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Apple Not Too Harmonious with Real 940

An anonymous reader writes "As if in answer to the question previously asked on Slashdot, CNN Money is reporting that Apple isn't all that happy that Real pried open the door to the iPod for its RealMedia files. "We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod." It should be interesting to see how this pans out in court, and if the DeCSS case serves as some sort of precedent."
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Apple Not Too Harmonious with Real

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  • Enough already (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ack154 ( 591432 ) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:55PM (#9833043)
    This is just blatant disrespect of all sorts... Real already tried [] to setup an "alliance" with Apple once and was denied, and now it just goes around it in it's own world and bypasses Apple. Not cool.

    Jobs needs to lay some smack down on these people or something.
    • by mfh ( 56 )
      > Not cool.
      Not cool by any stretch of the imagination.

      "We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod."

      I was stunned too! 0%... 5%... BUFFERING 6%... etc.

      Apple is going to get some financial buffering from RealNetworks, after this is done.
      • Not cool? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GCP ( 122438 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:01PM (#9834147)
        I don't care a bit about the malware makers at Real, but what's uncool is people massively buying iPods instead of players that support multiple, vendor-neutral standards.

        I want my player to be a big file system in a small box that supports OGG, MP3, FLAC, WAV, SPEEX, and eventually popular video formats, HTML, etc. as well. I want it to be able to record to those formats, too, off the built-in AM/FM radio and from line-in. I want it to support downloadable codec plug-ins.

        If it holds "several thousand songs" and I buy that many at a dollar a piece from an online store, I want my wife to be able to play them, too, and if some other maker of these little media boxes comes out with a box that I like more, I want to be able to just drag my files out of the old box and into the new box with no loss of files or file quality.

        I'd like to reward manufacturers (such as iRiver) that take this approach by giving them my business, and I wish more people did likewise to drive the competition in open media players.
        • Re:Not cool? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Cobalt Jacket ( 611660 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:33PM (#9834644)
          Who cares. You represent less than 1% of the market.
        • Re:Not cool? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jdh-22 ( 636684 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:11PM (#9835236)
          The things that you have listed there are things YOU look into for an media player, not every wants the same things. Most people are very satisified with their iPod. The easy of us, makes it confortable enough to forget about multiple formats, mp3s and ACC compression sounds great.

          If the iPod wasn't what people were looking for people wouldn't buy it. Real wants a peice of the market, and is going the wrong way about it. There are plent of other media players, but Apple has proven that the iPod is the sexiest, easiest to use media player around. If YOU don't like it, use your money and show Apple what you do want.
        • by insomnyuk ( 467714 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @04:48PM (#9836580) Homepage Journal
          Yes, and while we're at it, I would like a PDA that lights my cigarettes and wipes my ass for me.

          I want it to be able to light normal filtered class A cigarettes, but also include support for 100s and unfiltered.

          I want it to support 1-ply AND 2-ply toilet paper and be forward-compatible for new multiple-ply standards in the future.

          I would also like it to be child and babysafe, so that if a toddler is within a certain proximity of the machine it will not light cigarettes and will only use baby wipes.

          Furthermore, it must be fully compatible with my OS/2 Warp box.

          And I would like a pony, but that last one is optional.

          Anyone that does not acquiesce to these demands is being closed and proprietary. For shame!

          Apple's possible legal action aside, the iPod is an example of product implementation where their goal was to do one thing and do it well: let people play tons of music on a well-designed, portable device. Google did the same thing with search by keeping it relatively simple.

          If I had a nickel for everytime I heard someone on /. bitch about the iPod not having x encoding format or x obscure-as-shit Operating System Compatibility, I would probably have about $40 U.S. Sir, the dead horse you are beating is little more than so much decomposed mush now. Let it go. Please.
    • Re:Enough already (Score:4, Informative)

      by ack154 ( 591432 ) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:06PM (#9833214)
      Oh ya... another article over at DesignTechnica [] with the full Apple statement and other stuff.
    • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:07PM (#9833222)
      A serious question for you:

      Why shouldn't people be able to play music files that they have purchased, on a piece of hardware that they've purchased? The files are Real, the hardware is Apple. Why isn't that "cool"?
      • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EtherAlchemist ( 789180 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:49PM (#9833953)

        It is cool. And I think Apple knows it. The actual issue for Apple is "Hey! You're going to take business away from iTunes if just anybody can put any music on our iPod!" Which is total bullshit. They win either way- people are still buying iPods. People are still GOING to buy iPods. I notice Apple didn't say a word when the RealPlayer started supporting their format, why was that? OH, right- because there's no $$ involved in Quicktime.

        For anyone making the argument that hardware should only ever support media/software/whatever made by the same company as the hardware, would you buy a car from Chrysler if you could only get gas from Chrysler or buy a Sony DVD player and only be able to play Sony Pictures (or subsidiary houses) DVDs in it. Hell no. You can put non-Apple software on an iMac, so why should you only be able to use iTunes with an iPod?

        For ONCE Real is doing something that helps consumers, something nearly every mofo on /. slams them for NOT doing all the time and they get their throats jumped down for doing it.

      • Re:Enough already (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lord Kano ( 13027 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @03:13PM (#9835268) Homepage Journal
        Why shouldn't people be able to play music files that they have purchased, on a piece of hardware that they've purchased? The files are Real, the hardware is Apple. Why isn't that "cool"?

        Because the Apple Zealots don't like anything that Apple doesn't like. This isn't about piracy, harmony allows you to copy files that you have bought from Real on a piece of hardware that you have bought from Apple.

        If iTMS gets big enough, Apple WILL drop support for MP3 and unencoded AAC files from the iPod because that would force people to get all of their portable music from iTMS.

        What many people don't get is that Apple is just a business. No more, no less. The fact that they don't understand that the "ethics of a hacker" and the "ethics of a business" are not incompatible says it all.

        BTW, don't believe me about the Apple Zealots, just watch what they do to this post with moderation.

    • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mliu ( 85608 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:08PM (#9833243) Homepage
      I just can't escape the feeling that if the name of the company involved was anything besides Apple, 99% of the community here would be decrying their anticompetitive behavior. Would you be the saying the same thing if it was Apple adding iTunes compatibility to Sony's ATRAC only proprietary Netwalkman?

