Apple Acts Hurt By RealNetworks' Efforts To Make iPods Slightly More Usable

from the how-dare-you-help-us!! dept

As expected, given a few days to look over the fact that RealNetworks had made iPods just slightly more usable by coming up with a way that people buying songs in Real’s download store could move those songs to an iPod, Apple has responded quite angrily, claiming they’re “stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod.” That’s right. How dare they come up with a way to make the product appeal to more people!

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Comments on “Apple Acts Hurt By RealNetworks' Efforts To Make iPods Slightly More Usable”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

As usual Mike, when it comes to free music for the masses, your mouth tends to lead while your brain stands on the side line flat lining.

Apple and any other company have the right to protect their product. While DRM is a sore subject with most, myself included, put together a hack to circumvent it and as a side affect, damage the reputation of the owners product should not be dismissed with a flippant remark.

Part of apple’s selling point for their music service is the virtually flawless initegration of thier ipod with their music service. Real has introduced something which will disrupt Steves ‘perfect music’ experience and in all liklihood create many a flustrated user who will turn their back on Apple because of it.

Real is acting like a rotten kid who got told NO so they went a head and did it anyway and are hoping that it’s easier to say ‘sorry’ after the fact. I suspect they are going to find that it’s ‘Not good to piss off the Steve’.

It’s a shame you have such an arrogant holier than thou attitude about the whole music thing. It tends to take away from other area’s where you do offer some good insight.

Candrian says:

Re: DMCA is evil.

This is more than music, its about personal property rights. If I buy a device, its MINE. I shouldn’t have to be told what I can and can’t do with it once I own it. This is the same kind of crap that DVD makers tried to spin about how playing DVDs on linux is wrong since it requires breaking the encryption (which in this case real doesn’t even do).

Granted, I don’t like real, but if someone wants to use real music on their iPod, then they should be able to. (And if its not apparent, I also dislike printer cartridge lockout, dvd region lockout, and other such artificial lockouts on products..)

As for protecting “rights”, its good to note that those “rights” were paid for by the lobbying of the entertainment and software industries when they had the DMCA passed in 1997. Heres a clue for the ignorant, there IS a such thing as bad laws. And exploiting bad laws just because you can is so wrong that I shouldn’t even have to explain why. And yes, I understand the term bad is subjective, but I have yet to see a positive result of the DMCA, let me know if you find one..

Adam (user link) says:

Re: Re: DMCA is evil.

Apple has a delightful history of putting driving themselves to the brink of bankruptcy by not letting other companies participate on their platform. They should be allowed to do the same here. It’s their device, they can lock out whom they choose.

Stupid business model? Yes. I think that’s all Mike was saying there. Has nothing to do with the “world of free music”. Jobs obviously doesn’t want Apple to become too successful for whatever reason (as is evident by the business decisions he makes). It’s his right to sabotage his own products!

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

As usual Mike, when it comes to free music for the masses,

I’m curious what this has to do with free music… It’s pretty clearly paid on all sides.

Apple and any other company have the right to protect their product.

Sure they do, but in this case, it’s stupid. They’re SHUTTING OUT PART OF THE MARKET.

damage the reputation of the owners product should not be dismissed with a flippant remark.

How does it “damage the reputation” of Apple? By making the product do more?

create many a flustrated user who will turn their back on Apple because of it.

Now you’ve totally lost me. Who’s going to turn their back on Apple because Real made it easier for more people to use an Apple product…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Mike, you constantly rant about DRM being evil evil evil and advocating file sharing so that folks can sample the music and pay for live shows or provide some other venue to recoup from their music. I visit your page frequently and it’s a re-occuring theme in your posts. Whether the business or the consumer will win is yet to be determined. The business has a product you/I want. What are we willing to put up with before we walk away. (side note: I use iTunes and have yet to notice the DRM; Am I the exception or the rule ?)

Apple is not shutting out part of the Market. They make their money by selling computers and Ipods. It is in their best interest (at least for now) to drive consumers to their hardware. By controlling the software, they can do this. Quite Honestly I was surprised to see a Windows Ipod/itunes come out. Major concession on Apples part and an invitation to others to come play … by their rules.

Damage their rep ? Oh, yeah. If you have to go through a few extra hoops or if you’re ‘harmonied’ music quits playing on your iPod, you’re more likely to blame the ^%#^$#^ ipod, not Real who led you down this un-authorized path. And this will cause folks to turn their backs on itunes/ipod and walk over to say … a nomad or something akin to it. Cause it’s ‘a windows thing’.

