August 2, 2004 12:20 PM PDT

Readers speak: Who's right in iPod fight?

reader feedback RealNetworks created a dilemma for Apple Computer fans when it "reverse engineered" Apple's iPod digital music player, putting two of the tech community's most passionate loves--for Apple and interoperability--at loggerheads.

CNET asked: Which side wins out?

The responses came down fairly heavily on Apple's side, though it was hard to tell whether that reflected agreement with the Mac maker's argument or general favor for the company.

"The simple fact is that Apple has a (dominant) position in the digital music market, because they offer a product, the iPod, and a service, the iTunes Music Store, that are far superior and a must-have for consumers," Craig Nori wrote. "Beating your competition by building a better product and offering superior service should be applauded. And it's the complete opposite of Microsoft's way of doing business."

Ron Stark wrote: "Apple deserves to reap the benefits of its labors without having someone else nose in on their work."

One reader pointed out that "if an individual had done something like this--say, to create a driver allowing people to watch DVDs on Linux systems--they would be dragged off to jail."

Not everyone came down on Apple's side, however. Some warned that Apple has been down this path before, and it hasn't always ended well for the company.

"By not taking advantage of their lead, Apple is going to doom itself to irrelevance yet again, just like they did with the Mac," another reader wrote. "They didn't want to license; they wanted to control both the hardware and the software. Where did that get them? Three to 5 percent of the market share, that's where."

Others pooh-poohed the predictions of Apple's demise.

"Apple has been on the forefront of many technological advancements lately, digital music being only one of them. Apple will continue to focus on producing the most technologically advanced product on the marketplace in conjunction with their 'exclusive' motif," Mike Kruger wrote.

"Apple will not license its FairPlay DRM (digital rights management)," he added. "They are too concerned about the entire product--how software and hardware interact. Someone will come out with an MP3 player that will be cheaper and maybe be superior, but it won't bother Apple. Then more pundits will predict Apple's downfall, but they will survive."


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It´s amazing...
There were MP3 players... Then, came the tPod and the
revolution on portable digital music began...

There were (pirated) music file exchange... and then came iTMS
and gave "the labels" 199 millions "paid" songs in 440 days.

And Apple did all this from the scratch, alone, only with their
understanding of what the user wants (ok, except for the price).

More than 3 years later for iPods and one for iTMS, Sony comes
with a "not so good" (read Mossberg) product and do-not-ask
for Sony Conect.

Microsoft is still promising to "kill" both products "next month"
(please, next month change this to next month).

So Real copyes (reverse ingeniering) the DRM...

Why do companies do not "copy" the creativity and risk-taken of
Apple? (From the first GUI, the first digital camera, the first
postcript laserwriter, wireless conection, etc. etc.... and don´t
forget FireWire et al.)
Posted by lmasanti (293 comments )
Reply Link Flag
what innovation its a bloody format that we're talking about not something that even qualifies for the term intelectual property. The real probelem is apples complete disregard for customer rights .I'm not implying they're worse than the other major players but I am stating straight "they are all crooks who don't care about anything but the bean counting". lets face it at 99 cents a tune Apples making a good profit and the RIAA members are doing great (from a paycheck perspective) and the artist probably gets part of 1 cent (which of course is more than fair considering they did all the real work.)
One last thing you mentioned sony's new player negatively the real truth is none of these toys faithfully reproduce the artist music and that is what this is supposed to be about. Anything less than fully delivering the product the artist created is placed under the category "yeah we have some cheap crap under the desk if you don;t care about the sound"
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Link Flag
apple right or wrong
Jobs is great but his brain sometimes has these massive brain farts. Apples argument is they built a "bucket" and they have the sole right to tell you what to put in it. THe business mistake(?) is apples problem but their ethics on this are remarkably weak. The customer is the only one who has any rights about the use of the "bucket". What the people at Real did was no different than what apple is probably doing with the new Sony machine (only read a couple of para. but it appears to be a superior product). I doubt very much that Job's brain will implode if he ends of with a completly opposite point of view when it comes to selling itunes to his compeditors. To be fair to Jobs he has his vision(s?) and has a right to try and prove them but bad mouthing the competition just implies you don't have a good counter argument for what they've done. The next obvious next step in this idea is that apple tells us what kind of music you can listen to but thats ok I prefer the barenaked ladies/dave mathews version of "gin & juice" to the snoopy dogs version anyway (being a majority of one the rest of you don't count maybe I'll only allow you to listen to the monkees lol) . have a good one
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple's done it again, Magoo!
They Invented the PDA (Newton)...where it now? They brought to consumers digital cameras first-no where to be seen now. Will the iPod go that way? Eventually. Time and time again we have seen where Apple's propritary bent has ruined what could have been a great idea/market. By opening up at least the MP3players to the file format, they would be opening up the song venue to a wider market. Now, they will keep everything to themselves till someone (ie Microsoft) comes up with a better (ie cheaper) solution while the competion catches up with the iPod itself. There are already competing song sites. I give it a year to peak for Apple and they will find themselves slowing losing out to those who win the open-market competion & they will have to look for the next "gotta-have" technolgy and hope it will be it's next cash-cow. I have been a fan of Apple's since my first IIe but I have been burned by them more times than I care to remember and while I do wish them well - it makes me sad to know that ANOTHER market they have created will eventually be lost. I applaud Real Networks for trying to grab a slice of the iTunes pie and thrush Apple into the real world. I hope they prevail.
Posted by jeffq (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
don;t clap demand more
face it all the computer companies are making major cash selling us half baked products and ideas. Frankly it gotten to the point where SCO is looking like an honest firm (they've basically adimitted that the are no longer a computer company but a law firm with a penchent for extorsion) . if you compare that to longhorn where the marketting people and the mad ballmer have more say then the people in the company who know what their talking about. strange days a crocked company looking ethically better than one that is basically honest (except for ballmers desire to run the world)
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
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