      Someone's the bad guy here but it sure doesn't feel like Real for giving consumers more choice on their legally purchased hardware. Or did I miss the part where restricting how we could use our own hardware became "cool". That'd certainly be thinking differently.
      • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:27PM (#9833567)
        Indeed. I absolutely adore my iPod and take it with me everywhere. I do not hate Apple, unlike most of my PC-centric software engineering brethren. I feel that Apple has a niche and it fills that niche extremely well. The reason I don't own one (and probably never will) is that that niche caters to those who desire a pre-produced, non-gaming-capable tool for "productivity". Not only do I NOT want to be productive (as evidenced by the 2000$ I just dropped to get up to speed for Doom 3), but I want to have absolute control over everything by building it myself from scratch. It's just my thing.

        Now that the stage has been set, I get to my point. mliu is absolutely correct. If this were any other company (especially m$), people would be going berserk. It is my hardware, and, regardless of the law, I should be able to do whatever I want to do with it as I wish to do it. If Apple wants to constantly play cat-and-mouse by changing their software to break Harmony, then fine, that is their right. But by cheering Apple on as they sue the pants of Real, you're hypocritically sacrificing your philosophical beliefs just because you like who is getting the shaft. Not very respectible at all.
      • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:51PM (#9833985) Homepage Journal
        I just can't escape the feeling that if the name of the company involved was anything besides Apple, 99% of the community here would be decrying their anticompetitive behavior.

        Then let me be the first to say: Apple is wrong on this one.

        I don't know where these companies got the idea that they somehow maintain "rights" over their products after they have been sold to customers (yes, sold; "licenses" are a distubingly popular myth, but a myth nontheless).

        Apple has a very peculiar history in the PC industry. Their first product, the Apple ][, was created by a guy who took whatever parts came readily to hand and hacked them together to create one of the world's first personal computers. I own a copy of the Apple ][ Reference Manual, which contains a complete source listing of the ROM, as well as a schematic of the machine -- indeed, the very embodiment of the "Hacker Ethic." Such open disclosures would give today's industry executives and lawyers fits of apoplexy. Yet, despite this open disclosure of "proprietary technology", the Apple ][ sold millions of units, and put Apple Computer on the map as the pre-eminent personal computer maker.

        Then the Macintosh came out in 1984, and Apple started down the path of becoming a closed-architecture "proprietary" information hoarder. ROM listings were not available. Schematics were not available. This didn't stop people from "prying open" the Mac and learning what they could about it.

        Now we have the iPod, and Apple is making the unconscionable claim that no one has the right to pry open "their" product and learn how to make it do things. That they are shocked, simply shockced, that anyone would adopt the "tactics and ethics of a hacker" to manipulate an iPod to their own ends. This from a company that was founded on the tactics and ethics of a hacker.

        So, let me be the first to say: Apple, you're absolutely dead wrong about this. Real may be a bunch of assholes for other reasons, but in this case, they have done nothing wrong. Look to your own history to understand why. By making such a claim, you are repudiating your own origins and your founders -- you are, in effect, claiming your own company has no right to exist.

        You owe Real an apology. You owe your founders an apology. And you owe us an apology.


        • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MoneyT ( 548795 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:26PM (#9834525) Journal
          Yes, and if you buy an iPod and make it so that your real files can work with it, that's fine and dandy. But you aren't Real. Especialy if Real starts advertising as "iPod compatible" you run into the problem of this being an unsupported hack, which most of the consumers won't understand.
    • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

      by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:11PM (#9833308)
      Somehow this is different when we hack open Microsoft gaming consoles? Down with Microsoft for creating a closed format that we cannot do what we want with! How dare they!

      Apple creates a unit that is closed, refuses to allow Real to come in and have an alliance for it, and so Real hacks it to do something cool. Apple "lays the smack down" and somehow that is a good thing? Killing innovation?

      Zealotry is one thing but blatant fence hopping is another.
    • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:12PM (#9833324) Homepage Journal
      That's right. How dare Real make it possible for buyers of iPods to play music they'd otherwise be unable to play.

      Erm, hold on. This makes no sense. What's your argument again? That Real is being unreasonable because Apple refused to cooperate with them, and then had the audacity to winge when Real did the work necessary to implement something by themselves?

      Why the f--- is REAL in the wrong there? What next? Are you going to advocate makers of webcams, MP3 players, 802.11 adapters, et al, suing Linux programmers for ignoring their refusal to cooperate and working out how to make Linux interoperate with their hardware?

      Maybe Apple should start suing its own customers too, just to keep its hand in.

      I bought an iPod. At this point, Apple has no business telling me what I should do with it. Apple has no business complaining about third parties wanting to offer me things that work with that iPod. Apple should butt out and mind their own business.

    • huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:14PM (#9833353) Journal
      Why does Real need Apple's permission to hack iPods? The only argument that you could make against Real is to support the DMCA.

      I assume that's what you are doing. Please stop using computers and the Internet, you are too stupid.

    • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gaijin99 ( 143693 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:15PM (#9833370) Journal
      This is just blatant disrespect of all sorts... Real already tried to setup an "alliance" with Apple once and was denied, and now it just goes around it in it's own world and bypasses Apple. Not cool.
      I think you've lost touch with objective reality here. Apple sells a piece of hardware, someone finds a new use for said hardware, and you think that's wrong? By what insane imagining could it possibly be wrong for someone to write new software for legally purchased hardware?

      I can see how Apple would want to keep the iPod playing just their own DRM poisoned iTunes format files, but why should I care what they want? If I legally purchase a piece of hardware I have the right to do whatever I want with it. It might void my warranty, but otherwise, screw 'em if they don't like my mods. Obviously RealMedia is hoping to get money here, but again, what's wrong with that?

    • Re:Enough already (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Brad Mace ( 624801 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:22PM (#9833478) Homepage
      Yes, act all offended. Because geeks HATE it when their cool gadgets are made to do more cool stuff.

      I know you've got major wood for apple, but in this case they're waving the DMCA around just like all the companies we hate. This isn't what they said the DMCA was for. This is stifling innovation, not protecting anyone. The article even states that apple makes essentially no money on music sales, so who cares if Real gets in on it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:55PM (#9833044)
    With the constant Apple lovefests, the hatred of the DMCA and DRM, the dislike of Real Player, and the love of hacking.
  • A few thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:55PM (#9833045)
    First, the full Apple statement, since it's not referenced in the summary:

    "We are stunned that RealNetworks has adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod, and we are investigating the implications of their actions under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) and other laws. We strongly caution Real and their customers that when we update our iPod software from time to time it is highly likely that Real's Harmony technology will cease to work with current and future iPods."

