Blog Post

Law To Make iTunes Compatible With Microsoft?

US legislators are considering a plan that would “outlaw music protected by proprietary digital rights management (DRM) technology, such as Apple’s FairPlay, which stops iTunes downloads being played on Microsoft digital music players and vice versa”. Of course, this isn’t just about Apple finally beating Microsoft in a marketplace, it’s about forcing DRM technology to be interoperable… a big issue in the mobile marketplace.

Napster came to Apple’s defence (surprisingly, since it was forced to hack into Apple’s DRM for its songs to play on the iPod): “It is my belief, and the essential point of my participation today, that marketplace forces will continue to drive innovation in the DRM arena with attendant consumer benefits – new ways to enjoy digital music at a variety of different price points – while also gradually ‘solving’ the interoperability problem,” said William Pence, Napster CTO, telling the subcommittee that the music industry will eventually promote interoperability itself without the need for government intervention.

That’d be great… but it doesn’t look like its coming to pass. The best chance for interoperable DRM standards in the mobile market was derailed when everyone in the industry claimed that the patent holders were charging too much to use the stanards. This has resulted in the GSM Association threatening to look for alternative standards, and the very real possibility that industry players will simply use different (and incompatible) DRM technologies…

Related stories:
Or Are The Carriers Holding Back iPhone?
Mobile Phone Industry to Drive Interoperable Rights Management
How long does music on your mobile last?