E-Commerce Times Talkback
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Before the year is out, Apple plans to launch a Windows version of its well-received iTunes Music Store. However, iTunes' success thus far -- Apple has sold 10 million songs through the Mac-only version -- has galvanized other sellers of digital music, which are launching Windows-based services at a quick pace with increasingly consumer-friendly usage terms. Will Apple be able to capitalize on its head start, or will it repeat the scenario played out in the 1980s, in which it lost an early lead in the desktop computer OS market to Microsoft?
Just wanted to point out a GLARING ERROR in this Story.
"In a fateful and now-legendary decision, Apple chose not to license its OS to other hardware manufacturers, allowing Microsoft the opportunity to develop a Mac knockoff GUI known as Windows, which now runs on more than 95 percent of all PCs."
That's TOTALLY WRONG! Whenever I seen mention of some "fateful decision" like that, it makes my blood boil. Journalists completely overlook the FACT that PCs of that Vintage were wholly UNABLE to run a Graphical OS, even if Apple DID want to release the MacOS on PC's. They were character-based machines, and simply not able to handle bit-mapped graphics. So there was NO "legendary decision", it was nothing like that... It was simply not possible to bring the MacOS over to that low end of hardware without a lot of extra expense. The jury is still out, we've got 25 years more before you can really declare a winner in the OS race. Both Bill and Steve are not even 50 years old, personal computers still have a LONG WAY to go before any "standard" will be in place...
I am afraid that you are mistaken on this. Apple would never have licensed the Mac OS for PC hardware in the 1980s. Instead, the company could have licensed both the OS and the hardware, and specifically decided not to do so.
You may also be interested to know that it was Bill Gates himself who first worked very hard to get Apple to license the OS. He wanted Microsoft to be able to make money from selling Mac applications. He went so far as to line up potential licenses (Nortel, amongst others, if I remember correctly), but Apple CEO John Sculley effectively ignored those efforts, mainly at the behest of Jean-Louis Gasée.
Be that as it may, Apple did make a conscious decision not to license the Mac OS in the mid-late 1980s.
yes, but your implication was that Apple would have been better off to license the MacOS for use on Intel based machines. There were no graphical based motherboards available in the 80s. Only after years of development was CHRP ready in the middle 90's. I stand by words, Apple did not make a fateful or "now-legendary decision" in NOT encouraging MacOS clones. Apple chose the best path, and we are all enjoying the benefits of such a smart business decision.
Macdrew, I have no idea where you are getting that. I never once said Apple would have been better off licensing the Mac OS for Intel machines in the 1980s.
However, you are still quite wrong about Apple not having made a decision to license the Mac OS (and Mac hardware). It's well documented in Owen Linzmayer's excellent books, The Mac Bathroom Reader and Apple Confidential. This is enormously common knowledge.
The Mac Observer
'"With Apple controlling AAC and FairPlay, it means that the AAC/FairPlay platform itself cannot gain market share from third parties," Chaffin said. "Effectively, that pits Apple against Microsoft and every vendor of online music and MP3 players combined. While Microsoft controls the Windows Media Player platform, the company is also more than willing to license it out."'
Chaffin is completely wrong about who is pushing proprietary technology. Apple is using industry standards and creating open ones where there is none as part of its new direction for the Mac platform.
AAC was developed by the Frauhofer Institute (http://www.iis.fraunhofer.de/index.html) and is part of the MPEG-4 a new open industry standard. AAC is the successor to the MP3. Any company that wants to encode Audio content in AAC format can do so. Fairplay is only one of the available DRM one can use as part of AAC as well. (The encoder can choose not to employ any DRM -- it's not required.) Fraunhofer built AAC to be able to accept any number of DRM software. Apple just happened to pick Fairplay. I'm not familiar with fairplay, but I doubt they (Apple) developed it on their own.
So actually, Microsoft is battling the standards with its proprietary Windows Media format. You can get AAC encoders and players for most popular platforms for free because the standard is open, and accessible to programmers for any platform.
I am afraid you misunderstood my comments. FairPlay is proprietary, and is what drives and controls the iTMS. When it comes to iTMS downloads, the fact that AAC is an open standard and can incorporate other DRM schemes is irrelevant. That is why I specifically called it the AAC/FairPlay platform, and not the AAC platform.
Note, too, that I specifically called AAC an open standard. Because of FairPlay, however, the iTMS is a closed platform (the AAC/FairPlay platform) that is completely controlled by Apple.
In other words, I stand behind my comments as being accurate. Also, note that I wrote some extended comments on the issue in a column yesterday <http://www.macobserver.com/columns/thebackpage/2003/20030929.shtml>.