Apple Blocks RealNetworks

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Apple Blocks RealNetworks

As an iPod user myself, I found this bit of news a bit disconcerting. Basically, Apple Computer has updated its iPod software so that songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some iPods. Apple basically updated the iPod firmware to block the playing of songs downloaded from RealNetworks. The move could render tunes purchased by many iPod owners via RealNetworks unplayable on their music players.

RealNetworks has marketed its music store as the only Apple rival compatible with the iPod, following RealNetworks discovery of a method to let its customers play their downloaded tunes on Apple's iPod.

Apple criticized RealNetworks' workaround, called Harmony, calling it "hacking" and warned that songs purchased on RealNetworks would likely "cease to work with current and future iPods."

Interestingly, many rabid iPod fans have come to Apple's defense, essentially supporting the notion that you should only be able to download music from Apple's online music store using iTunes software. Personally, when it comes to technology I believe in a free open market away from proprietary technology. This is much better for the consumer in the long run. The more a product becomes a common commodity (what Apple fears), the lower the cost for the consumer. So if downloading songs becomes a commodity that you can download from one of any of a dozen music download websites, then the price will go down due to competition.

This reminds me of the inkjet printer companies that put chips in their ink cartridges to prevent aftermarket ink cartridges from working. Then at least one company (Lexmark) tried to sue under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act). Lexmark lost the lawsuit and of course now aftermarket ink cartridges continue to thrive. I somewhat understood and had sympathy for the ink jet printer companies. They lowered the price point on their printers to the point where many were actually losing money and only making a profit from the ink cartridges.

But Apple has no excuse. I paid >$350 for my iPod which I'm sure had a profit margin for Apple.

Apple should have no right to control what type of music I decide to put on my iPod. Again, I bought and paid over $350 for my iPod, PERIOD! So it's mine! So take your stinkin' paws of me iPod, you damn dirty APE/APPLE!

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