    - Regarding the DMCA: you can't fault Apple for using a law on the books - passed by Congress (unanimously [] by the Senate), and signed into law by President Clinton - to protect its own business interests. If you don't like the DMCA, or aspects of copyright law in general, work to change the law(s), but don't fault companies or individuals for conducting themselves within the bounds of those laws while they are in force.

    - What Apple says regarding breakage is true. Some might argue that any breakage would be intentional; however, you can certainly also agree that otherwise benign changes to the iPod or its firmware may indeed break Real's reverse engineering. Intentional or no, this would still leave customers who have purchased songs via Real out in the cold, which ultimately, to the average customer, reflects poorly on Apple and the iPod (moreso than on Real). Does Apple, or its customers, really want an environment where any changes to the iPod to add functionality or features can break customers' music that they've ostensibly legitimately purchased?

    - The word "hackers" was successfully co-opted long [], long [], long [] ago ("a person who illegally gains access to and sometimes tampers with information in a computer system"), so don't fault Apple's (currently correct and appropriate) use of the word, and save us the tiresome lectures.

    That said, yes, Apple could sublicense Fairplay [], as they have done with Motorola []. But still, it means both parties must agree, and doesn't excuse Real.

    Others remember the continued arrogance and mistakes regarding OS licensing long ago. "Apple could potentially become the Microsoft of online music," they say. But this could only potentially happen by cannibalizing iPod sales. The iPod would be akin to the "PC"; the iTunes Music Store would be "Windows". (Remember: Microsoft never made computers). But for Apple, the iTunes Music Store is a break even proposition: its sole purpose from a business perspective is to drive iPod sales and adoption, and, to a lesser extent, adoption of other Apple products. Apple's iPod and hardware margins are to-die-for in the computer industry, while the iTunes Music Store, even after having sold 100 million songs, only recently made a "small profit". Additionally, Apple maintaining control over the whole process from end to end is one of the things that makes the iTunes/iPod experience so friendly and pleasing. This may no longer be true with other manufacturer's products.

    I'm not arguing against for or against licensing here, only pointing out that it's more of a difficult situation than people make it out to be. The iTunes Music Store and the iPod, for Apple, are inextricably connected, at least currently. Allowing the iPod to work with other online music stores can be argued to hurt Apple's iTunes/iPod strategy, while allowing the iTunes Music Store to work with other players definitely hurts iPod sales. Sure, you can make all sorts of contrary arguments, but there are valid arguments just as contrary to those. All that said, Apple
    • Don't fault Apple? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:57PM (#9833079)
      If they CHOOSE to use the DMCA, then that's a choice they've made and one we can fault them for. There are laws that say my neighbors can't make loud noise at 5am. I have a choice whether I can go talk to them and get them to be quiet, or whether I can just call the police.
    • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:00PM (#9833117) Journal
      First, they don't have to use the DMCA, it is a choice. And second, a bad law is a bad law. Most of the thinks that oppresive goverments have done in human history has been done within the framework of the laws of said countries but that doesn't make what they did or those laws right.
    • Re:A few thoughts (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:05PM (#9833195) Journal
      Right... because it's Apple doing it, it's not wrong...

      Here's an idea: Think different? No. Just start thinking for yourself.

      • Re:A few thoughts (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:06PM (#9834216) Homepage
        Right... because it's Apple doing it, it's not wrong

        No. Because Apple got shafted to much and repeatedly in the past that it's hard not to sympathise on their effort to keep that one bit of advance they've found for themselves.

        Every time they had come up with something innovative (technically or purely esthetically), they got ripped off by cheap knock-offs.

        I say it's about time for Apple to flex some legal muscles for a change and try to protect what they have.

        And to those who complaint about iPods being locked to ITMS, well that's life. You can't put Honda engines in Hundai cars. That's just how it is.
    • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Denyer ( 717613 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:09PM (#9833265)
      you can't fault Apple for using a law on the books - passed by Congress (unanimously by the Senate), and signed into law by President Clinton - to protect its own business interests. If you don't like the DMCA, or aspects of copyright law in general, work to change the law(s), but don't fault companies or individuals for conducting themselves within the bounds of those laws while they are in force.

      One simple question: why?

      There's a UK law which permits the killing of Welsh people in Chester, provided you use a bow. Many US states have similar legal skeletons lurking in the closet. So... why exactly should people who use dumb legislation get a free pass? Are their actions any more moral or justifiable?

      • by Thumpnugget ( 142707 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:38PM (#9833757)
        Apple has a legal responsibility to its shareholders to protect the business interests of the company. The executives of the company can be held legally and financially responsible for not acting in the shareholder's interest if they do not do everything possible to protect their businesses' interests. That means using the laws on the books, like the DMCA, where necessary, to stop other companies from damaging the sales or image of Apple's products.

        It's not Apple that's screwed up, it's the (legal|economic) system. If you're a US citizen, start writing your Congresspeople and helping the campaigns of those who would improve the system.
    • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MeNeXT ( 200840 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:19PM (#9833438)
      Nice rant, but where does the consumer fit in?

      What I am having a very hard time understanding is when did the consumer stop owning the products he/she has purchased?

      If I cannot make changes to the product then write on the box in bold "YOU WILL NOT OWN THIS PRODUCT AFTER PURCHASE. IT WILL REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF ..." Since when have we the consumer allowed this to happen? If you wish that I respect your license write it on the box so I do not waste my time purchasing your product. Before you know it painters will own your house and you will license to live in it.

      That is the end of my /RANT

    • Re:A few thoughts (Score:4, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:20PM (#9833455) Homepage Journal
      Regarding the DMCA: you can't fault Apple for using a law on the books - passed by Congress (unanimously by the Senate), and signed into law by President Clinton - to protect its own business interests.
      That's right, because Lord knows, people shouldn't be responsible for their own actions. If you can't blame the government for your own lack of morals, who can you blame?
      All that said, Apple is indeed licensing ; why should Apple be forced to license to entities to whom it doesn't wish?
      Why should Apple have the right to dictate what people do with their iPods (which is what this amounts to) in the first place? Beyond me copying their software or logos, I don't think their are any issues they should be intefering in when it comes to my iPod. If I want to paint it green, change the battery, use my own headphones, or load music I downloaded from Real, that's up to me. I don't recall, prior to buying the iPod (let alone afterwards) ever agreeing to only buy my DRM-encumbered music from the iTunes music store.

