Monday, May 01, 2006

Golden Handcuffs to the Golden Apple?

Am I locked into Apple for ever?

The DRM (Digital Rights Management, or Digital Restriction Management as some might call it) software that quite rightly prevents me sharing my songs freely with others on the internet also prevents me shifting my songs onto any device other than an Apple iPod.

So if - no, make that when - my iPod Nano breaks or lags so behind in features that I want to fork out to make a technology leap, I can only choose from Apple catalogue of devices. My collection of music won't play on any other manufacturer's device.

In France, a change to the law - and perhaps challenge and clarification in the French courts - will either force Apple to open up its store and DRM to others, or more likely force Apple to shut down its French iTunes store and abandon that market.

Now I'm a fan of Apple's design and innovation over the last 30 years - though they've always been on the edge of patent and proprietary issues. And I haven't purchased very many songs or videos from iTunes, so I've only a small financial investment (and a slightly larger time investment feeding CDs into my PC to be ripped) at risk.

But I'm still getting a little worried about being locked in. Maybe it'll not be long until Apple chooses not to go bad, but instead voluntarily softens its position and offers licences to others.

(Posted from a handheld device - so no pictures of embedded URLs.)

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