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iPod Tax Causes Sour Apples 388

Posted by Zonk
from the looking-for-pennies-under-the-couch-cushions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple Computer is stepping up its push to get iPod accessory makers to pay for the right to connect to the popular music player." From the article: "It's not clear what means Apple might employ if companies don't go along, as Apple declined to comment on that. Though many manufacturers have signed up for the program so far, some have complained in private that it's too high a price. But for Apple, the move is a chance to profit further from the empire it has built on the iPod, given that the market for such add-ons is estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year."
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iPod Tax Causes Sour Apples

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  • And so it goes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by denissmith (31123) * on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:54PM (#13819447)
    And so another company that had an emerging monopoly blows all of its accumulated goodwill and demonstrates why monopolies are ALWAYS bad. And, no, there is no such thing as a NATURAL monopoly. Nature abhors monopolies.
    • Re:And so it goes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SocietyoftheFist (316444) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:56PM (#13819467)
      ALCOA kept aluminum prices below market level so that the consumer benefitted. Granted this kept anybody from having the ability to enter the market but it provided the best benefit to the consumer.
      • Not buying that (Score:3, Insightful)

        ALCOA kept aluminum prices below market level so that the consumer benefitted. Granted this kept anybody from having the ability to enter the market but it provided the best benefit to the consumer.

        And what's the market price? If there's only one seller, what justification do you have for determining that price? Even if you're right, how do you know that prices wouldn't be even lower given real competition?

    • Re:And so it goes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:00PM (#13819515) Journal
      "Nature abhors monopolies"

      Au contraire, mon frere. Over time, any given ecological niche will be dominated by one species only. You only find multiple species occupying a niche when that niche changes somehow.
    • No monopoly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by maynard (3337) <j,maynard,gelinas&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:02PM (#13819538) Journal
      You will know when Apple has gained monopoly marketshare when they leverage MacOS X on Intel by forcing iPod users to drop Windows. Somehow, I think Apple demanding certain manufacturing agreements with industry players doesn't quite measure up to a "portable mp3 music player" monopoly. --M
      • by geekee (591277)
        "You will know when Apple has gained monopoly marketshare when they leverage MacOS X on Intel by forcing iPod users to drop Windows. Somehow, I think Apple demanding certain manufacturing agreements with industry players doesn't quite measure up to a "portable mp3 music player" monopoly. --M"

        Add these to your list:
        proprietary closed DRM format that no one can license who wants to make a compatible player
        no support for DRM formats supplied by competitors who sell music online.

        Trying to leverage iPod to cause
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nature abhors monopolies.

      How can you say that, look around you!

      - How many websites compete with /.?
      - Humans have a monopoly as far as higher order species.
      - The Earth has a heck of a monopoly on liveable planets (at least in our solar system, at least as far as we can tell)
      - Almost all useable light that shines on the Earth and helps to create/maintain life comes from a single source
      - Much of what is animalistic instinct is to try to attain a monopoly at any stratum.
      • - How many websites compete with /.?

        How about fark? Ars Technica? news.com.com.com.com? What's keeping me from starting my own and competing well? What could Malda do to cause me to not be able to compete?

        - Humans have a monopoly as far as higher order species.

        High order as in what? Insects outnumber us by a huge amount, and they're a huge problem in the continuation of our species.

        - The Earth has a heck of a monopoly on liveable planets (at least in our solar system, at least as far as we c

    • Re:And so it goes (Score:3, Interesting)

      by eln (21727)
      Nature abhors monopolies.

      If that were true, there would be no reason to have anti-monopoly laws. Any pure capitalistic system will eventually trend toward monopolies. We've seen it happen many times in this country alone. It then takes intervention from a sufficiently powerful outside source (government) to return the market to a state of competition.
      • Yes, very true indeed. I point you to the AT&T breakup which is beginning to come full circle with SBC's (they are a "Baby Bell" and they bought several of the other "Baby Bells") wanting to buy AT&T (as offered in January this year).
    • by MarkGriz (520778) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:31PM (#13819816)
      "Let me put it to you this way: I earned capital with the iPod, geek capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style" -- Steve Jobs