      I've been a big fan of my iPod so far, and defended them publically about the pseudo-DRM in the iTMS files, but honestly, if Apple takes further action against Real rather than sabre-rattling, I'll never buy another Apple product again. And that's not just an angry Squiggleslash speaking, that's a practical one too - I prefer open systems.

    • Re:A few thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:42PM (#9833833) Homepage Journal

      I disagree with all of your major points.

      Regarding the DMCA: you can't fault Apple for using a law on the books

      Yes, yes I can. I can fault them for anything I want, including their fruity cases. More to the point, I think it is eminently reasonable to fault them for utilizing an unjust law. Just because it's legal doesn't make it right.

      Does Apple, or its customers, really want an environment where any changes to the iPod to add functionality or features can break customers' music that they've ostensibly legitimately purchased?

      It really shouldn't matter what Apple wants, only what the customers want. If the customers want to put themselves in such a situation, they can make that choice. If anything it is reasonble only for Apple to demand that Real make it very clear to customers that if they do take an end run around apple on this, that their device might stop playing their music files, delete random content, or explode in their pocket, but it's not reasonable for Apple to tell people what they can or cannot do with hardware they purchased.

      The word "hackers" was successfully co-opted long, long, long ago ("a person who illegally gains access to and sometimes tampers with information in a computer system"), so don't fault Apple's (currently correct and appropriate) use of the word

      First of all, that meaning which you cite refers to someone gaining unauthorized access to a computer, not an embedded device. While it is technically a computer, it is not at all what the definition refers to. Second of all, if you own the hardware, you are authorized to gain any kind of access to it you like. The only thing that might stop you is that if the license agreement is valid, you are almost certainly prohibited from altering the code without written permission from Apple. (I don't have an iPod, nor do I intend to buy one if Apple is going to keep behaving like this, so I don't know what the license says.) Therefore they are effectively using the term "Hacker" in the sense in which we would like them to use it, except they are implying a negative connotation. Am I the only one who remembers when free thinkers and hackers (as we know them) preferred Apple? Now Apple is crapping on them - par for the course, but still inappropriate.

      "Apple could potentially become the Microsoft of online music," they say. But this could only potentially happen by cannibalizing iPod sales. The iPod would be akin to the "PC"; the iTunes Music Store would be "Windows". (Remember: Microsoft never made computers)

      We're talking about online music here. Whether Microsoft made computers or not is utterly irrelevant. In fact Microsoft has recently been making forays into hardware (mostly peripherals, of which they have made/marketed many) and will certainly continue this trend. A digital jukebox is not far off. Hence, in this particular market, they are directly competing; Should Apple continue to play games like this with its customers, they very much will be the "microsoft" in their market, providing a locked platform which they only allow people with whom they are in some sort of strategic alliance to modify. The only dissimilarity I can see is that they actually created the software they're trying to control, but they are also controlling hardware by controlling the software and I find that inappropriate.

      If you think it's reasonable for Apple to use an unjust law to control a product which consumers pay for and expect to own, then that's your business. Feel free to go buy an iPod. But, I disagree with your belief that what Apple is doing is something that we should sit down and take, especially since iTMS is practically a loss leader to sell iPods anyway - they make practically nothing when they sell music for $0.99/track. Why should Apple

  • by stecoop ( 759508 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:55PM (#9833048) Journal
    Apple has seen sales of iPod boost its bottom line over

    The article talks about Previously, iPod would only play digitally protected songs that carry restrictions and were purchased from Apple's own iTunes music store.
    And Apple is complainig that sales have soared? Apple should see that more means more - more sales due to more formats being played. Now maybe apple should go back to the chain of command and figure out who stuffed in the DMCA trying to get more sales and question that person mangament ability.

    The artcile continues by saying Apple has a variety of legal steps. Does this mean that once you own a piece of hardware you can't update the software? Hmm Sounds like they would like to go after the FOSS community if somoeone released an updated iPod OS. RealNetwork would put the legal team on ends if it released the updated source to the community.
  • by squarefish ( 561836 ) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:56PM (#9833062)
    just two weeks ago at the 2600 hope conference [] in NY, Steve Wozniak [] was using the proper form of the word hacker and highly suggested that people should hack often and use it as a tool for learning.
    what real did was to try and bypass something to profit off of it because apple wouldn't let them in on a market that apple is basically controlling right now. real is trying to steal something they don't have any rights to. this is not hacking!
    • by Halo1 ( 136547 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:05PM (#9833187)
      What stealing?? You can only steal something that is someone else's property. What did Real steal, even if you include intellectual property as things that can be stolen? Did they infringe a patent? Did they infringe copyright? They they abused a trademark from Apple?

      No, they simply reverse engineered FairPlay to create a product that can interoperate with the iPod. Is that also stealing nowadays? It's like saying that those companies making clone cartridges for inkjets are stealing from the printer manufacturers... Nobody has a right to a particular amount of profit, and depriving someone of profit by offering an alternative is *not* stealing, it's called competition in a free market.
    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:07PM (#9833230) Homepage
      This is no more stealing than copying an MP3 is. Show me what was taken in quantifiable terms, and I'll believe you.

      No, this is the reverse engineering of a product - for profit. It was legal until recently, as such things are - now get this - conductive for business competition. However, what with the DMCA, such things are made illigal to protect big-business interests.

      How quickly the collective mind forgets. Not long ago there'd be not one person on slashdot which would support Apple's tactics, and now mostly everyone is falling in, "Real is evil!" What nonsense. Sure, it's criminal what they did, thanks to the DMCA, but it's no different than making an after-market part for a vehicle (steering wheel, seat, stereo, etc.) without getting explicit permission from the vehicle manufacturer - which, last I checked, is fully legal.
      • The DMCA expicitly allows reverse-engineering for interoperability. That's exactly what Real did, they reversed engineered so it would be interoperable with their service.

        I don't think Apple could win this fight. There's plenty case law to support Real, and the DMCA doesn't seem to trump it.

