iPod – “Closed Platform”

A correspondent named Joshua forwarded me this link to a discussion about Microsoft asking Apple to “open the iPod”. The most striking thing about this discussion is that most of the people really have no idea what they are talking about, and don’t understand what open and closed mean (I mean, it is a forum of Windows users …) They seem to think that because the iPod doesn’t support WMA with Microsoft DRM, it is closed. If the only way you could get music on an iPod was to buy it from the Apple music store, that would be a closed platform. This is the nonsense Gemstar pulled with the Rocket eBook which completely killed the business – that was a closed platform. When you can load up an iPod with your own music in the (at present) most popular compressed audio format in the world, it isn’t closed. That’s it.

Open does not mean “supports all audio formats”, it means “able to put things on there not purchased from Apple”. You can do that. The fact that Real or Microsoft can’t sell music in their proprietary format with their proprietary DRM on it and have it work on an iPod doesn’t make it closed. Should that support be there, it wouldn’t make the iPod any more “open”, it would just have broader support for proprietary formats. Microsoft or Real want to be on the iPod, let them sell music without DRM, ala Magnatune. Otherwise, let them come up with their own device and own store and own user experience. If they think it is so fricking easy to make one that will explode at the same rate as the iPod, then they should just do it, compete in this game and win.

Published by


Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

One thought on “iPod – “Closed Platform””

  1. john Carlos says:

    Totally agree and people are also thinking that the batteries are going to die and make people leave apple forever. I don’t know about that people are mad that apple makes products that do what they say that they do. Apple TV may not be the “Best” apple creation but it is a step forward to the future when people download the shows they want and watch it whenever they want your not going to have to have cable to watch Rome or anything else you want to see. Microsoft is right they have a very good product that does a similar thing to Apple TV and that is the XBOX 360. This is nothing more than envy of Apple and all that they claim, which makes the other media and computer companies jealous. I do think Microsoft is starting to see that people like functionality and style (Bravo on Vista but still so far away from OSX, sorry its true it true it’s damn true).

Comments are closed.