes to pass, iTunes will be pulled out of the countries in question, rather than lose their most powerful bargaining chip in maintaining the iPod monopoly.
     
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #3
    If it's one country, yes. When this issue originally got press vis-a-vis France, that was the speculation.... but eventually, if enough countries band together, who knows?

    Apple could possibly just publish API hooks that allow third parties to latch onto the store without damaging their DRM system. It wouldn't be their responsibility to make those hooks easy to use. And I would tend to rather think that their most powerful bargaining chip in the iPod monopoly is the design of the iPod -- the average iPod user buys very few iTunes songs. Granted, some of us buy a lot of them. But there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence that the iTS lock is drawing people into the iPod at all.

    On the other hand, some things seem to be flowing the opposite direction. The Zune uses a proprietary store that also, as far as I know, is a digital monopoly that locks all Windows PFS devices out (as well as the iPod). The major difference is that no one buys the Zune or its service.
     
  4. ipedro thread starter macrumors 68030

    ipedro

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    #4
    Good points, but I would argue that while the iTunes store may not be the main attraction to the iPod, it is a major deterrent when one considers leaving to another platform.
    Current iPod owners considering a Zune or a Sony mp3 player or any of the other players gaining traction would quickly reconsider when they realize that their entire library (including purchased iTunes music) is locked in to the iPod. Without that lock, current iPod marketshare could bleed to the competition.
     
  5. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

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    #5
    i know it's possible but, seriously, how many people do you think are switching from the iPod to the Zune?

    similarly, Microsoft's own PlayForSure-branded devices won't play songs downloaded from the Zune store. but, as previously said, very few people are using the Zune or the Zune store (whatever it's called) so there don't seem to be compatibility issues.

    i don't see anything wrong with locking iTS purchases to the iPod. it is a smart business decision for Apple and i don't think the government (any government) should get involved by telling Apple how to run their business in this regard. if you want your songs to play on a device other than the iPod, don't buy your songs from the iTS.
     
  6. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #6
    This is true to some extent, I guess, although the newer devices in this genre play at least unprotected AAC, don't they? Meaning the lock only applies to purchased music.... Even if I had to convert to another file format (and yes, recognizing some loss of quality), and had to burn/rerip all my purchase music, I think I'd be up and running fairly quickly again....
     
  7. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    #7
    What happens if you build up a large iTS collection, then Apple changes its terms and conditions (as it reserves the right to, and already has done once).

    You could switch to another device/service in protest, but you'd have to abandon all the music & videos you've bought. What do you do?
     
  8. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #8
    I orig. thought that DRM was because the music industry insisted on it being there.

    After hearing John Dvoark make a very good case that it's probably APPLE that doesn't want the DRM dropped (for the very reason that whooleytoo mentioned -- basically, DRM makes it difficult for people who have invested money on DRM'ed content to switch platforms), I'm not sure what to think.
     
  9. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

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    #9
    Wouldn't this be the fault of the non-Apple stores? If other stores make their music not playable on the iPod then those stores need to be treated the same way these governments are treating Apple.
     
  10. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #10
    Will this lawsuit also require MS to allow it's Zune songs to be played on iPods? Or PlaysFor Sure devices? Or is it specifically targeted at Apple?

    Seems to me it's gotta work both ways, or all ways as the case may be.

    Sorry, didn't RTFA.
     
  11. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #11
    so if itunes music has to play on all devices would that mean that in the future:

    -all videos have to play on all devices

    -all image formats have to show on all devices

    -all games have to play on all devices

    -all software has to run on all devices

    -OSX has to run on all devices?

    basically has everybody who makes media to license his format to whoever wants to make devices for it? because thats what drm basically is: just a special format that can only be used by devices that can decode it. that would then extend to all formats: for videos, pictures (must Adobe open up it's pdf and psd formats to the competition?), games (you pay a lot to be able to program for the xbox, and it's impossible to get a license to make a device that plays even old xbox games).

    i think they should let itunes alone. if people don't like the drm/restriction to itunes they will stop buying the music. it's not thaty we need music (like medication or so). if its too annoying we stop buying it. free markets.
     
  12. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

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    #12
    there are chances we all take when purchasing hardware and software. the terms and conditions of the use of iTunes and the iTS present a risk to the user (with respect to the contract's (EULA) terms being changed), albeit a very small one. if Apple decides to change it's terms, that's something with which we have to live. if a person is not willing to take that chance, i maintain that s/he should not buy from the iTS.
     
  13. Stridder44 macrumors 68040

    Stridder44

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    #13
    Exactly. A group of people are upset because they can't play their iTunes music on their crappy Zen Micro? *plays the worlds smallest violin*
     
  14. zim macrumors 65816

    zim

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    #14
    I feel that they are targeting the wrong group. They should be going after the music industry, as somewhat suggested earlier here. The music companies are playing along under specific guidelines that were agreed upon between them and Apple so this French group should be seeking the music industry out not Apple because Apple does not own the rights to the music. Also, in being fair, since they are not targeting the music industry, which clearly shows me that they don't have a clue as to how these events came about, then they should be targeting all online music providers.
     
  15. eenu macrumors 65816

    eenu

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    #15
    i may be wrong but surely Ms's offering is the same.....will only work on their Zunes!?
     
  16. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #16
    Yes, although...

    (1) this complaint is from the EU governments involved and not from MS.

    (2) this represents a very recent departure for MS, as their previous effort (plays for sure) allowed for licensed devices.
     
  17. eenu macrumors 65816

    eenu

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    #17
    I think its a bit dumb that apple is picked out in this when others do this!
     
  18. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #18
    Like that's a precedent for Europe? This is the same Europe that singled out MS for integrating web rendering technology in their operating system when *cough cough* every other modern operating system also has integrated web rendering technology. :rolleyes:™

    I do wonder how it'll play out in the long term. I think reality suggests that the current closed Apple world is going to be an Eden that eventually we get cast out of. Just have to wait and see if the real world makes us yearn for the arms of God or makes us glad to be atheists. :)
     
  19. eenu macrumors 65816

    eenu

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    #19
    I agree. However i feel thats a little different as that is an Operating System. People must use one of 3 primary OS's and have little variety or choice as to which they use (windows).

    MP3s and players are FAR more open with a wider choice. I could get my hands on all the music i want and a player without going anywhere near apple and it wouldn't affect my life in the slightest as apple music on a ipod player is the same as non apple music on a non apple player.

    This is DUMB

    I know what i am trying to say but finding it hard to write it :p
     

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