         
    • If nature abhors monopolies - why would we keep getting them? You're not supposed to like them - but they know they won't exist if nobody'll get off their arse to break them. That's why they always try to hover on the line.
      You might hate windows, but it's cheap and anything you create for it has a potential audience. You might want to buy a non-Apple portable music player, but there are all those nifty accessories the others don't have.
    • A natural monopoly occurs when a market is structured so that it is not possible for more than 1 firm to operate profitably in it. Public transportation is a good example of this (when was the last time you saw a city with two competing bus services?). It's a concept that has nothing to do with this article, please use it properly.
    • Re:And so it goes (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Arandir (19206)
      Nature abhors monopolies.

      Please explain. I've never heard this idea before, and I want to know the rationale and reasoning behind it. I can think of several naturally occuring monopolies, and wish to know where the flaw in my thinking is.

      Example 1) A monopoly on horses in a one horse town

      Example 2) A monopoly on gas stations in a town with only one intersection.

      Example 3) Licensing fees for iPod accessories when there are dozens of iPod competitors.
  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:55PM (#13819457) Homepage Journal
    If you want to say "Made for iPod", pay the money. If you don't, then say something else.
    • Reminds me of the Linux Trademark issue , though far more commercial .
    • by noisymime (816237)
      Since when does saying "Made for iPod" mean that you have to pay dues to Apple? If I make an aftermarket product for a particular car I don't have to pay a license to the original manufacturer. In fact in the automobile industry you can even make OEM spec replacement parts without having to pay a license.
      • Since when does saying "Made for iPod" mean that you have to pay dues to Apple? If I make an aftermarket product for a particular car I don't have to pay a license to the original manufacturer. In fact in the automobile industry you can even make OEM spec replacement parts without having to pay a license. The phrase "Made for iPod" and it's associated logo are unique to Apple and copyrighted. If you want to use that specific phrase and logo, you need to pay. You're perfectly able to use "Works with iPod"
    • Don't say "made for iPod" if your product isn't. It limits your market. Just about any sound player/recorder can use a stereo lapel mic, external speakers, etc.
      • If you're looking at two products side by side to use with your iPod, and one of them says "3/8 inch audio connector for use with any compatible audio device," and the other says "made for iPod," which are you gonna pick? Well, I dunno about you, but most people will do the safe thing and buy the one they know, based on the slogan alone, was designed to work with their music player.

        Also, "made for iPod" implies it's going to match in color, style, simplicity, elegance, and everything else for which you boug

        • Which is exactly why, if you want that market advantage, you should have to pay for the licensing fee from Apple.

          Apple spends tens of dollars a year in hyping the iPod label. If you expect to benefit from that, despite the fact that your product may-or-may-not 1)work perfectly well with non-iPod equipment, 2)work better than non-labelled components, then you should expect to pay.

    • by n.wegner (613340) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:06PM (#13819587)
      >If you want to say "Made for iPod", pay the money.

      IANAL, but that doesn't seem like a good idea in a free market. A company named NA should be safe with something like: ...
      Compatible with Apple's iPod* ...
      *Apple, iPod are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc
      NA is not associated with Apple Computer, Inc
      • by Moofie (22272) <lee.ringofsaturn@com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:12PM (#13819643) Homepage
        Of course. But if you want to use Apple's logo, and Apple's engineering support, and sell through Apple's web site, I think you shouldn't be surprised if Apple wants a cut.

        You're free to not give it, and they're free to not help you. No harm, no foul.
      • Exactly. by the logic of the previous poster, and Apple, that means FRAM should have to pay [instert name of EVERY car manufacturer] for the right to sell an oil filter that says "fits ..." And yes I know the filter box doesn't say that but their fitment guide does.

        Or Energizer comcorder batteries that say they fit so and so's camcorder. Should they have to pay a fee to say "Fits Panasonic" Cell phone batteries, vacume cleaner bags, air filter replacments, car stereo adaptor kits, car stereo speakers, e
        • Compatible/fits with are NOT equivilant to "made for" or "Designed for".
          • by Jumperalex (185007) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @04:10PM (#13820223)
            Well actually they are the same in market speak. Now if there is some LEGAL specification as to the definitions of those words (kinda like the use of the word SHALL in contracts has a very specific meaning) than I might be convinced.

