Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where's the beef?

Apple released a new version of iTunes today. One of it's "features" is to disable syncing between iTunes and the Palm Pre. As usual, there were immediate cries of "foul" from the haters over this perceived anti-trust violation.

Back when iTunes music was locked up with DRM, I would probably have agreed. But all of the music in the iTunes Music Store is now unencrypted AAC. There's no real tie-in between the store and the iPod, at least when it comes to music (we can continue to argue over the DRM encrusted movies and TV shows). But Apple doesn't really have anything like a monopoly in video content - certainly nothing like the market leadership they have in the music arena.

Put a bit more overtly, there's nothing at all preventing anyone from buying any track they want from the store and importing it into their Pre. Even if the Pre doesn't play AAC audio files (which I can't imagine it wouldn't be able to do), iTunes can happily convert them to MP3.

It says something about the Pre folks that they would rather try and make their device work with iTunes than design their own music management interface. Heck, their device manager could just read the iTunes music directory structure and suck the music out of it if they wanted to. But writing sync software is hard, gosh darn it, and emulating an iPod to leverage the hard work your competitor has done for nearly a decade, well, that's a lot easier. Or, at least, it was.

No comments: