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It might seem hard to believe, but there was a time when Microsoft's Bill Gates was begging Apple's Steve Jobs to license the Mac operating system to PC vendors. Apple turned down the offer, and was later crushed by Gate's plan B: Windows. That was in 1985, and thanks to Job's mistake, Gates doesn't need to beg for anything anymore. However, back then, Gates wrote a memo to Apple executives asking that Apple "open the Macintosh architecture" in order to create "the independent support required to gain momentum and establish a standard."
please read this article by jon gruber, which completely negates the entire argument behind this poorly researched article:
"The relevance to Apple's 20-year-old licensing decisions is that nearly every mainstream media pundit who opens his mouth about the iPod -- especially in the wake of RealNetworks' Harmony announcement — has decided that Apple is, all together now, making the same mistake with the iPod that they made with the Macintosh.
I.e., that Apple didn't license the Macintosh, Microsoft did license their operating systems, and that's why Microsoft won and Apple lost. And now Apple is doing the same thing with the iPod and the iTMS.
I'm here to tell you this is utter bunk. Apple's position with the iPod is significantly different -- and much stronger -- than their position with Macintosh 20 years ago."
It's true that the only DRM the iPod supports is Apple's FairPlay. One of the reasons for that is that neither Microsoft nor RealNetworks has seen fit to port their DRMs to the Macintosh!
Talk about consumer choice! What's good for the goose is good for the gander, Ms. Arrison...
Ms. Arrison wrote, "But Apple's iPod music player only plays songs in the company's "FairPlay" digital rights management (DRM) format and songs downloaded from iTunes only play on the iPod....someone who owns an iPod music player is limited to buying music exclusively from iTunes..."
This is the crux of your article. Unfortunately, it is incorrect--the iPod and the iTunes jukebox software play MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF, Apple Lossless, and Audible encoding formats. iTunes will also encode any of these non-DRM'd formats to open formats like MP3, etc. One can simply buy a CD and convert its content to MP3 format for subsequent use on a huge array of compatible players, including the iPod itself. In addition, Apple's FairPlay DRM has the most liberal usage policies in the industry.
It is unreasonable to assert that Apple and its music delivery system is 'limiting' consumer choice. On the other hand, Microsoft and RealNetworks are blatantly guilty of doing precisely that. You're barking up the wrong tree, Ms. Arrison. I suggest you turn your attention to the parasitic companies that refuse to make the R&D investment that would allow them to truly compete. Anything else is a disservice to your readership.
We have Job's to thank for Windows! We have Job's to thank
for MSN iPlayer! There are two things I look foward to;
Job's demise and Apple to follow. With their self-center, self-
serving attitude, they have done nothing but hurt the computer
industry. They are not a people's company, but run by greedy
and selfish techno's. I for one will dump my G4 Mac in the near future and switch to HP's window desktop when it comes out. I can't wait to donate it to charity, if they even want to a stupid
computer, like a Mac. Apple would have been greater than
Windows and Gate's, without Job.
Sonia unfortunately got this whole thing backwards. Apple lost the war with MS precisely because it was too liberal in it's licensing terms with MS, which gave MS the keys to the kingdom to create Windows. They gave too much away because they didn't think they had to worry about MS.
MS, OTOH, built it's empire on a closed system the kept competition out ... precisely what Apple is doing now in music. When you have a dominant position you have leverage and can determine the landscape. When you open it up you also level the playing field and then you must compete with all other vendors on the same terms.
The single most compelling feature of Apple's music approach is the value derived from the tight integration of the iTunes Music Store, computer, and iPod. Sales of iPods spurs sales at the music store, and vice versa. Opening it up at this point would be counterproductive. The technology is already there to support other formats if any one begins to emerge as a serious competitor. Apple is wise not to flip that switch until (and unless) it becomes necessary.
And as far as Apple not working with other companies, this is simply not true as evidenced by recent announcements from HP and Motorola. These strategic deals leverage and expand their leadership position without any of the drawbacks associated with broad and open licensing terms.
The companies like Real who are crying foul are doing so for good reason, but not the reason you claim. They realize that so long as iTunes remains a closed system they stand to lose a ton of business. Claim all you want that they are representing the wishes of the masses, but this isn't the case. The masses are scooping up iPods and ITMS songs by the millions and are extremely happy for a digital music combination of software and hardware that "just works".