            Even if there is some specific LEGAL difference all that means is they don't use the word Deisgned for but use the word compatible; iirc Apple wants a royalty even for that, and any use of the word iPod.

            Besides, "Designed for" is still 100% accurate and not misleading. On the other hand if they said "Designed By", "Approved By" or any other language that makes it sound like the company either IS Apple or is somehow affiliated with or sanctioned by Apple ... well now that IS a different story. Not the difference in the use of the word "for" vs. "by"

                But as mentioned by another poster, it is common to add the disclaimer stating that no such affiliations exist and that words like iPod etc are registered tradmarks etc etc etc.
      • Yeah, but presumably the issue rests with the specific choice of words. If Apple's programme succeeds, then eventually the 'Made for iPod' seal will come to be associated with reliability and all the other positive attributes of the brand.

        So if manufacturers want to use some kind of non-official message I doubt there's much Apple could actually do, but that wouldn't engender as much consumer trust, and therefore would defeat the purpose of the 'made for iPod' idea.

    • We're talking about a logo program, not simply saying something is "made for iPod". Stating that something is made to be compatible with Apple's iPod should not be construed as a violation of Apple's trademark.
    • Part of the fuss may be that "made for iPod", even though it uses a trademarked name, could actually reasonably be construed as being purely descriptive in nature - that is, as a mere statement of fact ("this product is compatible with Apple's iPod"). Given that there is pretty much no way to state this fact without actually using the term "iPod", it's easy to see why companies aren't keen on paying for this.

      Is there a trademark equivalent of fair use? If this was a copyright issue, this would probably fal
    • Why?

      Aftermarket auto accessories such as nose bras, antenna balls and spark plugs say e.g. "Fits Chevy Impala", and these parts are not necessarily approved by GM. Why is the iPod different?

      How about adding a disclaimer:
      iPod is a registered trademark of Apple Computer. This product is not approved by apple.
      • by Buran (150348)
        It's not. I'm a VW buff and I mod my car. When buying aftermarket parts, you'll find that the sites that sell them have categories that you click on subesequently - make, then model, then things like body style (2/4 doors), engine type, etc. The site uses this to show you items that you can make use of.

        The makes and models are always spelled out with no apparent problems that I've ever seen. Sometimes, there will be a disclaimer somewhere that says "Not affiliated with Volkswagen" or "These items are not ma
    • I don't think this is any different than getting a driver certified on XP. Some people do it...others don't.
    • If you want to say "Made for iPod", pay the money. If you don't, then say something else.
      How about Made for Windows or Made for Palm or ...? Should they pay the owners of those platform too?!!
  • by stevew (4845) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:56PM (#13819465) Journal
    Doesn't this sound EXACTLY like what Apple is dissing the RIAA for, i.e. trying to make more money off of the IPOD?

    If Apple doesn't do the engineering for accessories or the manufacturing - I see NO reason they should receive the profits?!?

    I have similar feelings about Apple paying RIAA.
  • by Stradenko (160417) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:56PM (#13819466) Homepage
    ...When used with a portable music player, then for any third-party accessory to match the ipod, they'd have to license Apple's patent...charge extra for the right to use Apple's "White Power certified" trademark on their accessory.

    No true ipod weenie would buy or use a non-matching accessory.
  • So, Is MPAA to Apple as Apple is to add-on makers?

    Or is Greedy generic enough to cover all the bases?

    IMarv
  • I don't see why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamesgamble (917138) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @02:59PM (#13819507) Homepage
    ...accessory manufacturers are complaining. The cell phone industry has been doing this for years. There will always be cheap knockoffs though, just take a look on EBay for that.
    • I don't see why......accessory manufacturers are complaining.

      As so many companies (viz Griffin, iSkin, Belkin) seem to have made a killing out of this secondary market, I don't see why this is an issue at all - if they'd like to reassure the consumer about compatibility and tie themselves into the brand name, it's a fair requirement. I'd be tempted to agree with the parent poster.

  • First record companies say that they want a cut of iPod sales, and Apple says "Oooooo, that's bad! Can't do that!"

