Reuters Article Asks An Ugly Question [5:51 pm]
Those songs you bought online from Apple play just fine, of course, so long you do so on the company’s iTunes digital jukebox software, on an iPod, burn a CD (you can only burn the same “playlist,” or collection of songs, seven times), or stream them wirelessly to your stereo using another Apple gizmo.
But Apple’s FairPlay digital rights management, or DRM, software prevents you from listening to those purchased songs on a music player from Dell Inc., Creative, Sony, or others. The same thing goes for songs you’ve imported to your computer from CDs you already own. [Ed note: well, we know that's not quite accurate!]
[...] To be sure, Apple rivals have their own DRM technology to protect against piracy, such as Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp., but none have been as successful so far as Apple. The Cupertino, California-based company has a 70-percent market share in the United States for digital music players, and higher than that for music purchased online.
Beyond just having songs you bought from iTunes “trapped” on the iPod and in iTunes, it’s also not a snap to move songs from an iPod - whether you bought them or initially pulled them off a CD - back up to a computer. While it’s possible to do so, Apple doesn’t make it easy, right off the bat, because it’s trying to discourage piracy.
“They do it to lock you in,” Enderle said, noting an example of if you spent $500 on buying songs from iTunes. “You now have a $500 switching cost to pull out of iTunes.”
[...] “The average consumer hasn’t run into the restrictions” that the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Sony have placed on online music purchases, McGuire said. “Certainly there’s some interest in Apple wanting people to return to the iTunes store but these restrictions are really due to the rights holders and the labels.”