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Summary:

Everyone somehow has this belief that they can overtake MySpace. And everyone including senior executives are suffering from equal if not grander delusions that they can bury iPod. Nokia executives are pouting and pointing out that stand alone Mp3 players – lets face it, there really […]

Everyone somehow has this belief that they can overtake MySpace. And everyone including senior executives are suffering from equal if not grander delusions that they can bury iPod. Nokia executives are pouting and pointing out that stand alone Mp3 players – lets face it, there really is one MP3 player, the iPod – are going to go the way of the Dodo.

Oh really! This coming from a company which whose music phones is spotted as sporadically as the Yeti. Or the same company whose Blackberry killer is yet to hit the market. Fact of the matter is that much as I love my Nokia phones – and I love them all, they are long way from killing off iPod.

I tried using N70 for a while as an iPod replacement. It didn’t really work, thanks to cheap headphones. Because of that I ended up with a special adapter, and plugged in Ultimate Ears’ ultra fine 5i headphones. Sounded good, up to the point when I got an incoming call. That nearly made me deaf. So I went back to trusted old Nano – plug and play.


The fact of the matter is that iPod is more than a device or an MP3 player. It is a cultural phenomenon, and that just is something neither you can predict, or bury with mere words. The bar has been set so high, that Nokia (or anyone else) will have to make phones which are not just equal but far superior to iPod to beat Apple.

And if that indeed does happen, you mean to say that Apple is not going to do an iPhone? John Gruber, savvy in the ways of Apple told me that Steve uses RAZR, and he can’t be happy with that. And what Steve doesn’t like, he gets Jonathan Ive to reinvent.

Similarly, I find the French desire to get rid of DRM absolutely ridiculous. It impacts Apple and iPod the most, because of their market share. Wired’s Leander Kahney thinks French decision is a good thing, because there is an iLock-in with iPod and iTunes store. To average joe, that iLock-in means – it just works. The iLock-in is really iConvenience.

Even beyond that, iPod is open – you can upload and play MP3 files on it. No body is forcing anyone to buy music from the iTunes. You can go to Virgin megastore and buy a CD and rip it to load it up on your iPod. Or maybe like their own search engine, French Government can start their own online music store which sells Mp3 files. I think by forcing (mostly) Apple to change its business practices is much like forcing famous French chefs to reveal their recipes or asking wine makers to post their wine making secretson the Internet.

Apple should simply withdraw from France. Oh wait, they already did. They moved their European head quarters to London, right behind the fabulous Apple store. Now French fashionistas will drop their francs on iPods in London or New York. …. visualize….Steve Jobs doing a very French shrug!

  1. Yes, a Gallic shrug would be La Mère of all bitch-slaps, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving government.

    Is it wrong for me to really, really want this to happen? (rhetorical question)

    Oh please oh please oh please oh please!!!!

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  2. Whoops — darn thing screwtified my accent ague. Make that “La Mere”.

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  3. “The iLock-in is really iConvenience”

    Om, why is this true? What’s the convenience? Apple already has a licensing scheme for hardware that’s compatible with iPod. Why can this not be extended to software? Had Apple not been so hardball about the lock in, refusing Real’s request to license FairPlay, I doubt this issue would ever have come up.

    “No body is forcing anyone to buy music from the iTunes”

    Nobody was forcing anyone to buy Windows either, but that didn’t mean Microsoft didn’t have a monopoly.

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  4. Marcelo Lopez Thursday, March 23, 2006

    No one’s forcing you to buy Windows ? When was the last time you were able to get your money back for the preloaded Windows on the PC you juse purchased ? How often do you see “Linux” as an option for pre-installed OS’s from the Dell’s, Gateways, and HP’s of the world.

    I have the answer for you: NOT BLOODY OFTEN.

    Now as for the “iLockin”. Are you insane. You can ask for your online library to be stored to MP3 locally. Which can then be dragged and dropped ( or are you too lazy to resort to that ), to whatever digital content manager your “other” MP3 player supports. I’ve done it. I’ve used this same exact mechanism to move files from my iTunes library to my Rio Forge mini-MP3 player. It works. Maybe the iTunes program doesn’t “integrate” with the other player, but so what. Why should it HAVE to ? iTunes was made for iPOD, not the other way around, don’t get your brain whirled up into a tizzy trying to make sense of that. Software is ALWAYS made to support Hardware. As far back as there has existed “BIG IRON” ( one among many names for computers like IBM’s S360 ), software has existed for making the hardware useful. Only since the dawn of the “PC Era” has the notion that we make software for it’s own sake.