    Now they're turning around and telling add-on companies they want to do the same thing???

    Geesh
  • uncomfortable (Score:2, Insightful)

    by toQDuj (806112)
    With the swift turnaround of Jobs to support video iPods (but where's the content?) it is uncomfortable to see companies search for more money in such a way. What will be next?
    I think this will make companies reconsider, that are looking to develop software or hardware for the mac.

    If it's only money for analysis and approval of the item though, it wouldn't bother me that much though.

    B.
  • Love/Hate (Score:3, Funny)

    by steelshadow (586869) <roadster1200xl@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:00PM (#13819512)
    So wait, do we love or hate Apple today?
  • Problem solved!

    If you want to take a bite out of the Apple, you better compensate the worm.
  • by rob_squared (821479) <rob&rob-squared,com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:00PM (#13819520)
    I'm just waiting for the Tax tax, you know it's coming...
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel@johnhumm ... t minus caffeine> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:01PM (#13819526) Homepage
    I may be wrong in my history, but if memory serves me correctly-
    *takes a bite out of a yellow pepper*
    - Atari (or was it Colecovision? It's been so long ago I can't remember) originally had a "no license fee" to their system. Which leads to an overabundance of very crappy games, which lead to death of the system.

    When Nintendo had their NES system, if you wanted the "Gold Sticker" of quality, you had to go through Nintendo's process and give them a cut for the licensing. Which forged a company that is profitable even today.

    So, is Apple being "teh evil" by enforcing a trademark license - if you want to use the words "Made for iPod" on your product, you pay the fee that lets them decide if your item is actually worth it. Or, you can go the Gameshark route and *not* license your product and sell it as "iPod compatible, not licensed by Apple" and still make money anyway.

    Personally, I think that Apple's being a touch overhanded here, but they're working with an existing model, one they hope to bring them enough money to continue to fund new products and new directions.

    Of course, this is all just my opinion - I could be wrong.
    • When Nintendo had their NES system, if you wanted the "Gold Sticker" of quality, you had to go through Nintendo's process and give them a cut for the licensing. Which forged a company that is profitable even today.

      There's a big difference between charging a manufacturur to sell an official" accessory, and trying to force manufacturers into it.

      I don't see how they have any legal groupd to stand on here, there are decades of third-party video game accessory makers, cell phone accessory makers, etc.

    • Games and accessories are different. Consoles live and die by the quality of their games. iPod owners can reasonably never buy any accessories, and Apple will still make ongoing money through iTunes.
    • Cool. I hope I'm not the only other person who appreciates a good reference to old-school Iron Chef. :)

    • by CODiNE (27417) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @04:02PM (#13820132) Homepage
      When you said trademark you nailed the real modivation here.

      Apple is fighting to prevent iPod from becoming a generic term and losing their TM. Go to Best Buys and you'll hear "Oh no, you don't want these iPods, we have other cheaper iPods over here" as salespeople will direct them to the players they're stuck with.

      Apple is starting to fight to protect the name iPod. You WILL NOT call generic mp3 players "iPods" and they are backing this up legally now to prevent dilution. Remember that if you don't enforce a TM you lose it. They are containing the damage before it gets worse. Of course they'll also make a mint here, but that's what licensing is all about. They're just killing 2 birds with one stone.
      • Finally someone who understands the REAL motivation behind this. Yes, they are killing two birds with one stone...but the one they're aiming for is the protection of their trademark.

        Apple is a brand that relies on its coolness and brand name recognition to sell the amount of product it does (yes, design is part of it, but brand is most of it). If it loses control over its brand name, it loses the primary selling point behind its products.

  • Coin has two sides (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarkBlackFox (643814) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:02PM (#13819535)
    I can see this going two ways.

    On the one hand, people will cry out "Monopoly!" and point at Apple. Naturally, Apple's dominance in the MP3 player market makes it a likely target for such a label, and a move like this certainly helps reinforce that image.