This article compares Apple's iPod to Microsoft's business strategy for Windows. The two concepts are not interchangeable. Did you ever think Apple controlling the whole show is the reason for its success? As it is, Apple can respond quickly to problems, and make improvements. Moreover, attempts by companies such as Real to force its music onto the iPod are not good for the customer or Apple. Why? Because when Real's software does not work as advertised, Real goes out of business, or Apple has to make changes to its iPod to improve it, which causes Real purchased songs not to work on the iPod, these customers are probably going to get upset at Apple, not Real. This would cause Apple bad press, and ultimately lost sales.
Moreover, this market is young, and companies like Microsoft are not even in the market yet. Apple needs to be able to capatilize on these markets it created. Right now it is making licening deals with companies it chooses. This is good for Apple, as it controls the customer expereinces, which the strong sales of the iPod shows that Apple is good at providing here.
Moreover, Apple has publicly said if its market share significantly falls, it is not beyond allowing other formats to work with the iPod. It is foolish to tinker with success.
When Apple created the Mac, it never, ever had anywhere near the market share it has with iTunes, and the iPod (70, and 50 percent respectfully). It merely had 10% at the height of its hay day. Apple has such a huge lead right now, if its share starts to drop it has a comfortable cushion to work with. Moreover, since more people had IBM based machines back when Windows came out, it was easier for Microsoft to make deals to capture the market quickly. We see this with Apple and the iPod. Companis want to work with Apple because of its market share. I do not see how allowing other companies to play now, coul benefit APple in any way.
Articles like this one beg the question of what success means to Steve Jobs. Steve was interviewed once on a business show where the woman interviewer asked why he hadn't accepted the permanent CEO position (to paraphrase, "how much money do you want Steve"). With some scorn he replied that by 25 he already had more money than he would ever need.
Apple is interested in success, but is focused more on quality of product than quantity of money. Clearly this is true of Steve, who does the same at Pixar. The biggest auto maker doesn't make the best cars either. People who think that money is the only measure of success are shallow indeed.
The broad Wintel standard has been seen to be a low standard. Security problems, flawed design and second-rate software has plagued the Windows user and continues to. Apple's tighter control of hardware/software relationships produces a higher quality product and an arguably better user experience. Does this have any consequence? Apparently, only if you're part of the 4%.
If you or anyone is upset over Steve Jobs tight control–ask yourself why. There are only be one of two cures to this nagging problem. The first is the disolution of Apple. Editorialists have been calling this for years to no avail. The second is the purchase and use of a Mac.
As Apple makes it's first foray into the low-brow cross platform application and device, it secures a 70 and 50% market share respectively. Perhaps it's time to stop the hand-wringing over Apples misguided decisions–they only seem misguided from the other side. Apple is happy to have their market share and happy to get more. Apple's users are happy also, as this great new gear and software continues to validate our platform choice.
I really wish AUTHORS would THINK before they write such drivel. Sonia clearly has no grasp of Computing History when the above words were penned. Steve Jobs LEFT the Company in 1985! There is NO WAY IN THE WORLD to project what would of happened if his hand was allowed to guide the Macintosh forward more than 1.5 years after its birth. To say, MicroSoft had the right idea is to COMPLETELY overlook the MESS Windows is today. The Mac is GREAT because it is tightly controlled. The iPod is GREAT because it is tightly controlled. The MASSIVE difference here is Steve is still at Apple 3 years later... and able to guide the iPod forward. For ANY AUTHOR to claim opening the iPod would be a repeat of Bill Gates's Windows is clearly wanting the iPod to be unorganized like Windows, poorly written like Windows and painful to use like Windows. PLEASE make sure ALL AUTHORS are corrected when they write poorly researched articles such as this. They are 100% wrong, because they OVERLOOK Steve Jobs left in 1985! There were NO REAL PC Vendors in 1985, only IBM and Compaq. PC's were unable to perform even rudimentary functions of the Mac until 5, 10 years later! On and on. Opening up the iPod would be a DISASTER for people wanting to enjoy Music. If they want a BAD experience there is Napster, OD2, Real, Virgin, Etc. So please, put the pen down Sonia, (and others) you don't know the History of the Macintosh, so don't claim to know the Future of the iPod. Thank You.
This writer can't be serious.