“Earlier this week Real stunned the digital music scene with the announcement that its software, ‘Harmony,’ would allow its customers to play songs purchased on Real’s Rhapsody digital music download service and play them on an iPod or other player,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for Forbes.
“One would think Jobs and Apple would run the risk of looking like a villain opposed to consumer choice and innovation. And while that argument may have some merit, the bad vibes aren’t likely to stick to Apple because of the iPod’s pop culture status. Glaser and Real–right or wrong–are more likely to end up looking like the unpopular kid bitter about not being invited to the cool kids’ party,” Hesseldahl writes.
“Appearances do matter. Apple should beware looking like it’s too jealously guarding the door to the iPod party, and should ready a contingency plan under which companies backing other formats, like Real, can join the party, but only under terms that Apple lays out. It won’t hurt Apple one bit over the long term. The market demands openness and flexibility, and Apple, of all companies, should have learned this lesson by now. There was a time Apple owned the personal computer business. We all know how that turned out,” Hesseldahl writes.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: If iPod holds a significant share of the market, there is no reason to let anyone into the party, as long as Apple’s iTunes Music Store offers similar content to the other stores. And iPod does hold quite a significant share of the market. This is not a matter of developers having to choose which platforms to support, as it was with the Mac vs. PC. The developers in this case are the musicians (in most cases shackled to the music labels). Encoding a song into AAC/Fairplay is just as easy as encoding in WMA. Musicians don’t have to rewrite each song for AAC or WMA. iPods demand AAC/Fairplay from an online music store (they also play MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, AIFF and WAV formats). And consumers seem to be demanding iPods. Sorry, Real.
Related MacDailyNews article:
RealNetwork’s CEO Glaser crashes Apple’s music party – July 30, 2004