        For instance, GameGear vs Nintendo back in the day. They reverse engineered the NES, came up with a cheat device. Nintendo fought tooth and nail, and lost. To this day, there are gamesharks for every console, none
  • Bear this in mind. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:57PM (#9833068) Homepage Journal
    They want you to think different. They even make you an operating system that seems ideal for hackers.

    The point Apple is trying to make is that they admire and appreciate innovation, so long as it is their own. But don't try to do anything too crazy with their hardware or software.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:57PM (#9833072) Journal
    who owns the hardware? Apple or the User. No doubt that DMCA will come into play and soon. This should be interesting to see how it plays out.
  • Oh boy! (Score:3, Funny)

    by jandrese ( 485 ) * <> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @12:57PM (#9833077) Homepage Journal
    Now I can spend $300 on a music player AND get to use Real's spyware laden buggy hard-to-use interface! How can I loose?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:00PM (#9833118)
    Did a corporation use Was the encryption--Y-->Did someone reverse
    encryption to prevent-Y->in question engineer the system,
    their customers from pathetically weak? allowing for more
    fairly using purchases? | /--consumer choice?
    N-------N---<------<----N----<--+----<--- <-<No.. . |
    | \ Y
    N<------N----<---Did the corporation Did this new<--+
    | react violently, <--Y-software enable
    | Was the<--Y--slander hackers, fair use?
    | corporation and fire off legal
    | Apple(tm)(R)? threats using DMCA to suppress speech?
    | | |
    | Yes +No-->Oh my God those assholes! It's time we put this source
    |_ | code on a T-shirt! Time to contribute to the author's
    \ / legal defense fund! Time to call our senator and tell
    No big deal! him to repeal the evil, flawed DMCA! Time
    Time to play "Quake!!!" to practice "civil disobedience!". Time
    to write "distributed peer to peer"
    corporate-subversion software! Time to call for a radical reform
    of copyright laws! Time to decry Palladium(tm)(R) design and
    distribution as a grand scheme to put us under the lock and key
    of DRM! Time to raid DVD-Jon's jail cell with Dimitri as lead
    commando! Time to hack Hillary Rosen's web site and deface statues
    of Jack Valenti! Quick buy another 2600 T-Shirt!
    By the way, wouldn't it be great if Devo was 99c a song?
    God I still remember the HACKER MANIFESTO!!!!
    • by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:29PM (#9833598) Homepage

      I like it

      However, I think the important factor in this case isn't that "the corporation was Apple" but "the evil hackers" were Real.

      Real has managed to tick off people so much in the past that they just can't let go of it, and anything that punishes them - right or wrong - MUST be good because "Real sucks".

      Kinda like all the people who were cheering about the browser plugin patent suit against Microsoft. Much as I despise Microsoft corporation, I thought that for once they were in the right (even if only by coincidence) there.

      Same here - I dislike Real's past (and present?) habits of hiding the 'free' players on their sites, their nagware, the software's instability...but in this case I think they're in the right - they've apparently "clean-room" reverse-engineered Apple's format to expand interoperability. Their motive may not be pure, but that's irrelevent here.

      Apple's "Hackers are evil" implication kinda sets back my opinion of them as a company who'd learned to play nice with others.

  • Eh, what? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZiZ ( 564727 ) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:00PM (#9833128) Homepage
    Previously, iPod would only play digitally protected songs that carry restrictions and were purchased from Apple's own iTunes music store.

    This is silly. Previously, the iPod would play any MP3 or AAC (or WAV, or Audible - not sure if it handled any other formats) you stuck on there, assuming that if you HAD bought it from the itunes store you had also authorized the ipod. I should know - I have yet to buy more than three songs from iTMS, yet my 30 gig iPod is all but full.

  • by gorbachev ( 512743 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:01PM (#9833139) Homepage
    What would the DVD market be like, if every DVD players only worked with the manufacturer's owned (or endorsed) DVD store?

    I applaude Apple for showing RIAA that there is another way to market music.

    I applaude Real for taking the first step to end device lock-in. Device lock-in is bad for consumers. I do think they're going to lose against Apple, but by taking the first step, one can only hope some day iPods will no longer be exclusive to iTunes and vice versa.
    • by g00z ( 81380 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:45PM (#9833893) Homepage
      Funny, as I understand it, there is no device lock-in that I'm aware of on the iPods.. You can still transfer plain old mp3's right? Anybody can create an mp3 with lame or blade, so what's the beef exactly?

      Oh, it's because you can't transfer Real media files to your iPod.. Here's an idea Real -- if you want Real media files to play or be transfered to an iPod how about releasing a Real media conversion tool?

      Real media itself is the lock-in. Once you have a Real media file, you will ALWAYS need Real player to listen to it. MP3's on the other hand...

      Sorry, this is nothing like a DVD player that only works with the manufacturer's owned store. If anything it's like a DVD player that doesn't play Beta Max tapes. Real media should have died a long time ago.
  • Fine then, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by herrvinny ( 698679 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:01PM (#9833142)
    Fine then, can't Apple modify it's software to mess up Real's modifications?

    That way, it'll just become a compatibility war, like when Microsoft, AOL, and Yahoo modify their IM software to prevent third parties from accessing their networks.

    I'm sure Apple will find a way to block Real, by legal or technical means.

    By the way, I have 4 mod points, I really wish I could use them on this topic, but as I'm posting... oh well.

  • Startling honesty (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EnglishTim ( 9662 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:02PM (#9833149)
    From the bottom of the article:

    "The reason would not be because Real is a threat (they aren't), but because of the precedent it sets," he added in the e-mail. "Microsoft will be coming out with their own online music shop this fall, and they will be a threat. Better to nip such competition in the bud." (My emphasis)

    God forbid that we might have competition in the marketplace!
  • by Wildfire Darkstar ( 208356 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:02PM (#9833157)
    The linked article states "Previously, iPod would only play digitally protected songs that carry restrictions and were purchased from Apple's own iTunes music store."

    This seems to be patently untrue, as it's hardly a state secret that the iPod can play un-DRMed songs perfectly well. I suppose I can simply be parsing the paragraph wrong, but they seem to refer to this again when they bring up the DMCA, specifically citing the provisions against "illegally copying software" (and not, as would make somewhat more sense, the reverse engineering angle).