    I’m as much for “fair use” backup of my digital content ( and since I paid for it, I DO consider it MINE. ). But, what the French government is proposing is, oh hell I’ll just quote OM…RIDICULOUS. This, coming from a government that screws over the young people entering the work force from college. 2 year probationary period without recourse if you’re fired with no reason given ? Get real.

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  5. I kind of agree that standalone mp3 players are going to be a thing of the past in the next few years. I think more and more customers are going to want players capable of video, some kind of wireless access and possibly dvb/OTA hdtv tuner built in and a decent screen (touch screen).
    I just got a Nokia N770 (discounted at the IETF :-) ) and couldnt be happier. This thing packs a gorgeous 800×480 4.1″ screen with 802.11 b/g and bluetooth with a touch screen interface. It has the regular assortment of utilities
    and IM clients, opera/firefox derived browser. No VoIP client yet but that is going to be addressed pretty soon.
    I now use this mostly for all my music and videos and yes it has the standard 3.5 mm stereo adapter.
    I think nokia missed a beat here by not including a built in hdd.
    Of course this doesnt preclude apple from doing something similar.

    Nokia if you are listening i would like one with a OTA hdtv tuner and a 20gig hdd for xmas :-).

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  6. Getting rid of DRM on CDS and DVS that restrict a user from making a backup copy or transferring the data to a laptop hardrive or iPod for later viewing/listening should be encouraged from the consumer’s view point. Why is everybody making this look like a predominately anti-iTunes law?

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  7. A big “What If”… but what if (say) a Nokia phone enabled p2p sharing of music (and other data) — be it off of a mobile BitTorrent application and/or a bluetooth capacity?

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  8. I can’t see anything that indicates that the French government want to get rid of DRM. The law that was passed, as I understand, simply calls for the ability to play DRMed files on any target hardware capable of playing a digital music file. In other words, that means licensing FairPlay to other hardware makers, so that, some years down the line when your iPod has gone and you decided to move to AN Other make, you can still play what you paid for. I didn’t realise that was so unreasonable.

    I also doubt that licensing out will stop iPods being iConvenient – unless there is something in the FairPlay code that does very strange things.

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  9. The French Gov’t can go to hell. Shut iTunes down and let those morons deal with another riot!

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  10. Om, just wanted to say that this judgement of yours seems pretty funny seen from France. Do you know anything about the french market? iTunes and iPod are not as dominant as in the States, and the generic portable mp3 player was not killed by the iPod (actually, they don’t sell so much iPod device here…).

    I was amazed to read all those articles and viewpoints about the DADVSI law and Apple. WTF? Nothing in the law was specifically about Apple. They barely mentioned Apple in the tens of hours of the debate (and I’ve watched most of it…).

    Anyway, this is not about Apple. It’s more about interoperability. It’s not at all about the iPod (which plays mp3, an industry standard), but it IS about iTunes Music Store (35% of the French market?) which sells music with FairPlay DRM, and about VirginMega.fr and FnacMusic.fr and all the other ones which sell music with WMA DRM. So, in terms of market share, it’s more about Microsoft than about Apple.

    Last funny thing about all this ruckus: this interoperability amendment (no, it’s not about the French Gvt either, since the minister was against this one) is maybe the only positive (albeit “idealistic”) feature in an overall crappy and dangerous law. Why aren’t you discussing the effects of all those other features on free software, legal security of software development as a whole, intellectual property rights, private copy, p2p and fair use, etc.?

    PS. I don’t care about Apple shutting down the french iTunes Music Store because they don’t wont to allow other software or devices to play their FairPlay AAC. Why would I want to buy DRM-stricken low quality music files when I can buy a CD for roughly the same price on amazon, then have a CD (no need to backup), and can rip it to mp3, ogg vorbis or flac?

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