BBC, others scared as Apple preps launch of iTunes TV and movie sales in Europe?

“If it’s possible for a computer giant to tiptoe, Apple is trying gamely as it prepares for expansion into online video services in Europe,” Doreen Carvajal reports for The International Herald Tribune.

“Luxembourg’s economy minister, Jeannot Krecké, last month told a reporter Apple would locate its European iTunes video operations this spring in his country, a tiny, land-locked Grand Duchy that has attracted other e-commerce heavyweights with the magnet of low value-added taxes,” Carvajal reports.

Carvajal reports, “Then the minister sought to backtrack, while Apple’s spokesman insisted the company had not announced anything about a Luxembourg e-store and would not react to ‘rumors and speculation.'”

“But Apple’s every move is being watched by other players maneuvering furiously for any early advantage in the global online video market, which is expected to grow into an $11 billion annual business by 2011,” Carvajal reports. “In Britain, RTL’s Five is selling passes for £40, or $78, to download the season’s latest episodes of the American ‘CSI’ shows from CBS, before they appear on British television. Canal Plus in France just started offering video downloads that can be saved to a disc. And public broadcasters, including the BBC and Arte, an eclectic French-German channel, are positioning their offers for video downloads.”

“The early moves by public broadcasters — which are supported with licensing fees paid by viewers — is stirring some discontent among groups like the British Open Source Consortium, a trade group, which last week filed a complaint about the BBC to the government regulator, Ofcom. In the early start-up in Europe, the public broadcasters and most of the emerging commercial players are shunning Apple’s Macintosh operating system and the open-source Linux system by permitting access only with Microsoft’s Windows,” Carvajal reports.

Carvajal reports, “In the early start-up in Europe, the public broadcasters and most of the emerging commercial players are shunning Apple’s Macintosh operating system and the open-source Linux system by permitting access only with Microsoft’s Windows, which has more than 90 percent of the personal computer market. ‘The basis of the BBC is universal access to information with its long tradition of broadcasting news to the whole world,’ said Mark Taylor, president and founder of the consortium, which represents 70 companies that provide services based on open source software to the public sector. ‘To lock people into a system seems a little strange at a time when the age is to open up information.'”

Carvajal reports, “The BBC’s proposal includes an Internet service that allows viewers to download shows for a week after an episode airs on television. It also includes audio downloads of BBC radio programming and streaming of BBC television channels. The name of the service will make many think of Apple: iPlayer.”

Carvajal reports, “The BBC Trust, though, expressed some doubts in a January report evaluating the proposed iPlayer. ‘Our understanding is that the BBC aspires’ to offer an alternative system, ‘which would enable Apple and Linux users to access the service, but has yet to identify a satisfactory solution. In either case, we will expect this to have been addressed within 24 months.’ The two-year period comes at a sensitive time, critics argue, with Microsoft promoting its new Vista software to entice consumers to switch or upgrade. ‘If one was a cynic, it looks like an attempt to get people to upgrade,’ said Taylor, of the open source group, who said a two-year delay to open the iPlayer system to other alternatives gave a vast competitive advantage to Microsoft. ‘What we’re really objecting to is being locked into one technology choice.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]
What’s going on with the BBC? When it comes to covering Microsoft and Apple, should the BBC’s integrity be questioned? We recommend keeping a close eye on the BBC’s reporting; we certainly plan on doing so. Click to ask the BBC make upcoming iPlayer on-demand service Mac compatible.

Related articles:
BBC columnist doesn’t believe Steve Jobs’ Apple would stop using DRM if music labels would allow it – February 12, 2007
BBC integrity questioned, accused of promoting Microsoft and Windows Vista – February 09, 2007
BBC revises article, clarifies where music downloaded from the iTunes store can be played – February 08, 2007
BBC reporter blows it, says ‘music downloaded from the iTunes store can be played only on iPods’ – February 07, 2007
Ask the BBC make upcoming iPlayer on-demand service Mac compatible – February 01, 2007
Report: Europe gets iTunes TV and movie sales this spring – January 31, 2007
BBC: Hackers assault Windows PCs every 15 minutes, ignores obvious solution: Get a Mac – October 09, 2006
BBC signs web deal with Microsoft – September 28, 2006

20 Comments

  1. You know, I used to really like the BBC, but now I’m 28 years old and a lot wiser than I was 5 years ago, I wouldn’t trust anything they say or do.

    And the thing that really stinks, is that because I have a TV I am forced to pay a licence fee to them, even though I never watch a BBC channel.

    Sucks. And the BBC sucks.

  2. Hmmmmm,
    The BBC, trying to screw over the British people once again. “Let’s make the blighters use Windows PC’s. Why in a couple of years, they all will be stick with Vista and that will really mess them over.” LOL So that is why they lost the British Empire. LOL

    N.

  3. Not having any philosophical baggage, I have never objected to the TV license believing that on the whole it offers good value. However, if the BBC is so far in bed with MS that it effectively becomes just another MS ‘partner’ I could rapidly join the swelling ranks of objectors.