    It wouldn't be the first time a major news outlet got the technical details wrong, but this really completely misrepresents the nature of both Real's initial actions and Apple's reaction....
  • by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:03PM (#9833159) Homepage Journal
    ...was nothing. Ignore it. Who cares? No one is going to buy Real's crappy encoded format music. Apple looks like the bad guy by telling people what to do with hardware they purchased. Replace Real with some guy from Finland and ".rm" with ".ogg" format and see if you still agree.
    • by mcspock ( 252093 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:59PM (#9834099)
      Nope, Apple has a legit concern here. Right now if they want to change the DRM scheme they use to make it more secure, they can do it without much hassle; they own the end-to-end solution. They just update iTunes, IMS, and the iPod firmware, and implement something to convert the older DRM.

      If they have to monitor content Real is creating, they are in a more difficult situation; what if Real fucked up their implementation, and the content they generate works well enough but is not within spec? Now apple has to check their conversion process with multiple versions of real's format, which may or may not be proper M4P.

      Seriously, Real fucked up bigtime by not licensing.
  • by Exmet Paff Daxx ( 535601 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:04PM (#9833180) Homepage Journal
    Remember Apple? Remember the SE? Remember how if you bought a PC, it wasn't as nice, but because the hardware wasn't kept in a Cathedral but rather in a Bazaar, you could hack it, configure it, trade it, build it yourself? Here's the Apple mentality that kept them from competing successfully with Microsoft all over again: We Are The Shrine Upon High, Interoperate And Die!

    BSD-based or not, Apple still has the same problems with their overprotective, self-infatuated management. They've failed to take ESR's lessons to heart, and this jealous hoarding of a good idea will cause them to lose it... AGAIN.
  • by Erwos ( 553607 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:07PM (#9833226)
    Gotta love the hypocrisy of /.. Apple threatens to invoke the DMCA against Real, and there's applause and cheers. Creative licenses a software patent to id, and there's mass boycotts threatened.

    If Apple actually does invoke the DMCA, I'm not going to buy or use any of their products for the next ten years. Do the right thing, Apple: drop the DMCA threats, license to Real, and put on a good face about the situation.

  • Real OK? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by epexegesis ( 733596 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:07PM (#9833229)
    I haven't read the DMCA, but the article says:
    Real said Monday its engineers worked out a way for its files to be compatible with iPod solely through analysis of publicly-available information.

    Wouldn't any security measures require that you can't break it using public information. If you can break it using public information then it's not really secure, hence Real aren't breaking any copy protection stuff.

    Anyway, I like the sound of having more control over personal equipment.

  • bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:09PM (#9833270) Journal
    DRM vs. DRM. A pox on both their houses.
  • License on iPod box (Score:5, Interesting)

    by numbski ( 515011 ) * < minus poet> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:10PM (#9833281) Homepage Journal
    I just happened to look at the box of the iPod while moving this past weekend. The box says by opening this product you agree to the software license.

    So here's my question:

    If you're not using the software, can apple make you agree to the software license?
    • by Vandil X ( 636030 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:36PM (#9833716)
      If you're not using the software, can apple make you agree to the software license?
      You are using the iPod's pre-loaded firmware/OS which requires iTunes to load music/manage the iPod.

      To use iTunes, you must accept the iTunes software license.

      Therefore, to use your iPod, you must accept the iTunes software license.

      That's the Catch-22.
  • by ChipMonk ( 711367 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:12PM (#9833315) Journal
    So much for "Think Different."
  • by grunt107 ( 739510 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:16PM (#9833383)
    One of the prime casualties of the DMCA, reverse engineering, will forever weaken the progress of innovation.
    Tinkerers have long disassembled 'things' to understand how they worked. This knowledge to other, sometimes better 'things'.
    Now it is illegal to disassemble someone's thing (software in this case) to learn how to make it better or use it in a different manner. This means the creator of the original 'thing' is the only one that could improve said thing - or forever lose its improvement.
  • by Dr.Dubious DDQ ( 11968 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:16PM (#9833384) Homepage

    This is unspeakably wrong! A company spends MILLIONS, perhaps even BILLIONS to come up with their own proprietary mechanism for exchanging files between their OWN services, and some damned upstart comes along, reverse-engineers it, and has the AUDACITY to make their OWN service interoperate with it...WITHOUT PERMISSION?!?!?

    All of that money that the company spent, down the drain, because some "hackers" figured out how their carefully crafted system works! This is wrong and unfair!

    Our course is clear! We must NOT support the evildoers who have committed this foul act of hacking! BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT!

    We must NEVER use SAMBA [] AGAIN!!!!!

    Wait...who were we talking about again?....

  • by TyrranzzX ( 617713 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:17PM (#9833401) Journal
    They're reverse engineering something so they can add functionality to it. Seems to me real isn't doing anything illegal here. They aren't reverse engineering and selling their own I-pods or anything, they're giving users a different way to use their I-pod's.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to have an i-pod with realplayer on it. Afterall, it'd request to be connected back to the internet so it can upload my listening statistics or something.
  • What's the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AndyChrist ( 161262 ) < minus caffeine> on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:24PM (#9833519) Homepage
    Who actually uses realaudio, other than sites like Amazon? I mean, is there ANYONE who keeps realaudio files on their personal machine, for example?

    Real ceased to be relevant about 7 years ago. Bleh.
  • Sounds Like... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:25PM (#9833530)
    Sounds like what AOL Instant Messaging periodically does to the other IM services.

    Seriously though, if Apple keeps this up they should be prosecuted for attempting to maintain an illegal monopoly.

    Imagine, if you will, that your Chevy only ran on Chevy Gas. And every time someone else formulated a compatible gasoline, Chevy installed a new carburetor as part of a "performance upgrade" that only ran on their, new next, version gasoline. How long would that be allowed?

    Historically Apple has not been friendly to competition, when it's on their turf. Remember clone Macs a few years ago? They waffled on that faster than John Kerry.

  • by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:28PM (#9833576) Homepage Journal
    If Microsoft is a monopoly, Apple is surely a failed attempt at one. Apple has a long history of intentionally breaking their products so that they will not inter-operate with other products.

    Remember back when Jean-Louis Gassée held up a telephone when asked how to make Macs and PC's work together on the same network? Apple not only wasn't interested in having Macs inter-operate with PC's on a LAN, they were openly hostile to the idea.