    But on the other hand, the manufacturers of the third party add-ons are making a mint off the iPod themselves. If their entire industry is based on the existance of the iPod, doesn't Apple have the authority to ask for a cut of the sales? Without the iPod, those accessories wouldn't exist. I'd see it as paying a royalty to use the iPod brand/name/whatever. Items marketed as "For use with iPod" should pay to use the name "iPod." For some reason, a set of speakers marked as "iPod Speakers" sounds better than "Speakers for use with that fruit-named company's music player."
    • But on the other hand, the manufacturers of the third party add-ons are making a mint off the iPod themselves. If their entire industry is based on the existance of the iPod, doesn't Apple have the authority to ask for a cut of the sales? Without the iPod, those accessories wouldn't exist. I'd see it as paying a royalty to use the iPod brand/name/whatever.

      There is no such right, in general - this is what patents are for. The mere fact that you created something does not mean that you're entitled to pro

    • by linumax (910946) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:27PM (#13819783)
      the manufacturers of the third party add-ons are making a mint off the iPod themselves. If their entire industry is based on the existance of the iPod, doesn't Apple have the authority to ask for a cut of the sales?

      Many many software companies based their products on the existance of Windows, does MS have the authority to ask for a cut of the sales?!!
      • by medeii (472309)

        Yes, if the companies in question want to qualify as "tested and approved" by Microsoft. Using an association with a more trusted brand name costs money.

        As other posters have mentioned, companies aren't prohibited from making iPod-compatible accessories if they don't pay the tax. They just don't get to use Apple's name or logo, and they don't get access to specifications that might help them release products that work better.

      • by hackstraw (262471) *
        does MS have the authority to ask for a cut of the sales?!!

        To include the "Designed for Windows XP" logo on their product if its software it must adhere to http://www.microsoft.com/winlogo/software/default. mspx [microsoft.com] and hardware http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/winlogo/default.mspx [microsoft.com].

        It does not mention any money, and from what I remember from 5 years ago, at least the software requirements were rarely if ever met (they used to be required to have a working uninstaller, few if any Windows programs met that criteria
  • Steve Jobs...... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 8127972 (73495)
    ....has just created a huge dis-incentive to people who want to make iPod accessories just so he can make a few extra bucks and keep his shareholders happy. I'd just love to see these companies come out and call Apple out on this. But it won't happen because of Apple's love of using lawyers to keep the "reality distortion field" in full effect.

    IMHO, Jobs is as much of a crook as the two headed monster known as the MPAA/RIAA.
  • by RapmasterT (787426) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:02PM (#13819539)
    So basically yet AGAIN Apple is exploring ways to kill the golden goose.

    For myself, the ONLY reason I own an iPod was the amazing plethora of accessories avaialable for it. It's simpy not a very impressive MP3 player (other than styling), but being able to choose from a bazillion accessories makes it pretty attractive.

    If Apple tries too much of this, they're going to learn that holding a majority share of a market is NOT the same as a monopoly. Piss off the market enough, and Creative is going to sell a LOT more Zens.

    This sounds extrmemly reminiscent of the ill fated "mac clone" fiasco a few years back.

    • For myself, the ONLY reason I own an iPod was the amazing plethora of accessories avaialable for it.

      Funny, I got it because it does a good job playing my music.

      -jcr

  • by CDPatten (907182) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:02PM (#13819544) Homepage
    First MS releases an innovative wireless software with source. Then Google screws with privacy and Apple becomes "evil" and screws some vendors. Yikes! The /. Crew most not be happy today!
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:03PM (#13819548)
    How does Nintendo handle the addons for its various handheld gaming systems? How do the addon manufacturers handle it? How do they refer to their compatibility with Nintendo devices? Do they flat out say, "GameBoy-compatible" or do they word it to avoid naming the Nintendo products supported?

  • by UR30 (603039) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:07PM (#13819591) Homepage
    The camera makers like Canon don't sell rights to make compatible
    lenses. So if you buy a non-Canon lens for your SLR, you are in effect
    buying a pirated product. And camera makes change their systems
    all the time to make them incompatible with lenses by third parties.

    Apple could follow suit - but by licensing Apple allows third-party
    innovation. Good for Apple, good for iPod accessories, good for
    iPod users.
    • The camera makers like Canon don't sell rights to make compatible lenses.

      Because they don't have them, maybe? There is no special right to make compatible lenses for a specific camera body.

