Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Creative Anti-Trust Tactics

Apple has gotten itself out of joint as a result of a proposed French law to legalize circumvention of DRM technology to allow music to be played on competing music players. Apple claims that the French government is encouring piracy just when legalized downloads were starting to take hold, but what they're really upset about is that the gov't is going after Apple's cozy little monopoly on downloaded music and the pricy iPods that are the only devices that can play it.

Microsoft has been relatively quiet on this issue. On one hand, I'm sure they're happy to see their competitor taken down a notch, but at the end of the day, they don't really disagree with Apple's business strategy, only with who gets to control the music revenue.

It's unclear if this will have any significant effect. So far the most likely result is that Apple will shut down the French iTunes music store, rather than comply with demands. Tying cool software and services to overpriced (but stylish) hardware has been Apple's business model for the last decade, and I don't think the French will convince them to give it up.

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