I’m not saying that Apples approach is correct. I’m sure Real’s isn’t. I suspect that one to two years from now that the ipod/itunes will be much like the Mac computer in that a small percent of people (very satisfied people but a very small percent) will be using it. On the other hand, I’m not convinced that if Apple did allow others to use their DRM that the same thing wouldn’t happen.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

Ah, I see. You weren’t talking about this post specifically concerning free music. Also, I clearly didn’t make my point well enough, for which I apologize. You ask who will win, the consumer or business… but that’s the wrong question. What I’m trying to show is that both can win. Businesses can provide what consumers want, and it opens up a much, much bigger opportunity for them. Yet, they take a short-term view and focus on making money now at the expense of opportunities later on.

So, yes, Apple IS shutting out the market. They’re harming their own reputation, by making their device not play well with others. If they go ahead and break it, it IS their fault. Right now it works, the only way it stops working is if APPLE CHANGES THINGS and breaks it. So, if they screw up their reputation on this one, it’s their own fault.

Even if Apple does end up with a tiny percentage of the market, you still haven’t explained how it could possibly make sense for them to make their product less usable when others have tried to make it more usable, attracting more potential users.

I fail to see your point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No Subject Given

To your first point; I don’t believe that opening up the music would be beneficial to apple. Perhaps the musicians but it would put apple in the position have having to compete on price and performance. As they learned early on with their computers, people would rather save money than pay for a better product. So, to hold the market they will do what they need to do. This will also make their share holders very happy over the short term. Please check their stock price.

I disagree that apple is ‘harming’ reputation. While they aren’t making many new friends (a least you and some others on this board(, they are still providing an a-one type service with the itunes/ipod combo. When someone offers a similiar product or one that’s ‘close enough’ .. they will lose market share and it will probably look much like their computer business versus the Microsoft business. I suspect that nothing they do will stop this and they really don’t want to try to compete with the Dell’s and walmart’s of the world on slim margins.

And yes, they do make their product more attractive by limiting it to ‘their sandbox’. For now they have a product that people are willing to pay extra for and in some cases other concessions (like buy a Mac Computer).

Bottom line: It is not to Apple’s benefit to allow anyone else to play in their sand box; not even on the fringe. The deal they made with HP is the only one that makes a bit of sense as they will be getting income from HP for using the ipod name and a cent (maybe) on the songs being sold.

I would not be surprised if this costs Real alot in the long run. So I’m not sure how this move benefits their share holders in the long or short term.

Anonymous Coward says:

Right Real screwup!

I think this was a really bad idea by Real, but hey they’ve never been known for good products!

Apple will just release an “upgrade” that will stop this from working (like Yahoo do with IM) and that will lead to disgruntled Real customers, who will then also blame the iPod and give it bad press.

Music suppliers might also not like the fact that their copy-protection has officially been broken now (and unofficially twice before!) and stop support iTunes.

The DMCA will kill them over this I would have thought – they’ve reverse-engineered the copy-protection in Apple’s broken AAC wrapper and then found a way to recreate that protection for their own files – so they have decrypting and encrypting broken now (PlayFair/DeDRMS only got decrypting).

Personally I don’t really give a damn, I won’t buy downloadable music until it is in unprotected Ogg format anyway….

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

I thought I read somewhere that Apple received the bulk of their revenue in the music gadget biz through the iPods and that the iTunes store was just breaking even. Wouldn’t this then be good news, or is Apple just acting offended?

We’ll probably see an under-the-table licensing deal eventually that will start cranking out Fairplay-protected music out of alternate online music stores.

Rajesh (user link) says:

Re: No Subject Given

I can’t fault Apple for trying to protect its advantage; like the previous commentor, I rarely notice any DRM issues with my iPod. That having been said, One obvious reason Apple is challenging this is losing control of the total experience and the threat that tomorrow Real can use this to promote another device and “break” iPod connectivity and experience.
On the other hand Apple should show a little more backbone and let Real go ahead and use it, if nothing to put this anti-Apple issue to rest. After all, when one uses Real and Connect services, they’ll come to realize how much they suck. Apple really shouldn’t sweat it – by far the iTunes experience is far greater than anything else for them to be worried about losing their audience.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: People still aren't getting it.

Have had no problems at all with this. At least the converting the files to an MP3 or Audio CD to play elsewhere. As to playing them on ‘several PCs’ … I don’t own several PCs. 3, one at home, one at work, and one for the road. And again, I haven’t noticed the DRM factor. I know it exists but I have yet to run into it.

Maybe the only folks who run into it are the ones it’s meant to prevent from abusing the downloads ?

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