Sunday, January 09, 2005

Not the iTunes phone

So, that phone Motorola was showing off at CES isn't the so called iPhone but a first of several upcoming Motorola phones loaded with a mobile version of iTunes.
But a Motorola representative clarified on Friday that the phone shown during the keynote was not the actual iTunes phone that is slated for release this year. Instead, it was a Motorola E398 equipped with the iTunes functionality for the demonstration.
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This looks like another example of Apple telling its users, "If it's not on our software or our hardware, it's not worth playing." Apple has consistently refused to license it's FairPlay DRM to makers of both software and hardware players. Even though Motorola devices will be able to play Apple's protected AAC (*.m4p) format, Apple isn't even really licensing the FairPlay technology so much as helping to develop another version of iTunes. Consequently, as more people (namely iPod-less people) will be able to listen to their legally purchased music away from their computers, it's still in a very restricted way.

New Windows Mobile Smartphones, Pocket PCs, Pocket PC phones, and Portable Media Centers will soon be able to play and even download media protected by Microsoft's freely licensable DRM technology supported by, well, everyone else. While Apple maintains its strangle hold on the MP3/Digital Audio player market, how much longer will their 'only on iTunes' philosophy hold as the number of devices and ways to listen to your music expands?

Unfortunately for Microsoft, it would seem market share and brand loyalty for Apple is surging and not declining. Having multiple players and music stores all supporting its software is great and all, but doesn't match Apple's unified approach. In light of the recent court cases (a, b) involving Apple, isn't this similar to what Microsoft did with Windows, IE and Media Player?

SOURCE: Engadget

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