Apple launches a frontal attack on your living room.
Yesterday, I looked into how the modular by design approach impacted the music business. Today, I’m examining how music stores are selling tracks. Much has been made recently of the battle between Apple and Real Networks. After their attempt to partner up with Apple were rebuffed, Real Networks introduced a new product called Harmony, which allowed songs bought in the RealPlayer music store to be played on an iPod. Of course, Apple was shocked and threatened lawsuit. In a way, the reaction by Apple was to be expected as they were trying to create a new bundle around the online music business. Their model is not one of album sales but one of an integrated media package that includes both a device (the iPod) and a service (the iTunes music store). This contention is encapsulated in the way they present their offering on the Apple site. The tab at the top of their pages clearly states “iPod + iTunes” and the company sees them as part of the same offering. By introducing a different way to buy and manage music on the iPod, Real Networks attacked the heart of Apple music strategy, unbundling the device from the service. While Apple…Read More
Over the past few days, I’ve been writing about the Microsoft/AOL deal and why I think that it is a dangerous one to all of us. My core fear about the deal is that it will increase lock-up in the Internet space due to a new concept called Digital Rights Management. When using such a system, content is encrypted based on a number of criteria. My fear is not that the content will be encrypted (after all, it should be OK for vendors to protect their intellectual property if they want to) but the fact that there is no DRM standard that can be shared across the industry as a whole. As a result, we could end up in what I fear will be a lock-up situation. In a recent Security Focus column, Scott Granneman highlights some of the issues surrounding that lock-up situation. Implementing a complete solution means giving more control to one particular software company. In Scott’s example, it is Microsoft. In the case of the Apple music store, that control is in the hands of Apple. Two different solutions, two different ways to handle things. As a result, there will be more fragmentation again, as content that…Read More