“For Apple Computer, life at the top of the digital music heap is not all it is cracked up to be. The company maintains upwards of 60% market share in MP3 player sales [worldwide] and in February crossed the 1 billion songs plateau for sales at its iTunes Music Store. But as its power grows, so grows the list of potential threats to its dominance,” Brian Garrity writes for Billboard. “Nowhere is the challenge that Apple faces greater than in the mobile music arena. McGuire points out that Apple must protect its existing iPod/iTunes business while at the same time figuring out how to transition to new products and services for the cell phone.”
“Determined to make that process as difficult as possible is Microsoft, which is seeding its Windows Media technology standard with a host of wireless device manufacturers and carrier services,” Garrity writes. “Motorola announced at the 3GSM conference February 13 that it will support Microsoft’s Windows Media technology in its upcoming devices. The deal seemingly undercuts a similar pact Motorola inked with Apple a year ago. It was Motorola’s reasoning for Microsoft support that underscores Apple’s challenges: Company executives say wireless operators want devices that support Microsoft’s technology because these units will let them offer their own music download services, while Apple’s technology will not.”
“If worrying about the developing mobile music sector is not enough, Apple has to contend with myriad lawsuits alleging everything from patent infringement to antitrust violations to liability for hearing loss,” Garrity writes. “Plenty of press scrutiny may also result from a claim by Thomas Slattery in the U.S. District Court of Northern California that Apple engages in anticompetitive practices by not licensing its Fair Play DRM (digital rights management) technology to third parties… Among the cases that will be closely followed: Santa Rosa, Calif.-based burst.com in January filed patent infringement claims against Apple’s allegedly unauthorised use of ‘core audio and video functionality for Apple’s iTunes and the iPod.’ Last year Microsoft settled patent infringement and antitrust claims made by Burst by reportedly paying $60 million and licensing the same Burst patents listed in the complaint against Apple. ‘Many of these claims are the type of claims any company faces when it has a successful product or service,’ says Bobby Rosenbloum, an attorney and shareholder in the entertainment practice at Greenberg Traurig. ‘When you are No. 1, you have a bull’s-eye on your back.'”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sailfish” for the heads up.]
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