      So if you buy a non-Canon lens for your SLR, you are in effect
      buying a pirated product.


      Oh, really? I realize that {RI|MP}AA worked long and hard to make the word "pirated" apply to most everything under the sun, but do tell me -- if I buy, say, a Zeiss lens and through an adapter mount it on my Canon SLR body, in which m
    • "And camera makes change their systems all the time to make them incompatible with lenses by third parties."

      They change their systems all the time to eliminate backwards compatibility, since most people buy the same brand lens as the camera. Inhibiting third-party accessories is just a side benefit.
  • by tehwebguy (860335) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:13PM (#13819654) Homepage
    what a stupid and terrible headline. there have been ipod taxes enacted and talked about in other countries, so a headline like this makes it seem like the story will actually be about taxes imposed on ipods and customers who buy them.

    think.
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:18PM (#13819708)
    "It's not clear what means Apple might employ if companies don't go along, as Apple declined to comment on that."

    They'll likely do what they've always done. If someone makes an iPod accessory and doesn't pay the "tax" they'll send in the lawyers.

    It makes me wonder if they got the same people who came up with the Microsoft Protection Racket [slashdot.org] to come up with this idea.
  • Liscenced by... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JoeQuaker (888617)

    This kind of reminds me of the old deal with the gold "Liscensed by Nintendo" emblems that used to appear on cartridge labels back in the 80's.

    As other companies figured out how to zap Nintendos lock-out chip so they could make their owned games without the shiny gold emblem, Tengen just went ahead and used legal action (which they eventually lost their case for miserably) and got the code for it from the copyright office. After that, the Tetris suit, retailers not carring Tengen titles due to threats fr

  • by cmholm (69081) <cmholm@mau[ ]lm.org ['iho' in gap]> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:21PM (#13819741) Homepage Journal
    Scenario A & B:

    A: Around about the middle of '90, while Sculley was at the helm, Apple raised prices across the board. Product demand was strong, and Apple shipped more systems per year than anyone. They figured this was an Econ 101 situation, and raised prices with only a fig leaf attempt to bs their way out of it. Obviously someone dropped out before Econ 401, which would have taught the costs of trading on "good will", when they could have been looking at increasing their market share upward from 20%.

    B: Learning from Atari's experience where unmanaged 3rd party game developers flooded the market with crappy product, Nintendo required developers to register with them for the right to see the NES s/w development tools, or get any cooperation in distributing game carts. While some moaned that this was a restraint of trade and raised prices, Nintendo was able to control who traded on Nintendo's good will.

    So, which is it for Apple, this time? Any knowledgeable insider Anon Coward care to comment?

  • From TFA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by monkaduck (902823) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:25PM (#13819768)
    The article says that this tax isn't for all accessories, only the ones that attach to the connector on the bottom of the device.
    It's also something where they are trying to insure that these devices won't harm them in the long run. TFA states that having the "Made for iPod" seal on these devices ensures that these deviuces will work on current and future iPod versions.
    If I was Apple, I wouldn't want some third-rate speaker system to be designed for the current generations of the iPod, then not work on all future versions, having this burn the buyer into not wanting to buy newer versions of said speakers to continue to enjoy his/her iPod and feeling jaded by the iPod that a certified piece of gear would be gauranteed to do from the box. I think it's a good move for the future.
    • TFA states that having the "Made for iPod" seal on these devices ensures that these deviuces will work on current and future iPod versions.

      If I was Apple, I wouldn't want some third-rate speaker system to be designed for the current generations of the iPod, then not work on all future versions

      Right. Ask a Tivo owner how happy they were that their remote control, which worked just peachy prior to the TivoToGo software release, suddenly turned into a piece of crap...

      What? You think the average consumer

  • More details (Score:5, Insightful)

    by olddotter (638430) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:32PM (#13819833) Homepage
    If Apple is doing this to keep the standards up, then it could be a good thing. If it is just greed then it will end up being a bad thing.

    I suspect the bigger companies will go along, seeing the fee as away of keeping smaller players from moving into the market.

