I’m not sure what I think about this.
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.