Monday, October 20, 2003


The Register  

The Register: "Microsoft monopoly says Apple monopoly is too restrictive
By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco
Posted: 20/10/2003 at 09:15 GMT

Microsoft would be negligent if it didn't see Apple's music ambitions as a competitive threat. On the eve of Apple's splashy launch last week, Microsoft offered a Q&A which warned users not to be seduced by iTunes, Apple's integrated MP3 player/ripper/burner/radio/music store, which is now available on Windows.

Microsoft's David Fester (and whether Fester is his birthname or an homage[*] to his CEO, we don't know; Intel employs a Mr. Jason 'Ziller', which isn't at all relevant here) warned that iTunes carried several disadvantages.

It's worth quoting in full: "

And I'll leave it there. It's a long article full of interesting thoughts. The main thin I can say is that he's at least partly right- Apple is a vertical monopoly and Microsoft's is horizontal. And in the back-and-forth following the release of iTunes for Windows, both sides are right.

He further writes-

"Drop the iPod or drop the DRM?
As Ken 'Caesar' Fisher writes in a very astute Ars Technica editorial, Fester #2's claims are very well made.

Apple is attempting to build a vertical business where a business doesn't exist right now, and Microsoft is retaliating by arguing that horizontal values - or choice - matter. Apple is able to do so because it has its own proprietary DRM, one which the record industry pigopolists find palatable, thanks to its playback device in the form of the iPod[***]. The ends here matter. "

And the answer is: drop the DRM. The Apple iPod has proven itself very well in the retail marketplace, but I don't know anyone east of Redmond who really wants another piece of softwaretelling him what he can and can't do with the music he's purchased. Period.

I really will stop here. Go read the article. It's worth the 5 minutes or so to get a broad view of the whole struggle.

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