Enderle: Microsoft’s ‘PlaysForSure’ going to be a long-term problem for Apple

“After watching the rest of the high-tech industry unveil its coolest electronic gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, Apple Computer Inc.’s Steve Jobs stands poised to unveil his own company’s latest and greatest at this year’s Macworld Expo,” Matthew Yi reports for The San Francisco Chronicle. “While Apple’s size may pale in comparison to some of the high-tech heavy hitters like Sony, Samsung, Microsoft and Intel, the Cupertino company remains the team to beat when it comes to digital entertainment, particularly in music, analysts say. ‘Everyone has Apple in its crosshairs,’ said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research, a market research firm.”

“Tech industry analyst Rob Enderle agreed that Apple’s success with the iPod and its online iTunes Music Store — which now sells popular TV shows like ABC’s ‘Lost’ as well as music — has made the firm an easy target,” Yi reports. “In fact, Enderle said he believes Apple’s success may prove to be a ‘massive problem’ as competitors gang up on the firm. Just last week, more digital content providers were announcing additional deals with competitors like Microsoft and others that use the software giant’s Windows operating system. ‘Some of the big announcements like the Microsoft-Starz Entertainment deal (to make TV shows and movies available online) will not work with Apple products,’ Enderle said… ‘It is the entire market. Pretty much everything at (the Consumer Electronics Show was) going back to Microsoft and its Plays for Sure (digital rights management scheme). And that’s going to be a long-term problem for Apple,’ Enderle said.”

Full article here.
Rob Enderle: an idiot savant minus any extraordinary skills.

Again, when the time is right (and early 2006 is nowhere near the right time), Apple will license FairPlay and the also-rans that are still around will maul each other in the mad dash to sign on the dotted line. Online music outfits will drool, so they can sell their content to what will soon be 100 million+ iPod owners, and/or media player makers will meekly ask Jobs how high to jump, so they can finally play billions of dollars of iTunes Store content.

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Related articles:
MacDailyNews to present live coverage of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ Macworld Expo Keynote – January 09, 2006
Harvard professor: Apple’s iPod may not stand the test of time, Mac won’t continue to gain share – January 09, 2006
Microsoft debuts ‘PlaysForSure’ logo to signify incompatiblity with Apple iPod, iTunes Music Store – October 15, 2004


  1. As what happened in the 1980s, Apple has generated a huge lead in a new field. The question has always been can they maintain that lead.

    Since everybody else in the world is trying to capitalize on the success of the iPod, Apple will need to quickly find allies in the battle ahead. Long term, I think there are too many other players (with lots of money) gunning for Apple to continue to fight this battle alone. Just one slip up and the swarms may catch up.

    BTW: it is still too early to claim that Apple has won. Once all the components of a media center are in place (music. film, TV) then maybe Apple can claim victory.

    MW: pressure (’nuff said)

  2. MXNT41 –

    When Apple’s dominance slips, it will be too late. Who will want to license failing technology?

    I love Apple’s products, but their anti-user / anti-choice tactics are unforgivable, and if they lead to their own demise, I for one will see it as appropriate.

  3. hairbo is correct. Obviously MS and products are a problem. They’ve had their Media Center software out for years. No great success, but they already have many hardware vendors incorporating the product into a wide array of entertainment hardware.

    Apple definitely has to deal with this competition, and there are many powerful companies in the game that feel Apple and SJ need to be taken down a peg. I am very curious what is at the heart of the Apple v Burst.com suit.

  4. “Apple’s success may prove to be a ‘massive problem’ [for Apple]”

    Enderle may have a valid point buried deep down in his notes, but he sure has a childish way of trying to reveal it to the world through that column of his.

    Some of the people posting here have much better explanatory powers than Enderle The Journalist, who apparently needs a little journalism training.

  5. There is nothing wrong in what the guy said… Makes perfect sense. The abuse was needless.
    However, if Apple licenses FairPlay, hopefully this year, that could actually spell the end of “PlaysForSure”.

  6. What part of 75-80% of marketshare does this retard not understand? And it’s not like this is a fragile position, Apple has had the lions share of the mp3 player/digital music sales market for quite some time now.

    Note to Enderle…wishing something (i.e. success for M$) will not make it so.

  7. UM yeah, no duh that being on top there’s really no where to go but down. However I’ve said before:

    As alternatives are unveiled, and they lack the ease of use and slick design that Apple has, it will just cause confusion in the minds of consumers and they will stick with what they know works. Besides I do beleive Apple is taking the high road with their ‘you buy it you own it’ mentality. Microsoft and the other seem to lean toward the ‘pay eternally to listen to your music’ plan.

  8. Enderle defenders: The reason for having MDN having a go at Enderle is because he has ALWAYS spouted nonsense… that never came true.. time and time again.

    The fact that he has said this, means it is highly likely to never happen.

    If you want evidense of his innanities, just search MDN over the last four or so years.

  9. is not a killer application and player. Those are not coming.

    The real problem is when *good-enough* player and online stores will start to be a reality. So far Apple is the only appealing combo and the lack of a *good-enough* solution elsewhere is making the huge crowd of the *good-enough* buy an iPod and buy into iTunes.

    Of course, what is achieved is achieved: an iPod user, whether on Mac or Windows is not going to buy the incoming *good-enough* alternative, but the others will lazily go with the masses. Cheapos? sure thing but it will end up slowing down iPod growth and everyone will jump on the bandwagon of “the iPod is dead”. Not true but as usual with everything Apple the pundits will start ringing the bells.

    Concerning one comment above of supposedly Apple anti-user / anti-choice tactics , uhmmm, ehmm, pfftt, eeehhehhh,


    Sorry, couldn’t resist… anti-user….




    Which planet are you debarking from again?

  10. FTA: ‘Everyone has Apple in its crosshairs,’ said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Jupiter Research, a market research firm.”

    On a road trip last year, a vast cloud of gnats had my windshield in their crosshairs Their aim was outstanding. I had a terrible cleaning problem.

    FTA: …Enderle said he believes Apple’s success may prove to be a ‘massive problem’ as competitors gang up on the firm.

    That is like the guys at the hotel bar whining about the alpha male who picks up the super-babe and beds her upstairs in a room. They are angry and they are not going take it anymore — poor babies.

  11. Question for everyone. Does Microsoft allow other companies such as say Real Media license their playforsure DRM? Just curious really. When the day comes that a company makes an end to end device and program that is as good as Apple’s iTunes and works with Playforsure DRM THEN there will be more of a problem. Apple will just have to stay ahead of the game. Until that happens Apple will hold the title.

  12. It wouldn’t have made sense to license out Fairplay in the past, but the time is rapidly approaching. Imagine if this were to happen tomorrow: Mr. Jobs releases the Intel Macs and announces an ad campaign to advertise the newly released Macs. This would spread the word to the masses and their market share would start to massively increase (hopefully in a controlled fashion). Then, about a year later, when all the other music/video download services begin to encroach on Apple’s marketshare, they begin to license Fairplay.

    This would let them use all of the iPod advertising as long as they can (thus making money from it) and still make it the standard later on. Pretty much, right now, they are riding their money wave and will hopefully begin to license out their technology BEFORE their market share starts to dwlindle. But, we’ll find out tomorrow….

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