Friday, March 31, 2006

France vs Apple

There has been a great deal of commotion recently about France having voted to approve the 'music interoperability bill'. The bill intends to force companies, specifically Apple, to open their DRM so others can use it.

If passed, the bill would allow consumers to purchase songs from the iTunes store and play it on any device that implements the Apple DRM.

Note that they're not against DRM per se, they're trying to break the monopoly that Apple has by untying their iTune music store to the iPod.

It's clearly a progressive decision in favour of all consumers.

Unfortunately, Apple will not - can not - play in this game. Their only course of action will be to exit from the French market. Why? It's widely believed that Apple makes very little money from sales from their store; it seems that their business model is built around using cheap sales from the music store to entice people to buy iPods. If you break the tie between the store and iPods their business model fails.

Anyways, here are a few articles explaining the situation:

French lawmakers approve bill to open iPod, iTunes
Apple: French law will result in 'state-sponsored piracy'
French law would have 'minimal' impact on Apple
DRM, for better or worse

It was also discussed on JJJ's hack, available as a podcast from here:

France and iPods

[Thanks to Jeremy for prompting me to blog about this!]

Update: The French bill has been watered down


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