While we in the US are all busy talking about Net Neutrality and the pros and cons of each side of the argument, French government officials are beginning to implement music neutrality, which will force Apple to ensure its music service and players work with competing services and players.
They are doing this to prevent monopolistic practices by Apple. However in my opinion the iPod/iTunes combination is not a monopoly at all. There are competing music services and players. It is fairly easy in fact to develop a new music player or music downloading service.
One might be able to argue that the broadband situation in the US is much more monopolistic than iPod/iTunes combo.
The arguments in both cases are similar. Net Neutrality advocates insist that broadband providers accept all traffic without favoring their own services. Service providers on the other hand insist that they won’t stop the traffic flowing to their subscribers but they have the right to offer a better connection to companies who are willing to pay for it.
The question of course is should the government allows monopolies to act like monopolies — or not in the best interest of consumers. They must weigh this against the threat that broadband providers won’t roll out better services if they won’t be able to monetize them.
There aren’t too many times Americans look to France and say, you know, we should be more like them. For Net Neutrality advocates however, perhaps today is that day.