Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Steve Jobs goes directly to the people

An interesting item appeared on the Apple website today.

It's a piece written (supposedly) by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, called simply "Thoughts on Music."

In it, Jobs responds to recent suggestions, primarily from some European countries, notably Norway, that Apple needs to get rid of the DRM (digital rights management) software that it puts on all the music you buy through Apple's on-line ITunes store. The DRM means that purchased music can only be played on Apple's Ipod music players.

This post today is an interesting way for Jobs to get his message out, without any media filters. He doesn't do a lot of interviews and Apple is notorious for clamping down on any unauthorized messages. And since the company doesn't have any official blogs, their website is their chosen medium.

What's especially interesting is that Jobs says that Apple will sell DRM-free music immediately, if the record companies will agree to it.

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

We'll need to watch this one develop. Somehow I doubt the record companies will accept his offer.

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