Financial Times spits back Apple rivals’ company lines about so-called music format ‘confusion’

“The iPod’s dominance in the portable digital music player market has some of Apple Computer’s key competitors singing the blues,” Scott Morrison writes for The Financial Times. “In the latest sign that the iPod is overpowering rivals, Japanese electronics maker D&M Holdings said last Friday it would close the portable digital music player division behind the Rio brand.”

“Rio’s exit was also seen as a blow to Microsoft, RealNetworks, Napster and other Apple rivals that operate internet music services based on Microsoft standards. These music services have looked to groups such as D&M, Creative Technology and Samsung to provide music players that operate on Microsoft standards,” Morrison writes. “Consumers have been confused by various standards and brands – and the perception that not all of them are compatible with each other. On the other hand, Apple’s iPod and the iTunes online music store operate on closed standards based on the company’s own technology. ‘It’s certainly a loss [for the Microsoft camp],’ said Michael McGuire, analyst at Gartner. ‘When one of the early leaders in the space exits the market it definitely has to be a concern.'”

Full article here.
So what was on the “one hand,” Mr. Morrison? We’d love to read your description of Microsoft’s music format which is completely proprietary, sold only by niche music services and Windows-only. Or is your phrase, “Microsoft standards,” the full extent of your description? Apple uses the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format, which is MPEG-4 Audio, the successor to MP3, and Apple’s iTunes and iTunes Music Store are available to both Mac and Windows PC users which account for the vast majority of personal computer users. We’re guessing that your editor cut out lines of your article haphazardly. Either that, or you can’t write; which is certainly possible since we already know that you can’t report. Spitting back propaganda from Microsoft and/or Napster and/or the music labels that “consumers have been confused by various standards and brands” without a shred of proof is not just shoddy journalism, it’s yellow.

Consumers aren’t confused. The numbers prove that consumers know what they want: Apple iPods+iTunes+iTunes Music Store. The only screams of “confusion” anyone might be hearing are those emanating from Apple’s roadkill via media outlets willing to amplify them.

“Unless it acts soon, Apple could see its commanding lead in digital music disappear,” Scott Morrision, The Financial Times, July 7, 2004. That would be, of course, about 20 million iPods and 400 million iTunes Music Store tracks ago.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Music lovers make Apple’s iTunes Music Store AAC format the de facto standard for online music – August 28, 2005
Financial Times writer: Apple must act soon or lose its lead in digital music market – July 07, 2004
Financial Times on Apple Computer’s results: ‘only a matter of time before this apple falls’ – July 14, 2005
iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Store competitors lack Apple’s ‘seamless integration and ease’ – August 28, 2005
Apple’s roadkill whine in unison: ‘incompatibility is slowing growth of digital music’ – August 13, 2005
The New Zealand Herald serves up a steaming pile of iPod FUD – August 11, 2005
FUD campaign against Apple’s iPod+iTunes fails to stick – April 08, 2005
Apple’s iPod and iTunes competitors continue whining about FairPlay – February 07, 2005
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004

47 Comments

  1. Ready … let’s go!

    So, 80% of music bought on-line is through iTMS. Are these consumers confused? Well here’s a quote from the article from one such consumer that Mr. Morrisson interviewed: “… (crickets) …”

    Oops! That’s right, there is no factual or even anecdotal evidence to back up the confusion claim.

    As per usual MDN nails it. Until one of the other on-line stores is cross-platform these people need to put a sock in it about compatibility.

  2. HANG ON!!!!

    Why all the negativity here? Despite some factual errors, this article comes across as pro-Apple – saying that consumers have been confused by the various other makes and how they work together and feel more ‘safe’ with the ‘closed’ iPod and iTunes standard.

  3. oh, for Pete’s sake, MDN. Sure, Apple uses AAC, but they also use Fairplay, which *nobody* else can use currently. Yes, you can play lots of formats on the iPod, but if you want to buy something from ITMS and play it on a portable player, it *must* be an iPod. And you cannot possibly expect users to burn their ITMS songs to CD, then re-import just so they can put them on a 3rd party player. That’s just not realistic, especially for people who aren’t computer-savvy.

  4. Mr. Skills,

    Because this “journalist” is either being used to spread propaganda (consumers are confused, Apple must change) or is willingly spreading it.

    MDN/iPodDN is rightfully exposing this clown as a yellow journalist.

    If you lack the ability to see it, you need to pay closer attention to what you’re reading.

  5. Mr Skills –

    The negativity of course because the zealots around here are not used to praise and have a hard time recognizing it when they see it. So instead of trying, they just automatically shout down anyone who’s not bleating the Apple party line.

    In reality, the quoted portion of the article (I have not RTFA) is not nearly critical *enough* of Apple. It credits Windows Media’s failure in the portable music market to Microsoft & gang, when in reality, more credit belongs with Apple for their (brilliant or anti-competitive.. you make the call) refusal to play ball with other device makers and content providers.

  6. hairbo,

    The only thing iTunes isn’t compatible with is other players. The songs can be converted by removing the DRM. Yes it’s a pain in the ass to do it but that’s how the record labels wanted it. No other online music store and player is cross platform. They are all Windows only. iTunes and iPod are the only cross platform solution that just works. Apple’s competitors should come up with a cross platform solution before they complain about iPod and iTunes being closed. It’s only closed to a direct connection with their crappy players. As it should be!

  7. “…in reality, more credit belongs with Apple for their (brilliant or anti-competitive.. you make the call) refusal to play ball with other device makers and content providers…”

    Can you show a single entity that has even tried to negotiate with Apple to allow them to use the FairPlay DRM? Or are the whiners sitting on their asses hoping all the “pressure” of the whining “forces” Apple to open up FairPlay? Conversely, can you show ONE example of a company complaining because Apple won’t negotiate with them?

    You can’t.

    “Anti-competitive,” huh? Wearing the shoe on the other foot doesn’t feel so comfy, does it?

    I hope Microsoft, the other PC makers and the recording industry have picked a tasty barbecue sauce to slather on their sorry skins in Hell.

    MW “choice” as in… The whiners don’t like the choice of 80 per cent of the market; the whiners should stop whining and start switching!

  8. The only thing iTunes isn’t compatible with is other players. The songs can be converted by removing the DRM. Yes it’s a pain in the ass to do it but that’s how the record labels wanted it.

    Actually, the record labels hate the fact that Fairplay and the iPod create a closed system. They want DRM to prevent making copies of songs, and they want the user to have the ability to select from various stores/players instead of being locked into just one.

  9. “Can you show a single entity that has even tried to negotiate with Apple to allow them to use the FairPlay DRM?”
    Real and Virgin for starters. I’m sure there are plenty more, if I cared to do some research, which you obviously didn’t care to do yourself.

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