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Michael Robertson Ways in on Steve Jobs Anti-DRM Piece

I was wondering when Golden Boy Michael Robertson was going to weigh in on the Steve Jobs “Drop DRM” article. And weigh in he did. Here are the key points he makes:

  • The 30% of the iTunes catalog that doesn’t come from the big-4 music companies? Sell them without DRM. Yeah, that’s a good idea. Do it with the video too. A while ago, I had picked up a free Battlestar Galactica thing on iTunes. Why does something you are giving away NEED DRM on it?
  • Microsoft licenses PlaysForSure. Why can’t Apple? Apple and Microsoft have taken completely different approaches here. PlaysForSure is fairly ornerous, Apple’s DRM a bit less so. My guess is that the terms that Apple had to agree to in order to get their less onerous DRM are very different than what Microsoft had to agree to. At least that’s what Steve is suggesting. We’ll never know for sure, of course…
  • Mix and Match computer software, retail options, media players, etc. This is going one step beyond removing the DRM, let’s make it possible for any computer, any media player, any music store, and any media manager software to interoperate. While I agree that would be nice for the consumer, it’s probably not going to happen. Apple’s entire value proposition is that they provide an entire soup-to-nuts environment for purchasing and consuming audio and video content. Nothing is stopping anyone else from doing the exact same thing Apple did.
  • Make iTunes for Linux. While there is no version that actually runs natively on Linux, the folks at Codeweavers have supported a version of iTunes in their Crossover Linux product for about two years now. Granted, it would do much better with a native Linux port. Of course, once they go DRM-free, they could easily do away with requiring that iTunes be used to purchase content from the iTunes Store. That way, anything could purchase content from iTunes and play it in whatever media player their computer has.

What do you think about all this? Leave your feedback in the comments below.


C-List #Cybersecurity Celebrity, Podcaster, #noagenda Producer, Frequenter of shiny metal tubes, Expressor of personal opinions, and of course, a coffee achiever.