    Anyone else remember the voodoo one had to go through to get a standard SCSI hard drive or CDROM drive to work in a Mac? Remember the bullshit that Apple tried to spout when asked about this? They tried to say that SCSI was an electrical standard and not an interface standard. Yeah, right. The truth of course was that their partitioning tools and CDROM drivers were specifically written to check for a tag in the drive's firmware and fail if that tag was not found.

    Any company that is going to play keep-away like that will NEVER receive a dime from me.

    It's this kind of snobbish nonesense that really made me dislike Apple, regardless of what the company used to be like back in the Apple II days.

    This is why I won't buy an Ipod. That and the whole bullshit issue with the batteries not being replacable. I hear they've fixed that now, but it never should have been an issue in the first place.

  • Hypocrites, all! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:31PM (#9833633) Journal
    Wow. The level of Apple fanboyism just blows me away...

    People work tirelessly to get Linux to run on the XBox, against MS's wishes, and we cheer them on.

    People modify their TIVOs, in violation of both their warrantee and (probably) the DMCA, and we ask how to do it ourselves.

    A disposeable digital camera hits the market, and do we feel "concern" that the poor manufacturer will get raked over the coals as soon as a way to get at the memory hits the 'net? Hell NO! We ask where we can buy a few, anticipating the eventual crack!

    But Real, after trying to convince Apple to make a deal with them, manages to open up the iPod, a HARDWARE device that people BUY, to play RealMedia content on, and suddenly everyone starts crying for Apple and damning Real?

    Pathetic. If you replaced "Apple/RealMedia" with "Microsoft/Ogg", we'd have taken to the streets ready to lynch Microsoft over their suppression of open audio formats.

    Please, people, try to use just a little bit of introspection before jumping to Apple's defense. Even try the example I gave above - If you replace "Apple" or "Jobs" with "Microsoft" or "Gates", would you feel the same? Or perhaps even more painful to contemplate, what if Apple had hacked the Nomad, against CL's wishes, to play their DRM'd AAC files? "Bad, evil DMCA violation", or "noble and liberating support of their customer's rights to use the music they legitimately purchased"? If those don't hurt to contemplate, well... "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt".
  • by localman ( 111171 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:35PM (#9833708) Homepage
    Typing this on my 17" Powerbook and listening to my 3G iPod...

    Apple is being lame.

    Why do companies fight so hard to keep from reaching more customers and giving them what they want? Apple says they want to grow market share but they aren't doing a very good job. They spend a substantial portion of their energy preventing customers from doing what they want. Not that this is uncommon. But it's still stupid.

    And to all the apologists -- the DMCA is a destructive law and anyone who uses it is playing games with your freedom. Grow up: you can love the good things a company does and still hate the bad things a company does.

    I love Apple's OS and hardware, and I think their business practices suck. As long as people defend them for this stuff they'll keep shooting themselves in the foot. Give Apple a little tough love, eh?

  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @01:49PM (#9833962) Journal
    Since, what, OS 10.1 or so Apple software has been able to interopt with Microsoft Exchange servers, collect mail and browse windows networks. In other words, Macs can now compete with PCs in a workplace environment. Microsoft has not said a peep or threatened to invoke the DMCA (not that they could since interoptability is addressed by the DMCA, I suppose).

    How is what Real did any different? They took a product, reverse engineered it and implemented their own technology to work with Ipods. If Real is guilty of violating the DMCA then so is Apple. Hello, Pot? Yeah, this is the Kettle Black...
  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:03PM (#9834167)
    Why don't they just sell non-DRM songs? That's what everyone here wants, right? "Apple is wrong for not licensing FairPlay" and "Apple is wrong for putting DRM on their songs." Funny how everyone here realizes that DRM is a necessary compromise in order for the legal online music business to take off the minute Apple does something they don't like.

    The online music business is just starting out, and Apple wants to cement its place there. Real knows that its only chance at surviving the initial culling of the online music stores was to partner with Apple, and Apple knows that too. The problem is that Real is a competitor, and Apple doesn't want them to survive. Right now, iTunes and the iPod feed off each other. Let's think about what would happen if Apple licensed FairPlay to other music stores.

    First of all, the small profits from the iTunes Music Store vanish. Second of all, Apple becomes responsible for making sure that future iPod firmware revisions will work correctly with everyone else's stuff. If they just say, "Screw it, we'll leave it to the licensees to check," then customers get pissed at Apple for issuing a firmware update which breaks their music purchased from other stores. Thirdly, Apple's massive marketshare in the nascent market goes starts trickling away. So can anyone tell me exactly what they stand to gain by doing this?

    Now, licensing FairPlay for use by other portable players could be beneficial later on. Right now, the iPod and iTunes complement each other, but I don't think that act will keep up. The iPod is helping iTMS get off the ground and become an online music giant. Once iTMS gets on its feet, it won't really need to be an iPod-selling vehicle. Everyone and his mother wouldn't be jumping into this business if they didn't think there was a money-maker in the long-term. Once iTMS becomes a profitable entity by itself, then Apple can invite everyone who doesn't use an iPod in.
  • by Len ( 89493 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @02:20PM (#9834442)
    My first Apple came with a listing of the ROM code. By adopting "the tactics and ethics of a hacker" I was able to modify it to do cool stuff like printing text on the graphics screen.

    Those were the days.
  • by codemachine ( 245871 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:29PM (#9837128)
    Apple should be embracing music stores that have the iPod as the "recommended" players. This would've been the ideal way to keep Dell out of this market, and would've hurt Microsoft's efforts as well.

    Apple had it good when Dell was selling iPods, and did even better by getting HP to do the same. But then things went worse...

    - Dell started selling their own player. No doubt that MS and Dell together are a huge threat to iTMS and iPod.

    - Linspire/Lindows recommends the Dell player for LSongs. Apple missed a huge opportunity on the Linux side of things. They should've worked with Linspire to make LSongs the iTunes for Linux. (Although one could argue that Linspire has a lot more motivation to work with Dell than with Apple, for reasons outside the realm of the music industry.)

    - Real wanted to partner with Apple. Right now Real isn't selling hardware, only songs. They do not want to go the .wmv route because of their competition with Microsoft, and Real's use of mpeg4 throughout their products makes them a logical licensee for Quicktime and FairPlay. I suppose it also makes them a big competitor in this sector, but a less dangerous one than MS.

