City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Apple and openness

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The Economist on the Real Networks new service – Harmony – to enable iPods to play downloaded music from multiple online sources. And the challenge to Steve Jobs and Apple at this point – how open are Apple? Which direction to go?

"His cold shoulder to Mr Glaser [boss of Real] suggests that Mr Jobs [boss of Apple] is reluctant to make Apple’s technology—its music format and copyright coding—an open standard. A proprietary strategy will be the most lucrative one if Apple can stay dominant (as Microsoft has with Windows), but runs the risk that rivals will topple it. Apple’s old nemesis, Microsoft, is gearing up to do just that, with its own music service and copyright technology, code-named Janus, due out this autumn. For consumers, moreover, closed formats are inconvenient. Everybody who once bought records, only to buy the same music again on CD, will be wary of buying online without knowing that what is bought can play anywhere."

The Economist: A big week for Apple [sub. reqd. for now]


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