Martin @ Blog

software development and life.


Open letter of Steve Jobs on DRM

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, has posted an open letter on the site of its company. In the letter he claims that Apple will embrace DRM-free music if content providers will allow this. It is quite interesting, regarding the fact that Apple in fact made DRM-protected music popular by means of its iTunes Music Store. On the other hand, it takes some courage to state in public that he, as CEO of the largest online music store, thinks it would be better if digital music is available unprotected. Microsoft clearly doesn’t have this courage, regarding the fact that DRM is a very important part of Windows Vista and even makes it easier for record companies to keep using DRM, because it is harder to circumvent the protection and the common public is made ‘familiar’ with the concept. But Microsoft now has a fairly minimal market-share in digital music, while Apple hasn’t. The open letter of Jobs could also be seen as a publicity stunt (the publicity is obvious of importance in this case), because the critical part of the consumers (a part of the so-called ‘early adopters’ and people standing for ‘free information’), are loudly protesting against DRM. DRM-protected downloads is not the success some companies probably hoped, and it clearly is not a protection against piracy (as I pointed out earlier, and Steve Jobs also mentions in his letter). Because DRM-protected music is not popular, some companies are experimenting with unprotected music. This way, the music companies were the first a small step to make unprotected distribution of music, and it seems that Jobs sees this as a change to push the companies a little further. If he succeeds, he obviously gains more popularity amongst people who are against DRM….

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