Steve Jobs to DRM critics: back off, or abolish DRMs!

Steve Jobs: Thoughts on MusicApple has increasingly come under fire in regard to how the company uses its FairPlay DRM (digital rights management = media copy protection) to lock its iTunes customers in to using iPod devices, and vice versa. Music companies see Apple’s music download dominance as a threat and want to see more competition in this market, and European countries, like Norway, Germany and France, are pushing to make the perceived DRM lock-in illegal.

Well, today Steve Jobs fired back with Thoughts on Music: Steve Jobs, published on the Apple web site.

According to Steve Jobs, there are three alternatives in regard to the DRM issue:

  • First alternative: Continue the current course
  • Second alternative: Apple to license its FairPlay DRM to third parties
  • Third alternative: Abolish DRMs entirely

He then details why only the first and third alternatives are actually viable:


February 7th, 2007 | Add a comment
Sections: Services, Devices
Tags: drm, iPhone, iPod, iTunes, music

2010: Apple larger than Microsoft?

We are not talking about an Arthur C. Clark space odyssey, but could it be that Apple has a shot at outgrowing Microsoft within the next 5 years?

Both Microsoft and Apple have seen healthy revenue growth in the last 5 years. Microsoft’s revenues have grown approximately 60% from just under $30B in 2002 to over $44B in 2006. However, while Microsoft has grown linearly for this period, Apple has accelerated with revenues of just under $6B in 2002 growing to just under $21B in 2006. An impressive 250% revenue growth! In other words, Apple has been growing much faster than Microsoft.

The graph below shows the quarterly earnings for the companies between 2002 and 2006:



January 28th, 2007 | 53 comments
Sections: Services, Devices
Tags: Apple, Microsoft

Mobile Sex Appeal

We all love gadgets, and our mobile phones are no exception. Phones are often sold more on industrial design than they are on features. (Compare with the iPod, not the most feature rich media player.) So, how do Telecom NZ and Vodafone NZ stack up in gadget sex appeal for their mobile phone lineups? You be the judge:

Telecom NZ vs. Vodafone NZ Music Phones


November 8th, 2006 | 7 comments
Sections: Devices, New Zealand
Tags: 3G, Mobile, Nokia, SonyEricsson, Telecom NZ, Vodafone

Xbox Live Video, the media war is on!

Xbox Live Video Microsoft has just announced that they are launching Xbox Live Video on November 22nd, the first anniversary of the Xbox 360. The service will initially offer 1000 hours of TV and movie downloads from CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS Inc.), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. The TV shows will be available for purchase and movies for rental in both standard and high definition (HD) formats. Microsoft has not yet announced the pricing.

Microsoft is now heads on with Apple, with its upcoming iTV device, in the fight for the dominance of the TV and movie download space. They will also be the first company to offer HD downloads.


November 7th, 2006 | Add a comment
Sections: Services, Devices
Tags: Apple, IPTV, iTV, Movie downloads, XBOX

Happy 5th Birthday iPod!

Video iPod It is the Apple iPod’s 5th birthday today. Steve Jobs announced the first generation iPod on the 23rd of October 2001. Then it was a Mac only device with 5GB of hard disk storage. Since then Apple has shipped around 70 million iPods.

We are wondering if Apple will actually celebrate the birthday by launching the much anticipated true video iPod today (US time). The signs seems to be there, they dropped the price of the current lineup in September and the timing would be right to take the air out of Microsoft’s Zune launch slated for 14th of November.

October 23rd, 2006 | Add a comment
Sections: Devices
Tags: Apple, iPod, Microsoft, Zune

Apple filing for iPhone trademarks worldwide

iPhone trademark One of the most persistent Apple rumours is that the company will release a mobile phone, often referred to as the iPhone. Indeed, AppleInsider today reported that Apple has filed for a trademark for the term iPhone with a “far easter trademark office”. Well, we did a bit of research, and it appears that Apple has either received, or is filing for, trademarks for iPhone in a large number of countries worldwide.

Let’s start out with the easy ones:

  • Australia Trademark for iPhone granted 8 December, 2004. Applied for: 17 October, 2002.
  • Canada Trademark for iPhone applied for 14 October, 2004.
  • European Union Trademark for iPhone applied for 21 October, 2002.
  • New Zealand Trademark for iPhone applied for 16 September, 2006.
  • Singapore Trademark for iPhone granted 10 June, 2003. Applied for 18 October, 2002.
  • United Kingdom Trademark for iPhone granted 17 April, 2006. Applied for 21 October, 2002.

(Note: the links point to the patent and trademark office in the respective countries. A search for iPhone reveals the Apple trademark applications.)


October 17th, 2006 | 14 comments
Sections: Devices
Tags: Apple, iPhone, iPod, Music players

Zune: the iPod-killer killer

Microsoft unveiled their Zune digital media player today. It seems that every new portable music player launched since the original iPod was introduced in 2001 has been hailed as the next iPod killer by the media. So, is the Zune finally the iPod killer that everyone has been waiting for? Well, it is pretty obvious that it is not. The iPod has been around for 5 years now, and Apple has achieved an astounding 75% market share (in the US). For Microsoft to make any significant inroads on Apple’s dominance, they need to think outside-of-the-box and to disrupt the market. The Zune, essentially a 5G iPod clone, is very much inside-of-the-box. The only unique aspect of the Zune is the WiFi based music sharing feature.

In other words, we do not think that the Zune is an iPod killer. Instead, we think the Zune will be an iPod-killer killer. Confused? Keep on reading…


September 15th, 2006 | 1 comment
Sections: Services, Devices
Tags: Apple, Creative, Microsoft, Music players, steve jobs, Zune