Dave Winer: ‘ultimately the iPod is doomed’

Ultimately Apple’s iPod is doomed to fail because it “only allows a very, very slim amount of participation by the outside world,” according to Dave Winer. Winer, described by PBS weekly online TV show NerdTV’s website, as the “Father of RSS and Web Logging,” talked about Apple’s iPod with the PBS’s Robert X. Cringeley in a portion of a rambling interview:

Be inclusive… Where it’s exclusive, you’re hurt – it’s not gonna work. That’s the Internet. And you might argue, actually, that that has always, even when we didn’t call what we were doing the Internet, that really was what we were doing. That was why the Apple II worked. That was why the Lisa did not work. That’s why the Mac worked, you know. That’s why ultimately the iPod is doomed. Because the iPod only allows a very, very slim amount of participation by the outside world. And, I guess it’s a temporary thing. The music industry needed that kind of – sort of control over it in order for them to let that thing do what it was doing. But, long-term, it doesn’t have a future in that way.

And I think part of it is the paranoia of the music industry, and part of it is that Steve Jobs really doesn’t like open platforms. And, ultimately, you know, he’s quite happy that – but something like the Archos that runs Linux, and it’s completely wide open. Supports – has Wi-Fi. It has every port known to man on it. That it’s not a – I mean nobody’s heard of it. Doesn’t matter. That’s the kind of product we’re gonna end up using, because it’s just – ’cause somebody’s gonna come up with killer app for all those – you know, whatever, anyway I’m rambling.

One of the things that’s like totally depressing about the iPod is all the car manufacturers that are building in iPod compatible ports there. That’s crazy, you know? USB, please, you know? I mean don’t do that. That’s so bad. – Dave Winer, October 11, 2005.

Winer also comments on Apple and CEO Steve Jobs:

Apple actually does work, okay? It’s the exception to the rule. It is the you sit at his feet and you receive the word of God. Okay. I personally can’t stomach that. I cannot sit in a goddamn room with Steve Jobs doing that. I wanna puke, you know?

It grosses me out, but there are a lot of people who like it, and his art is impeccable. I mean I did finally break down and buy a Mac, and I got it, and I like it. Hey, it’s a nice computer. It feels good. It’s – I like my Sony VAIO, too, but the Mac’s a good computer. He breaks the rule, and he gets away with it. But nobody else does.

There really shouldn’t even be one. Well, you see, his fatal flaw is the iPod, right? And the iPod’s wonderful. It’s breaking the market in every – it’s breaking it wide open. But it’s breaking it wide open for somebody else, because he’s playing the damn game the same way he always does. He can’t get spread out far enough to actually be the guy who continues to run it later. He’s doing it again.

He probably knows he’s doing it, okay. And he’s certainly cleaning up. And we’ll pay attention to whatever he comes out with next. That’s for sure. And it probably will be great, so, you know, but that’s his fatal flaw. But it’s probably one that he factors in. Jobs factors in, probably.

Full transcript here.

The New iPod with Video.  The ultimate music + video experience on the go.  Buy it now at the Apple Store. From $299. Free shipping.
The New iMac G5 – Built-in iSight camera and remote control with Front Row media experience. From $1299. Free shipping.
Why is it totally depressing that all the car makers are building in iPod compatible ports, Dave? Because it shoots your argument that “iPod is exclusive” all to hell? Archos? Is that a joke? If not, give us a break. It’s an iPod world, Dave. Get used to it.

You have to expect this type of “expert” to be all about ultimate “openness.” Too bad it’s at the expense of common sense here. Winer is flat wrong about the iPod. The iPod+iTunes is the only cross-platform (Mac and Windows) solution, for one example of inclusiveness. It’s the Windows-only Napster, Yahoo, MSN-type outfits that practice exclusion.

Probable reason for Winer’s comments? Apple blasted by RSS community leaders for ‘proprietary’ iTunes Podcast implementation – July 05, 2005

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Apple’s roadkill whine in unison: ‘incompatibility is slowing growth of digital music’ – August 13, 2005

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  1. Archos may be a good product, but running Linux means the average consumer will have trouble using it. The learning curve is too steep for the mainstream. My dad has trouble with e-mail, but he can use an iPod.

  2. Best line: “’cause somebody’s gonna come up with killer app for all those – you know, whatever, anyway I’m rambling.”

    Too right you’re rambling…

    I don’t doubt for a minute that if it really became necessary Jobs will have Apple do what’s necessary to keep the iPod healthy. Full stop.

  3. Yes, the iPod is ultimately doomed. But then so is everything else.

    Eventually, the sun will expand and consume the inner planets, boiling off our oceans, exterminating all life and essentially reducing Earth to a scalded wasteland.

    In the meantime, I’m still enjoying my iPod.

  4. Most folks can live with “closed systems” as long as they can access what they want to and their wallets aren’t screaming …

    The “open Linux/Windows” versus “closed Mac” argument just doesn’t fly here … entertainment is about SIZZLE, CONTENT and PRICE. Apple has the first two nailed down, and showed this week what the economies of scale can do by nailing down the last one, too.

  5. “Eventually, the sun will expand and consume the inner planets, boiling off our oceans, exterminating all life and essentially reducing Earth to a scalded wasteland.”

    The Bush administration is giving the Sun a good head start!

  6. My thoughts EXACTLY Melanie!!! Hilarious.

    Winer has GOT to be a guy WITHOUT an iPod. Perhaps we should all chip in and buy him a Nano (and a case to prevent further “wining” from him.
    In five years when the ipod is paper thin and stored in your wallet, sending wireless music to your wireless ear plug I’m going to look back on his comments and laugh again.

  7. Ugh, can’t people just enjoy the moment without interjecting their politics into everything? I m ean, clearly the sun’s expansion is part of the socialist plot to “include” everyone, right? ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue rolleye” style=”border:0;” />

    “Let” as in “Let it be already!”

  8. I have to agree with Dave, because, you know, the timing for devices are like bird migrations, that is, they come and go. And the timing for this device, though it may be popular at the moment, will never be purposeful, especially in context of the annual reports and such. Apple would do best to turn their attention to consumer products that have had enjoyed great success in the past, like transistor radios. Microsoft will always come to dominate Apple because they know the right consumer input level which gives them the insight to create products that meet critical mass. And Microsoft’s partners excel at product innovation due to the complex and simple nature of these partnerships. So you see, once you look at it like it really is it becomes clear that Dave is right on.

  9. And, ultimately, you know, he’s quite happy that – but something like the Archos that runs Linux, and it’s completely wide open. Supports – has Wi-Fi. It has every port known to man on it.

    exactly why “archos” won’t work, you think record labels, movie companies, and broadcasters are going to want their material on something “wide open” that with linux will get hacked, and pirating gets fueled again….

    doesn’t exclusive mean to only a few select?

    last time i checked the iPod has a 75% market share and every company and their brother is making products for the iPod. i wouldn’t call that exclusive, it’s more all inclusive to me

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