    I don’t mind paying the license fee but I don’t see why I should be forced into paying MS as well.

  4. In terms of reporting on technology and science, the entire British mainstream media is simply appalling. It’s not just the BBC.

    Now I’m a fan of the BBC in general. I think it’s a good system. I have no particular objection to the funding. I have as little control over what my license fee funds as I do over what my ketchup or breakfast cereal funds. If the license fee is a ‘tax’, then so is the portion of the cost of a packet of Corn Flakes that goes into advertising Kellog’s products on TV.

    The real problem here is that the BBC should not be promoting Microsoft. I have no problem with it using a Microsoft solution if it is the right one, and it is cross platform. Using an Apple solution that excluded Linux – or one for a which an Open Source solution could not be developed freely by the Linux community, would suck just as much.

    The questions are, I suppose: Is the relationship between the BBC and Microsoft one that involves corruption ? Did someone get a huge backhander out of it ? Has someone manipulated Aunty’s technological ignorance ? Or are they just thick ?

    Note that the BBC has technological brilliance in abundance – part of its reason for being it to develop technology – but it’ll be at a level below the suits, and this decision has come from the suits really not realising what they’re getting into with M$.

  5. Hywel,
    I agree mostly with what youre saying, but I’s not so sure that the ‘suits’ don’t know what they are doing.
    Productions like BBC’s Planet Earth are i have to say very well produced, some of the best in the world, but as far as I’m concerned if they’re taking money, free computers, however Microsoft are doing this, then it really does turn me off the beeb. Alot of what the BBC produce is also just absolute crap as well to be honest.
    Its hard not to get the feeling that BBC are pro-Microsoft and anti-Apple. Purely because the media they distribute is this way inclined.

    For those with blogs, I think its time to let the BBC know that their part in glorifying microsoft and spreading FUD about Apple Inc won’t be easy, and without reaction.

  6. I’ve been in broadcasting for quite awhile now, and I’ve experienced first-hand, the tactics MS consultants often use in their presentations to IT departments and other technical and production groups. In short, if you haven’t seen it for youself you probably would think it was being exaggerated. Intimidation accompanied by stern looks and fist pounding is not at all unusual. The Macintosh, sometime along with Linux, is often sited by name as being in the way of progress at many companies and corporations throughtout the world (again, stern looks and fist pounding). The last consultation I had to sit in on was so over-the-top, that even the inhouse IT pros were looking at each other and me with shock and amazement. It was really that bad – Really…

    You can take it for granted that the BBC is, at the very least, getting verbally bamboozled by Euro MS reps, and I wouldn’t be at all suprised to find free stuff getting to the BBC indirectly from MS.

    As a related aside, I’d keep an eye on the public broadcasting institutions in the U.S. of A. They are deeply in the sack with MS – deeply. Think about that the next time you make a donation to your local public radio or tv station.

  7. Don’t just grumble on here. Lodge a formal complaint:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/make_complaint_step1.shtml

    And click the YES button to request an answer.

    My complaint follows:

    What is the BBC thinking?

    he BBC Trust, though, expressed some doubts in a January report evaluating the proposed iPlayer. ‘Our understanding is that the BBC aspires’ to offer an alternative system, ‘which would enable Apple and Linux users to access the service, but has yet to identify a satisfactory solution. In either case, we will expect this to have been addressed within 24 months.’ The two-year period comes at a sensitive time, critics argue, with Microsoft promoting its new Vista software to entice consumers to switch or upgrade. ‘If one was a cynic, it looks like an attempt to get people to upgrade,’ said Taylor, of the open source group, who said a two-year delay to open the iPlayer system to other alternatives gave a vast competitive advantage to Microsoft.”

    There has been a great deal of very damaging commentary about the BBC of late. This requires an urgent review of the BBC’s commercial relationship with Microsoft and the danger that this is destroying the BBC’s journalistic independence.

    If the BBC can be corrupted in this way, who can we trust?

  8. With NuLabour privatising everything and being way more corrupt than the last lot it’s no great surprise that the BBC has likewise been corrupted. I most regret the downgrading of news programming, dumbing down and towing the government line more than ever post Hutton even though Gilligan and Dyke have been proved right. For the most part I’ve been impressed with the people I’ve met who work for the Beeb, but then that was a few years ago I’ve never met any upper management.

    If news has suffered drama and science is still pretty good. I think the license fee is worth it, not just because of the quality of much of the programming but because there’s no adverts. What bliss. Sky etc charge fortunes and still ram 14 minutes of adverts per hour down your eyeballs.

  9. Apple needs to swing into action and get talking with all the UK and other European broadcasters. What happens here will be folowwed elsewhere.

    The broadcasters are saying that only Microsoft can provide the sort of solution that they require. Apple needs to talk to them, find out what they really need and provide it. There is no time to waste.

    If the BBC manage to exclude Macs for two years, how will Apple overcome that sort of head start for Microsoft ? The race will be over before they even reach the starting block.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.