In This Issue: 1. Editor's Note: Apple: Bully For You? 2. Today's Top Story - Feds Want AT&T Class-Action Spy Suit Dismissed Related Stories: - Microsoft, California Government Agencies Settle Antitrust Case - RIM Co-CEO Says Visto Litigation 'Brazen Strategy' 3. Breaking News - Firefox Updated With Critical Security Fix - Apple Woos PC Users With Latest Ads - New IM Worm Operates Differently - Most Companies Fail To Plan For Supply-Chain Disruption: Study - Gartner: Don't Expect Vista Until 2Q 2007 - ISO Approves OpenDocument Format - Borland To Cut Staff By 20% - Microsoft To Replace Counterfeit Office - Microsoft Research Probes Future Technologies - 5 Technologies You Need To Know About - Oracle Unwraps RFID Edge Server Upgrades 4. Grab Bag - The Battle For The Box (The New York Times - reg. required) - The Microsoft Malaise (Marketwatch.com) - The Best Of The Worst (WSJ.com) 5. In Depth: Net Neutrality - U.S. Finance Companies May Throw Their Clout Behind 'Net Neutrality' - Net Neutrality Amendment Dies, Supporters Continue Battle - Net Neutrality Debate Heats Up 6. Voice Of Authority - Sun's R&D Chief Gets Out His Magnifying Glass 7. White Papers - Get Off The EDI VAN—Without Re-Engineering Your Business 8. Get More Out Of InformationWeek 9. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription
For iTunes fanatics, this is a mixed blessing. The good news, of course, is that the cost of individual music downloads remains affordable. The bad news is that Apple's much-loathed proprietary digital rights management scheme will remain firmly in place. Mixing his metaphors but nonetheless capturing the spirit of what has transpired, Ted Schadler at Forrester Research was quoted as saying, "Apple has all the cards, and when you have all the cards, you can play hardball."
With 45 million iPods sold and iTunes representing more than 80% of the digital downloads sold in the United States alone, Apple is now the 800-pound gorilla in the digital music world. Tim Lee of Techliberation argues that the music industry created a monster when it demanded a strong DRM system for iTunes music. Because it locks music lovers into Apple's proprietary platform, Apple may soon be able to bypass the record labels completely and cut deals with artists themselves.
But is Apple shooting itself in the foot by maintaining its proprietary standards? "We've seen this movie before," says Michael Robertson, founder of MP3tunes, which provides individuals with a "personal music locker" with online storage that works within iTunes. Robertson was referring to the fact that a company that has created an industry often gets sidelined to a bit part in that very market. Indeed, Apple doesn't have to look far for an example of this. But "it's just not in [Jobs'] DNA" to open up, says Robertson. It's therefore inevitable that other device makers will eventually catch up, and other services will deliver cheaper, easier-to-use, or flashier functionality. As a case in point, Napster unveiled a free, advertising-supported Internet music service just this week.
Others argue whether the flat download fee is really as good for consumers as it seems on the surface. As Reuters points out in an investment note, the scheme the record labels favored--charging more for more popular songs--might in the long run have been better for music buyers. After all, 45% of all music is purchased by people 35 and older. As they're arguably interested in buying songs from the back catalogue, in the long run they may end up paying more per download at the $.99 rate than if they'd been offered discounts for the older, less popular tunes.
This discussion is obviously not over yet, and more music models will inevitably make their mark.
What do you think? Please let me know at my blog entry.
Feds Want AT&T Class-Action Spy Suit Dismissed The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a class-action lawsuit in California in January, accusing AT&T of cooperating with a government surveillance program. The U.S. Department of Justice responded with a notice stating that it plans to intervene to protect military and state secrets privilege, as well as request the lawsuit's dismissal.
Apple Woos PC Users With Latest Ads Without actually mentioning Windows, the video ads make their message clear: The Mac is better at networking, avoiding viruses and crashes, and running so-called lifestyle applications like watching and editing video.
New IM Worm Operates Differently A new worm spreads via instant messaging, plants a bot on hijacked PCs—and does it all in a way that's difficult, if not impossible, to track.
Borland To Cut Staff By 20% Most of the 300 layoffs will come from a restructuring of Borland's international operations, the company said.
Microsoft To Replace Counterfeit Office The company will offer free replacement copies of its Office application suite for people whose versions were tagged as counterfeit—if they can prove they bought the bundle with the best intentions.
Oracle Unwraps RFID Edge Server Upgrades Oracle Sensor Edge Server, an important piece in Oracle Fusion Middleware 10g, lets companies integrate a variety of products from existing IT infrastructures with RFID and sensor networks.
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4. Grab Bag: News You Need From Around The Web
The Battle For The Box (The New York Times - reg. required) The latest salvo in the war between Microsoft and Google centers around the search box in the latest beta of the Internet Explorer browser. This editorial argues for a fair fight between equals to ensure healthy competition for the market.
Net Neutrality Debate Heats Up A House of Representatives task force is holding a hearing Tuesday on whether the Internet should operate like a utility, with equal service, or whether providers should be able to provide tiered access and pricing.
6. Voice Of Authority
Sun's R&D Chief Gets Out His Magnifying Glass An overlooked aspect of the much-remarked-upon CEO switch at Sun is Jonathan Schwartz's order for a wholesale engineering review of all technology projects over the next three months, says Aaron Ricadela.
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5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.