I own an iPod.
Actually, I paid for it. I have never felt like I own it. It has a life of its own. It's something of a snob when it comes to playing nice with everything else I own. It looks down up on me and my software.
And the attitude is somewhat an embodiment of its maker. Apple is absolutely capable of making a device that is simple to its inner core. The layers of obfuscation and intrigue that they bury the workings of it is intentional and not in my interest. To use SQLite and then hash72/hash58 to prevent you from reading it, it is as blatant as it gets to a smoking gun.
The reasons are rather obvious. Apple wants people to use iTunes and eventually click on one of those "Buy Now" links in it. Now, to ensure that I (as an iPod "user") uses iTunes, they don't have any scruples about twisting my arm.
And the pain will go away the moment I use Apple iSomething. Everything would work and it would be nirvana. It is not my fault that it is painful for me to use an iPod without using the rest of the apple cult-products. Stop bullshitting me about that. I know what's causing this pain.
Apple wanted me inconvenienced. It was intentional on their part.
I'm not even asking for them to build a simpler device. I'm just angry at them for intentionally breaking their already undocumented interfaces with every generation of the iPod. I'm not angry at them for not making a linux iTunes. I'm angry at them for springing a surprise every release and hanging onto the file layout specs as if it was their Hello Kitty diary. I'm angry at them because they don't care about me or my money. There are enough dollars to be made with people with iTunes & its Click-to-Buy convenience.
Last of all, I'm angry with myself. I'm angry about paying Apple good money to sell me something that they are going to use as a lever on my choices at other things. I'm angry about giving them more money to screw someone else over, come the next gen of the iWhatEver.
Indeed, one bite of that poisoned apple ...--
Happy is he who has the pure truth in him.
He will regret no sacrifice that keeps it.
You've got to hand it to Steve Jobs. Moves he in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. I've ranked him as a master of mystery and hype for years, but never realizing what other depths of talent he might posses. I'm still digesting the lessons I learned off Machiavelli's classics (Art of War, lies at my desk, bookmark a few pages in), but it doesn't take a genius to marvel at the Machiavellian motions of this spin doctor.
Let's get our facts straight first. Steve Jobs is the CEO of one Apple "fruit company" Inc. His company makes and sells the iPod, which nearly monopolizes the digital audio player market. Now, in a very loose-laced attempt to follow the Gillette Razor Blade approach to customers, they have a nice little store which sells songs to any customer who might wish buy them.
Now, to curb piracy and pacify the rabid record industry watch-dogs (popularly known as the MAFIAA), Apple introduced a DRM solution named FairPlay. The system works and is lenient enough to keep people from breaking it accidentally, which lets the average joe ignore the fact that it exists. The iTunes Music Store however, has protections clauses in its contracts with the recording industry, which render the contract null & void if the DRM is broken and Apple can't fix it within a specified period (a fortnight).
So, as of date, iTMS cannot sell songs which would play on one of my MP3 players. Nor, can they relicense their FairPlay codecs to other vendors - because they are liable for all disclosures - accidental or not. So let us sprinkle some iMagic sparkles and see what happens.
The Pledge: Steve Jobs goes out there and proclaims - I wish for a world without DRM - really, that's what most reports about his open letter convey. Now, why would a man who has benifited the most from the status quo advocate such a step which might break his own monopoly ? The cynic in me, suggests - because he could profit more and in the short term, too. But selling un-DRM'd songs to users of other mp3 players doesn't look like something worth risking your credibility, like this - especially not when the iPod is the king.
The Turn: The Music Industry will NOT say yes. Warner music has already said that Mr Jobs' proposal is "without logic and merit". It would be idiotic of His Steveness to assume the industry would suddenly develop a conscience overnight. But they too want iTunes to sell more songs, even to people who don't have iPods - as it turns out this thought was spelled out in the open letter - because that's what Steve really wants too. Mysteriously, suddenly all the executives smell money in the air and they want it !
The Prestige: The open letter details another alternative - licensing FairPlay to current and future competitors, which isn't technically impossible but rendered practically impossible due to the protection clauses in the contracts with the music publishers. Having led their greed to this obvious alternative, when they suggest it (as their choice) I suspect Apple is about to ask them to rewrite that bit of the contract.
If Steve Jobs had asked the MAFIAA to reconsider their contracts in January, they'd have definitely smiled (like the smile that follows seals and has a fin attached) and asked for a cut off every iPod sold. But February is much warmer for Apple - where they are in a win-win situation. If the industry doesn't let Apple go drm-less (a near impossibility, that) - Apple come crying back to us, "They never let us have any fun !". If they rewrite the contract, letting Apple hawk their DRM, more money for Steve - oh, much much much more money than the extra DRM-free iTMS purchases would fetch. And just in case, they manage to go DRM-free, they'll have a new crowd knocking at their door - not to mention all the kudos for fighting those evil corporations for our rights.
All those options are good for Apple - but for anybody who buys from iTMS, only the last option is any good - Apple: 3, you: 1. But you've got to appreciate style, precision and direction of this so called "attack on DRM". After all, a best defence is a good offence.
Some lesson in negotiation that, woohoo. *But* - if it was that transparent to me - could it still work with RIAA ?--
"No" is often the first word in every negotiation.