Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 24th Jul 2009 22:52 UTC
Editorial Every few years we geeks have our own kind of popcorn show to watch: tech companies showing teeth to one another. This time around, it's Palm vs Apple. In all seriousness though, how ethical is the battle around iTunes?
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RE: Comment by D3M0N
by Eugenia on Sat 25th Jul 2009 01:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by D3M0N"
Eugenia
Member since:
2005-06-28

Hah!

Tell that to Microsoft who had to ENDURE all these years of court-dragging about IE! If Apple (which already has a monopoly with iPods/iTunes in the US btw) is to be allowed to do "whatever they please" with their products, then Microsoft should have NEVER be tried about IE neither in the US or in Europe.

But as you can see, people wouldn't let MS to do whatever it pleased. Why should we let Apple?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N
by NathanHill on Sat 25th Jul 2009 03:58 in reply to "RE: Comment by D3M0N"
NathanHill Member since:
2006-10-06

Hah!

Tell that to Microsoft who had to ENDURE all these years of court-dragging about IE! If Apple (which already has a monopoly with iPods/iTunes in the US btw) is to be allowed to do "whatever they please" with their products, then Microsoft should have NEVER be tried about IE neither in the US or in Europe.

But as you can see, people wouldn't let MS to do whatever it pleased. Why should we let Apple?


I don't think Apple has a monopoly with iTunes/iPods. They have the largest marketshare, sure - but I haven't ready anywhere about iTunes preventing Amazon MP3 downloads (or other downloads) from working. Or Apple trying to push mp3 startups out of business. Or iTunes not allowing third parties to access and sync data from iTunes with a standard spec.

There is very little case for Apple being a monopoly. Are they a juggernaut in the online music download business? Are they the main player? Yes. Would we all like to see more variety and more competition? Sure. But Apple is hardly a monopoly.

One might make a case about music prices, since Apple smartly tried to standardize them around .99 a track. They might be throttling the marketplace in that way, but it's probably a good throttle cause I don't want to spend $20 for an album download like I used to spend on a CD.

I am glad that Apple/AT&T and other integrations/contracts will be explored, because I don't like it either. But you know, I will buy from any music download store that offers great selection, integrated access with iTunes, and good prices. Amazon has actually been edging out iTunes in some of those area lately. That's good, and I hope it keeps going. Amazon just needs to make its website better looking IMO.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by D3M0N
by renox on Sun 26th Jul 2009 09:28 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Your definition of a monopoly is incorrect by the same token one could argue that Microsoft has no monopoly because everyone can create an alternative OS.

In my view, Apple has a monopoly on song player device (iPod) and on song digital purchase (iTune), which is fine in itself but which create restriction on what they can do or not do: preventing other song player device to access iTune would be fine if they didn't have a monopole but as they one, it's illegal IMHO.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by D3M0N
by Kenfegore on Mon 27th Jul 2009 00:02 in reply to "RE: Comment by D3M0N"
Kenfegore Member since:
2009-07-20

I find it very worrying that people who write about these issues either never bother to read on the court action that was instigated against Microsoft nor actually inform themselves what anti-trust law is actually about.

Firstly some people think that Apple is a monopoly in certain markets, which is not at all the case. A monopoly only exists if there are no other sellers in a market and that is patently not true for Apple in either the phone, even smart phone sector, the mp3 player sector, or the computing sector.

So people say instead that Apple is dominant in the mp3 player sector. Then the misapprehension is made that market dominance alone would constitute a breach of anti-trust regulation. If you look at the guidance for example of the EU (http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/art82/guidance_en.pdf) you will find that dominance itself is not at all regarded as a misdemeanour, in fact, market dominance that is based on innovation and quality is regarded as a boon for the market.

What you are not allowed to do is to abuse your power in the market. Apple surely allow competing software to use the iTunes xml files to supply sync services, playlist import etc. The iTunes shop is open to all customer who can then move their purchases to whatever device they wish to move it to.

What worries me most thou is that writers in the tech sector simply forget what the Microsoft court judgement was all about.
The findings of fact of the court, which were never overturned despite an appeal, were that "Microsoft had taken actions to crush threats to their monopoly, including Apple, Java, Netscape, Lotus Notes, Real Networks, Linux, and others." During the case it was revealed that "Microsoft had threatened PC manufacturers with revoking their license to distribute Windows if they removed the Internet Explorer icon from the initial desktop". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft)

Apple is allowing third parties access to iTunes, but it would be a travesty if competitors were allowed to leech by faking to be iPods. That in fact, would diminish innovation in the market because it would no longer be worth it to invest in R&D, all you needed to do was to produce fake product IDs.

Palm had enough time while they were dominating the smart phone and PDA markets to develop their own media integration. They chose not to do so and now they are trying to play the underdog card to get gullible blog writers on their side... and their own customers are suffering from it.

Reply Parent Score: 0

Kenfegore Member since:
2009-07-20

The helpfiles at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1660
make it quite clear and easy to get access to the iTunes playlists, no licensing required:

-----begin quote http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1660 -----
Summary
The iTunes library is a database iTunes uses to organize your music. Two iTunes library files are created and maintained by iTunes for different purposes. They're both in the iTunes folder.
...
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml

Microsoft Windows
\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl
\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music Library.xml
...

iTunes Music Library.xml

This file contains some (but not all) of the same information stored in the iTunes Library file. The purpose of the iTunes Music Library.xml file is to make your music and playlists available to other applications on your computer.

-----end of quote http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1660-----

Now, if you read this, and work for Palm, take this information to anyone in your company who has heard of xml and write your own sync application please, your shareholders and customers are waiting!

Reply Parent Score: 1