    Apple makes most of their money in this business off of iPod sales, so having manufacturers sell iPods, and having music stores recommending them can only be good. If every music store is recommending iPods, and most manufacturers are selling them with their PCs, then Dell and MS would have a hard time penetrating the market. The "all my friends have iPods" and "all the stores recommend iPods" barrier would be tough to break.

    By trying to keep the iTMS pie for themselves, they've created a group of stores that'll gravitate towards the Dell and MS solution. This hurts the Quicktime and Macintosh brands as much as iPod and iTunes.

    Of course Apple might have another route planned. They saturate the market with as many iPods as possible. Eventually everyone who wants a portable player will have one of some sort, so sales will stagnate. They make sure that the only major store selling AAC for all those iPods is iTMS (and maybe some licensed hardware partners who help sell ACC enabled players like HP). Therefore they can keep a huge portion of the market share for online music buyers, long after the players stop selling like crazy. If iTMS doesn't profit now, they can always bump up the price a little bit due to their near lock-in. They also keep a lock-in on the iPod, as all these iTMS files with FairPlay that everyone has bought will not play on competing portables.

    Unfortunately the second route won't work for Apple for two reasons. One is that Dell and MS are already building many allies in this market, whereas Apple is being very selective in who they will partner with. The Windows monopoly will help MS a great deal here. The other is that the iTMS and iPod lock-in is too easy to break. FairPlay can be cracked, the iPod can be hacked to play other formats, and stores can always sell mp3s which will play on everything. Apple's fights against these developments will only serve to make them less popular, and give their competitors more allies.

    The minute Apple uses the DMCA, they lose a lot of respect in some tech circles. Right now they are the only people in the music industry seem to "get it", and we love them for this. But bringing in Apple legal against Real may show how much at least one part of the company does not "get it". Unfortunately it seems Jobs has a big enough ego and enough hatred of Real to back the lawyers on this one, to whatever ends are necessary. Maybe Read deserves it too, but that doesn't stop this from hurting Apple.
  • by nothing_better_to_do ( 801343 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @05:57PM (#9837472)
    Not to beat a dead horse, but just wanted to add that you are kidding yourself if you think that this is about Apple being a bunch of evil, anti-consumer bastards and Real carrying the torch of freedom trying to free us from the tyranny of DRM here. Real wasn't concerned with our best interests or wishes here -- they were concerned with being able to sell songs to a larger audience, making more money and doing it as cheaply as possible (through reverse engineering). There is nothing worth applauding here folks in terms of companies caring about end-users and freedom. Get over it.
  • iPod Disclaimer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ztirffritz ( 754606 ) on Thursday July 29, 2004 @06:00PM (#9837502)
    I think that all Apple can do in this case is make it blatantly obvious that if you install any 3rd party software or patches from any other company on the iPod the warranty is void and support is discontinued. I think that if you buy an iPod then you own it, but if you modify it then you're on your own. The selling point of the iPod is that it is a seamless integration with iTunes. The average user won't be able to understand that their problems were caused by Real instead of Apple if their iPod quits working. Unfortunately, this is the corporate equivalent of the "fight or flight response". Real has 1 (one) digital player that supports their format. Apple has 1 (one) that supports their format. The player that supports Real's format accounts for maybe 1-2% of the market and is dropping, Apple's player accounts for 40-60% of the market and is increasing. Real has realized that their only hope for survival is to get their format on the iPod. If Apple agreed to let them in it would be no problem. If Real figured out how to do it without screwing up the iPod, no problem. Real has essentially squatted in Apple territory and placed Apple in a bad situation. If they break Real's hack, either accidentally or intentionally, Apple looks like the bad guy to the consumer. The only other option is to support Real's hack, essentially condoning their squatter's rights. Apple absorbs all of the responsibility, while Real reaps the rewards...Option 3, which is a very Microsoft style tactic, is to sue the other guy until they give up or run out of money. Either way the problem is solved. Eventually Microsoft is going to enter this fray like a bull in a china shop and we'll all lose...
  • Castlevania (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) * on Thursday July 29, 2004 @09:40PM (#9839388)
    Apple being pissed at Real has little to do with the iPod or iTunes. What this is really about is Quicktime. Quicktime is the reason Steve Jobs laughed at Glaser for wanting to license FairPlay. Quicktime is required to use iTunes and to play their protected AAC files. Allowing Real to use their AAC implementation will make iTunes and thus Quicktime entirely unneeded to own an iPod.

    Apple is in competition with Real. The Quicktime format and exclusive codecs (Sorenson et al) is in competition with Real and Microsoft and their formats and exclusive codecs. Until the iTunes for Windows Quicktime was largely in decline on Windows. With fewer Quicktime users there's less demand for Quicktime formated content. Without Quicktime formated content Apple and their user base end up at the mercy of Real and Microsoft in the media realm. Microsoft has already essentially crippled WMP for the Mac, its only a matter of time before it is canceled entirely.

    If Quicktime on Windows were to die the Quicktime user base would shrink precipitously. It would no longer be viable for media companies to use the format so they'd switch entirely to Real or Microsoft owned formats. Microsoft would surly kill WMP for the Mac at that point leaving Mac users unable to access vast amounts of online content. Without the ability to create widely accessible content on Macs (Windows Media) people would stop buying them for content creation. Eventually people would stop buying them entirely since they wouldn't be able to view anything but old Quicktime files.

    Using the DMCA is a bit absurd in this case all else being said. Apple doesn't have any say in how exactly I use my iPod once I take it home after paying umpteen hundreds of dollars for it. If I want to go home and install Linux on it that is my prerogative. I can understand them not wanting RealMedia files on the iPod but they're going about this is a very bad way.
  • by goMac2500 ( 741295 ) on Friday July 30, 2004 @04:07AM (#9841498)
    Connect the dots, its quite simple. In theory: 1) Real implements iPod support, Apple lets it go. 2) Microsoft implements iPod support (WMA->MP4 translator) with their music store. 3) WMA now plays on iPod 4) iTunes dies because Windows already comes with iPod software. 5) AAC dies along with iTunes 6) Microsoft now has control of the audio market 7) Microsoft cuts AAC support in update, iPod is toast. If Apple allows Real to get away with this, it leaves the door wide open for Microsoft. They know Real can't make a dent in iTunes, even with this. However, Microsoft is a huge concern. If they got iPod syncing running, they could include it with Windows, thus killing off iTunes and giving them free reign of the audio format world.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"