Blog Post

Battle For The Soul of the MP3 Phone

Wired magazine’s November issue has a big cover story on what went wrong with Apple iTunes-ROKR phone, with all the issues involved with Apple, operators, handset players and the ilk. Nothing groundbreaking that you wouldn’t know from daily reading, but it does put the blame on Apple, as much as the operators, which is a rarity in media. It says that among the main reasons why the Rokr phone sucks is because Steve Jobs refused to budge on the DRM, insisting on its own FairPlay scheme, which led to all the restrictions.
Anyway, the best para in the story is about how everyone stands to benefit if only…
“The music phone is the kind of innovation that creates treat and opportunity for every outfit that touches it–music labels, carriers, handset makers, Apple. The labels are still struggling to adjust to a world in which music is shipped in bytes instead of boxes; these phones offer a new means of distribution that is equally suited to commerce or P2P. The labels can blindly grasp for short-term gain, or they can use fair pricing and smart marketing to keep file-sharing at bay. The carriers can try to funnel every purchase through their own narrow channels, or they can benefit from the boom in data traffic that music can bring– not just from P2P but from people buying tickets, texting each other at concerts, and in general making like fans. The handset manufacturers have the least to lose, but they could still blow it by slavishly allowing other companies to limit what music phones can do.”
This says it all, really…