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Teflon Steve Wearing Thin in Europe



January 24, 2007 – Comments (5)

Interesting to see Europe wake up and smell the real monopoly: Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), iTunes, and the "Fairplay" DRM. The Norwegians hate it. ("Illegal" is the claim.) So, too, their Scandinavian cousins, the Swedes and the Danes. Ooh-la-la, don't forget the French, and now the Germans.


(Remember the days when the European Commission screamed bloody murder about Windows Media Player? Ah, old times.)

Will a new round of hissy-fit pitching help? Will Apple ever open up and play nice with other players? If not, what does that say about Jobs' faith in the power of the iPod?

I think an open iTunes is about as likely as Steve Jobs taking real responsibility for those backdated stock options, which is to say, a big goose egg.

5 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On January 24, 2007 at 3:39 PM, HotAirBaffoon (23.39) wrote:

Wasn't it the French that first did this and then back-pedalled pretty quickly when Jobs said they wouldn't do business there under those conditions?

This won't be any different. Consumers have a choice whether to buy from iTunes or rip their CD's to use their iPods.

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#2) On January 24, 2007 at 3:40 PM, Uruzone (94.25) wrote:

All mentions of Apple having a "monopoly" will henceforth be met with the definition for the term. As one can see, iTunes and FairPlay in no way fit the definition (my comments in parentheses):


exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices. Compare duopoly, oligopoly.

(Apple does not control digital music, and cannot manipulate its price. There are a minimum of a dozen other places to get music, all with their own pricing arrangements)


an exclusive privilege to carry on a business, traffic, or service, granted by a government.

(Apple enjoys no such privilege, certainly not one granted by the government)


the exclusive possession or control of something.

(Wal-Mart, Napster, Microsoft... all offer digital music content. There is no exclusivity in iTunes)


something that is the subject of such control, as a commodity or service.



a company or group that has such control.



the market condition that exists when there is only one seller.

(Here's the clincher. How is Apple the only seller? They are not. Unless you mean they are the only seller of iPods -- just as Ford is the only seller of Mustangs.)


With an initial capital letter: a board game in which a player attempts to gain a monopoly of real estate by advancing around the board and purchasing property, acquiring capital by collecting rent from other players whose pieces land on that property.

(Infinite Loop is not a property you can land on.)

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#3) On January 24, 2007 at 5:17 PM, TMFBent (99.19) wrote:

They have no choice when it comes to using fairly purchased iTunes material. If they choose not to buy iPods anymore, their song purchases are junk.

No one would stand for a distribution system that tied CDs or DVDs to the players sold by only one manufacturer. Why do they stand for it with downloaded media? Only because they haven't fully considered the consequences.

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#4) On January 24, 2007 at 9:01 PM, Uruzone (94.25) wrote:

One of the first rules of debate is to stay on-topic. You declared the topic of this discussion with your opening sentence: "Interesting to see Europe wake up and smell the real monopoly: Apple"

I refuted your position with logic. I have shown you that Apple is not, by any acceptable definition, a monopoly.

I will assume, since you've now chosen to change the topic, that you have accepted my position on your first argument and now agree with me that Apple is not a monopoly.

So, now I will refute your second argument which, as far as I can tell, is that people who buy songs on iTunes don't have a choice of where to play them.

Likewise, people who buy Ford F150 parts can not put them in their Hondas. By your logic, the world should be up in arms over the fact that their Ford parts don't fit in Hondas. A muffler's a muffler, after all.

...which is (primarily) where you're wrong on this particular point.

People know from day one that music purchased on iTunes works with iPods. It's a closed system, (but it is not a monopoly), and this is arguably why it works so well. In turn, the fact it works so well is clearly why the iTunes/iPod combination is BY FAR the runaway first choice in portable music players.

The fact of the matter is, people DO have a choice of what music to buy, where to buy it and how to use it. CDs are still readily available. Napster and WalMart and Sony and many, many others have thrown their hats in the ring as well. The fact that their mufflers aren't as good is only their own fault.

It is not an earmark of a capitalist economic framework that companies which spend their own resources on developing a product or service that becomes wildly popular should then be forced to share the fruits of their labors with their competitors. No, sir. In this country (though perhaps not in France), we require competitors actually to compete.

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#5) On January 25, 2007 at 1:58 AM, TeaLeaves (79.09) wrote:

>>If they choose not to buy iPods anymore, their song purchases are junk.<<

Did you know that any song purchased from the iTunes Store can be transferred to a CD in plain vanilla MP3, sans DRM? It's a minor inconvenience, but you get to keep the music forever and play it on any non-Apple device. Funny how the people who like to get on their high horse and bash Apple over Fairplay conveniently forget about this feature.

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