Apple iTunes Compatibility Lawsuit

I’m not sure what I think about this.

Here’s the article

For those of you who know me well, I’ve become a Mac user over the last year or so. Mostly because I’ve become extremely frustrated with Windows and I’ve never really been a fan of Microsoft. Ever since my freshman year when I converted my personal computer to a Linux machine, all of my Windows machines have been dual boot. I’ve only used Windows when I needed to use Office or when I wanted to do some gaming.

Now that I’ve switched to a Mac, I’ve only used my laptop (a Winblows machine) when I go onto campus in the middle of the day to do work since it’s hard to find an open workstation.

I also have an iPod and it was probably one of the best purchases I have made. I used the iTunes Music Store before I had my iPod and became a quick fan of it. It is exactly what I was looking for in the digital music world. I am proud to say that I have not illegally downloaded anything since the first semester of my freshman year, about the time I stopped using Windows primarily.

Purchasing an iPod was one of my goals over the summer because, in my mind, there isn’t a music system on the market that can deliver extreme usability, quality of sound, compactness, performance and overall style like the iPod can. I never had a problem, pre-iPod, with putting my music purchased on the iTunes Music Store on my MP3 player — simply burn the tracks onto a CD, rip the CD back onto your computer in MP3 format — so that was not a reason I wanted to buy an iPod.

This lawsuit brings up some interesting items for discussion. With the iPod holding roughly 87% of the marketshare for hard drive based players, this guy proposes that Apple is using it’s monopoly and it’s proprietary AAC file format to force users into buying an iPod since the AAC files will only play on the iPod. This sounds almost like Microsoft forcing its users to use Internet Explorer as their default internet browser just because Windows holds a majority of the marketshare for personal computer operating systems.

The part that makes me want to tell this guy “if you don’t like it, don’t use it” is that there are other music services out there that use other file formats. Napster and Walmart use a WMA format, playable only on a Windows machine. RealNetworks uses their own version of the AAC file that can only be played with the certain players, and there are other services that still sell MP3s. If you use one of these services, you need to have a player that will play the file type that the service gives you. There are plenty of these players on the market. A quick search on the RealNetwork site shows that any music that you purchase on this site can be played on most players, including the iPod.

So what’s the problem?

What I think is this guy was using the iTunes Music Store to download music. One day he wanted to buy a portable player that would play the tunes he had downloaded. The guy doesn’t want to buy an iPod for whatever reason. He buys something else, tries to use it with iTunes and is unable to. The guy gets mad, finds a lawyer and begins a lawsuit.

I’m still of the opinion that if you don’t like the package that Apple gives you, go somewhere else and find something you do like. When you buy a portable music player today, you’re not only buying the player itself, you’re buying into the entire system of music delivery. In today’s world of copyright lawsuits and infringements, music device makers need to protect the content they distribute. The AAC file is how Apple has secured it’s content, 128-bit WMAs are how other companies have secured their content.

A consumer needs to be aware of the entire music distribution system before they purchase a device. Apple controls the majority of the market share because they make a superior player and have a superior music distribution system that people are willing to pay $300 to become a part of.

Comment it up and tell me what you think, I’m interested to see what other people think about this.

10 thoughts on “Apple iTunes Compatibility Lawsuit

  1. Superior? Are you kidding me? I’ve had nothing but trouble with my ipod, which is now past it’s warranty and unusable, at this point.
    I’m of the mind that I don’t really like Apple products, while they are incredibly sexy, they are unreliable, crash (ALL the time), have many problems, and poorly documented solutions to their problems. AND they are overpriced, but I digress.
    Yes, I loved my ipod when it worked. Yes, I find a 30inch screen orgasmic. But sitting in line at the apple store for 3 hours, after trying every solution I could logically come up with, only to have them tell me I have to fork over another $300 because the problem is “hardware” and it can’t be fixed…
    Incredibly. Frustrating. Not worth the money.

    There’s a reason I nick’d my ipod “my little demon”…

    Oh, and to the tard filing lawsuit, there are programs that take out the DRM’s, as well as the aforementioned burning and ripping. It’s Apple technology, don’t give it that much credit.

  2. I bet I had the same problems with my iPod and my PC. I was able to fix them, if you want me to take a look at it, I will.

  3. I recently researched the purchase of a portable HD MP3 player and decided not to get one for Christmas because there seem to be issues with all of them. Things ranging from sound quality, missing features, battery life, and of course price were large problems for me.

    Currently i’m looking at the I-Pod’s, IRiver Series, and Creative’s players. They all have different features i would like but in the end i decided that an I-Pod would probably be the way to go… until i learned that it only works with I-Tunes (and even with that there have been a lot of problems syncing with Windows machines). I’ve decided to wait as i think Creative will have what i require in a year or two while Apple right now sees no reason to improve anything and is trying to move into an area i care nothing about… photos.

    BTW… this statement is not quite accurate: “This sounds almost like Microsoft forcing its users to use Internet Explorer as their default internet browser just because Windows holds a majority of the marketshare for personal computer operating systems.” Microsoft doesn’t ‘force’ people to use IE… they simply bundle IE with their OS… Microsoft doesn’t design their systems so that you CAN’T use Firefox or Opera… that’s what Apple does with the I-Pod only being compatible with ITunes… that’s why i hope this lawsuit wins… just for the other side of the ball!

  4. I haven’t had any problems between my PC and my ipod. I heart my ipod with everything I have in me. I feel like there are always going to be cases where some customer gets screwed somewhere… so to the person who nicknamed their ipod their little demon, i’m sorry, and that totally blows. but i know SO many people who love theirs, and have no problems with them.

    as for the article, i think that people need to read up on their shit before they buy something. i feel like apple has a giant share because 1. itunes/ipod are relatively easy to use and are generally good quality and 2. no one has really come out with anything as good/better (in my opinion) and 3. they were the first to come out with the gigantic mp3 player, so they’ve established a rep. i feel like people shouldn’t hate on them because they’re good at what they do, and their stuff works. and if you didn’t know that itunes doesnt work with anything else, that’s your fault. you should have chosen napster or something else instead.

    btw, tom, i miss you. way to keep in touch, loser. :-p

  5. Yea, that iShuffle is freakin sweet! Did you get the 512MB or the 1GB?

    Apple announced a lot of hella sweet stuff yesterday. I’m all excited about what’s next!

  6. Hey Tom,

    I’m a consultant and I was reading over your article because it’s DEAD in music tonight. I’m an audio recording major, so you better believe that we’ve discussed this issue HEAVILY in my audio classes. I couldn’t agree more with you about this subject. Another thing that people have to realize is that along with the consumer market, APPLE also has established itself as THEE tour de force in pretty much every arena of
    professional multimedia production (which is extremely obvious to anyone in the field). A lot of people, especially consumers outside of the professional market, do not understand the power that the iPod has. If you’re willing to shell out the money for the larger HD space, it’s more than just a machine to play back audio files. There are many professional mixing engineers in NY and LA who use their iPods as storage devices, bouncing their session files back-and-forth from it to use as a type of transportation device (similar to firewire, etc.). I had never even thought of doing something like that until I read an article where Rich Tozolli talked about riding the subway into the city while listening to his session recordings. I think one of the main problems with the consumer market is that they simply don’t know the capabilities of what they’re purchasing – therefore they don’t understand what they’re paying for. Bottom line, ignorance (in the long-run) is never bliss.

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