  • by z80jim (923871) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:36PM (#13819864)
    Apple is providing technical information and support for accessories that want to electronically interface with the iPod. There are no charges for cases and other types of products. Apple is also standardizing on the iPod connector and including form factor adapters with iPods to allow them to continue working with existing accessories. These services and adapters will cost Apple money. Maybe they are charging too much, maybe not, but it is not unreasonable to charge them. Both parties will benefit. The vendors get to continue to ride the iPod phenomenon and Apple gets to offset some, or maybe all, of the cost of supporting and accomodating these guys.
  • what does.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by KillShill (877105) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:37PM (#13819865)
    selling accessories to end users have ANYTHING to do with apple?

    once an ipod is sold to a customer, apple no longer has any say over what happens to that device or how it interacts with any other devices.

    period.

    this is pure bullshit.

    same racket that console manufacturers run.

    getting permission is NOT required by moral law. legal laws are completely obscene. and even there, there might be ways of not bending over to corporate interests.

    that's the definition of property laws. if you own property, you can do just about anything you want, barring things which can cause death or injury.

    no one needs "permission" to make accessories for any device. but that's what DRM is for. now you're getting the hang of it. without DRM and DMCA, it would be a simple matter for people to exercise their property rights.

    now you know, and knowing is half the battle.
  • by harrsk (654320)
    This is the same reason we are saying "empire it has built on the iPod" instead of "empire it has built on the Mac".
  • by mouthbeef (35097) <doctorow@craphound.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @03:43PM (#13819930) Homepage
    At the end of the day, this screws iPod owners more than anyone else. Like Honda Civic owners, we have enjoyed a rich ecosystem of aftermarket products that pay dividends on our iPod investment. An iPod with the right third-party accessories can be a recorder, a transmitter, a boom box -- even a laser-pointer. Buying an iPod paid out well, because the iPod was a platform for innovation.

    Apple's closing of the open market can only retard innovation. The space of accessory-makers willing to pay and ask for permission is necessarily smaller than the space of all potential accessory-makers. That means less competition for iPod accessories, which means higher prices and less innovation. That means that The Steve just devalued our investment in iPods.

    One question: once permission is required, mightn't it be withheld? Can we be certain that Apple will allow all comers to buy a license? After all, they already threatened to sue a competitor, Real, that wanted to add new features to the iPod. What other new features -- features that iPod owners can benefit from -- might Apple veto?
  • Good idea! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Washizu (220337) <bengarvey@comca[ ]net ['st.' in gap]> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @04:04PM (#13820147) Homepage
    I'm going to start charging companies who manufacture accessories for me, like hats, clothes, and life jackets.

  • Not surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dskoll (99328) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @04:26PM (#13820399)
    Apple is just as monopolistic as Microsoft, and always has been. Apple's friendliness with the open-source community is self-serving: Apple just needed a good OS quickly, and a free UNIX-like system was the obvious choice.

    At heart, Apple is just another proprietary company, which is saved from being perceived as evil by it's small share of the computer market. (iPod is a different story; the large market share allows the evilness to come out.)
  • by Gruneun (261463) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @04:39PM (#13820608)
    The gist of this is not that people can't make products for the iPod or can't use the phrase "for the Apple iPod" but rather that there's a special connector with a proprietary protocol. To get the information for interacting with the iPod, you have to pay to be part of the program. Car stereo manufacturers have been doing this for years (Alpine's Ai-net or Sony's S-Link). Most third-party groups might complain about the price, but paying it puts them in a position to have few competitors. The complaint isn't about the 'tax'. Rather, they're annoyed by the bump in price. An open protocol would make the iPod more popular with end users, but saturate the market with alternative accessories. If the accessory manufacturers can afford to buy in, it's in their best interest to do so and hope the other guy doesn't.

    Nobody is telling the manufacturers that they can't develop and sell products for the iPod. Apple just won't help them without compensation. Besides, while popular, Apple hardly has a monopoly on mp3 players.
    • The gist of this is not that people can't make products for the iPod or can't use the phrase "for the Apple iPod" but rather that there's a special connector with a proprietary protocol. To get the information for interacting with the iPod, you have to pay to be part of the program.

      The gist of the original article is that Apple used to charge only for use of the logo, but now wants to charge for the right to connect to the iPod. What they claim they are charging for is a "marketing program" where the dock

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