“The only surprising thing about the fact that Apple Computer has now locked RealNetworks out of the iPod is that it took so long for it to happen,” Arik Hesseldahl writes for Forbes.com.
MacDailyNews Take: Well, one other thing that’s somewhat surprising is that it took so long for anybody to notice. That has to tell you something about Real’s sales to iPod photo owners at least.
Hesseldahl writes, “Apple Computer, you’ll remember, was ‘stunned’ earlier this year by RealNetworks’ creation of Harmony, a downloadable music format that allows its users to play songs on an Apple iPod. Apple, being rather protective of its digital rights management scheme called Fairplay, wasn’t amused, and promptly threatened to lock Harmony users out of the iPod with a forthcoming software update.”
“That is precisely what Apple has started to do. The software released with its iPod Photo music player renders songs encoded in the Harmony format unplayable. You probably can expect a renewed cat-and-mouse game, but with luck RealNetworks Chief Executive Robert Glaser has learned his lesson about picking a public relations fight with Apple and its CEO, Steve Jobs. And if it can be done on the iPod Photo, it likely can be done just as easily with a software update to other iPod models,” Hesseldahl writes. “Still, there’s a bigger question at stake here, and eventually Apple is going to have to address it. The music industry wants a unified digital standard…”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Actually, there already is a de facto standard. It’s called MPEG-4 Audio: Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) with the market-dominating FairPlay, Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) system – look for the .m4p file extension in your iTunes Music folder. The Dictionary of Computing defines “de facto standard,” as a widespread consensus on a particular product or protocol which has not been ratified by any official standards body, such as ISO, but which nevertheless has a large market share. The de facto standard for digital online music is an MPEG-4 Audio File (Protected) or .m4p. According to NPD, Apple’s iPod holds nearly 68 per cent of the worldwide music player market and iPod’s share of the US hard drive-based player market is 82 percent. Also according to NPD, Apple’s iTunes Music Store holds 70% market share of the paid music downloading industry.