Navio tries to ‘unlock’ Apple’s iPod

“Navio Systems, a startup based in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, Calif., is hoping to… let anyone sell music, videos, games, and other content that stays protected wherever it goes. Hollywood, which has seen Apple rapidly seize control of the paid music-download business, is especially eager for an alternative to iTunes. In fact, they’d like to run their own stores. And that’s what Navio’s software lets them do,” Michael V. Copeland reports for Business 2.0. “Navio has built a system that stores the rights associated with a piece of music, a game or a movie in the file itself. When you buy a song or video from a Navio-powered website, information about your purchase is stored in a ‘digital locker’ that tracks your rights. The key difference from iTunes: Navio doesn’t care where you get the content. And that opens up any number of websites to the possibility of selling digital content.”

“Already, early Navio customers like Fox, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Walt Disney Internet, Cingular and Verizon Wireless have been experimenting with Navio’s software to sell digital content. Disney, for example, will be using Navio to power content sales on its website promoting the Pixar/Disney animated blockbuster Cars,” Copeland reports. “By the end of June, Navio plans to include software that lets its customers offer copy-protected videos that will play on iPods. Michael V. Copeland reports for Business 2.0.”

Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jamie” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Cool, even before release, Cars is already a blockbuster.

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Related article:
Navio threatens to hack Apple iTunes Music Store’s FairPlay DRM à la Real’s ‘Harmony’ – November 22, 2005


  1. Navio Systems, a startup based in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, Calif…

    Ah we know the judges and all the politicians here, even the first names of all the process servers.

    This should be easy.

  2. The beginning of the end to the iPod/iTunes empire! Apple will always have a more elegant solution, but competition will take much of the wind (profits) out of the AAPL juggernaut.

    Sad to say.

  3. If an iPod doesn’t care where it came from, and the DRM is “embedded” in the file, then Apple shouldn’t care where it came from either, since their bread is buttered much more heavily on the “selling more iPods” side.

  4. MadMac: This won’t hurt Apple as much as a lot of people may think. They make way more money from iPod sales than from music downloads. Opening up the iPod is inevitable — it’s just a question of timing. Even after it’s open — people will still shop at iTMS because of ease of use, selection and integration. And with downloads from other services (each with their own DRM) playable on iPod — Apple will sell even more players.

  5. I dunno. As long as the iPod remains the player of choice (which is likely) and as long as the iPod works smoothly with iTunes (which it always will) I don’t see why I would need/want to go anywhere else for my music or videos.

    Even if the prices were to drop at a competitors site, I’m not sure I would want to leave the ease and convenience and reliability of Apple’s iTunes.

    My 2 cents.

  6. Boy, that will be fun… Throwing away an awesome product like iTunes for a lesser PC-only iPod client just so I can download garbage from all over the web.

    Where do I sign up?

  7. In fact I see this as an advantage for iPod/iTunes and Apple eventually. It gradually takes away the one criticism of the format ‘the locked in’ aspect, (be that actual or percieved) without a big bust up in the market place, forcing this to take place. It allows any tracks or movies, that arn’t available on iTunes or are specialist (indeed new content altogether) still to be available to iPod users while nearly all that are in the store (assuming Apple doesn’t do anything stupid) will through choice, ease of use or habit will be downloaded from the iTunes store itself.

    Seems potentially the perfect solution to the iPod/iTunes combo opening up slowly without any detramental effect, or enforced move towards a competing regime. For movies it is the only way that the studios will play Apples ‘tune’ at all I suspect as they really are not going to be tied in as has happened with music and otherwise the movie store will be only a relative bit player.

  8. DJ: “I don’t see why I would need/want to go anywhere else for my music or videos.”

    What happens if the recording studios open their own stores and refuse to allow Apple to sell their music on the iTunes store?

  9. “What happens if the recording studios open their own stores and refuse to allow Apple to sell their music on the iTunes store?”

    Well, first Apple files (and wins) a king-sized breach of contract suit.

    Second, their online sales go down, when people realize they have go to a dozen different online stores all with (you know it will be!) craptacularly designed UI’s to find the music you want, then find out they want $2.99 for it, because the CEO’s nose candy habit is WAY out of control.

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