European consumer chief targets iTunes

European consumer chief targets iTunes

Summary: According to Reuters European Union consumer chief Meglena Kuneva has come out swinging against Apple's increasingly powerful iTunes/iPod combination.

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TOPICS: Apple
33

Apple iTunes 7 logoAccording to Reuters European Union consumer chief Meglena Kuneva has come out swinging against Apple's increasingly powerful iTunes/iPod combination. In an interview published in German weekly magazine Focus Commissioner Kuneva was quoted as saying:

Do you think it's fine that a CD plays in all CD players but that an iTunes song only plays in an iPod? I don't. Something has to change.

The quote was a preview of an interview to be published on Monday but only represented the commissioner's personal views, not those of the Commission according to spokeswoman Helen Kearns.

I don't think she was stating it as a definitive policy position. At this stage it is her gut instinct.

Norway has given Apple until Oct. 1, 2007 to change their music download system or face legal action and consumer rights groups from Germany, France and Finland have joined forces against iTunes.

Topic: Apple

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33 comments
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  • Despite this notion being good for all...

    I fully expect the anti-EU sentiment to overshadow what is, essentially, the whole crux of the anti-DRM argument.
    Scrat
  • she missing something ?

    Someone should tell her that you can burn songs purchased from iTunes to CD without any problems... and play it on your favorite sound system.
    CoffeeMan99
    • So what?

      Just because there are work-arounds (and not free ones--they cost you at least one blank cd), Apple's DRM is still bad for consumers. Funny to see how people will support something they know is against their own interests. Kind of explains how a lot of our politicians remain in office.
      tic swayback
      • Not about DRM

        Don't fool yourself into thinking the EU's rantings are about DRM. They aren't making
        a lot of noise about the draconian DRM in Vista, or the Zune. No, the real reason is
        something else, and knowing Europe, it probably has to do with a lot of Euros passed
        under the table to some commissioners from some competing companies.
        frgough
        • All companies would be affected

          Apple is the obvious target, because they're the market leader. Any new rulings that change the way Apple must do business would also affect all other download selling companies. Apple is just the most visible target--don't kid yourself, Zune would be just as affected here. I also don't think a lot of the anti-FairPlay sentiment in Europe comes from competing companies bribing officials. I think it comes much more from the copyleft folks who are much better organized and more vocal in Europe.
          tic swayback
          • Ah.

            But this is not always the case. Surely they've gone after market leaders in the past and then fully ignored other companies with lesser marketshare, but the same marketing practices. <br>
            To go after the ipod/itunes then turn around and go after the Zune would be unlike the EC. The Zune's marketshare is too small to matter. And unless you really believe it's about justice, that won't happen.
            xuniL_z
          • It's about the law

            The iTunes store is violating particular laws in the countries in question. If those laws apply to iTunes, they will apply to all other stores that run their businesses in the same way. Do you doubt for a second that the EU will fail to take an opportunity to apply these laws to Microsoft?
            tic swayback
          • What controls

            The amount of the fines levied?
            xuniL_z
          • Couldn't tell you

            Not familiar enough with the laws to know the consequences of violating them.
            tic swayback
          • Are you sure

            <i>The iTunes store is violating particular laws in the countries in question</i><br><br>
            Are you just guessing or are you sure?
            xuniL_z
          • Can't yet be sure

            No court has ruled on anything here, if you read the article, it's all just a bunch of rumblings and saber-rattling. There is some speculation about violation of EU laws as far as selling the products for different amounts in different countries in the EU. I guess we'll have to wait and see if any real action is taken.
            tic swayback
          • My comment was based on your

            earlier comment.<br><br>
            <i>The iTunes store is violating particular laws in the countries in question</i><br><br>
            <br><br>
            Well, at least it sounds like you are ready to stand by whatever decision and remedy the EC decides upon.
            xuniL_z
          • Probably an overstatement

            Sorry about that, perhaps a bit of an overstatement of what's really happening. We'll have to see where things go.

            I'm okay whatever the countries in question choose to do. Personally, I think it's too nascent a market to jump in and try to start steering, but I'll live with whatever is done. In the long run, I don't think it will matter, because the market will correct itself, and reject crippled products like these. Any anti-DRM decision the EU makes will merely speed up the process a little bit.
            tic swayback
          • Here's what will rescue Apple

            Microsoft chime in as a chief complaintant. They have every right from the exclusion of wmp file playback, but the action, in and of itself, underscoring the decision will benefit Microsoft, may quickly change their minds on applicable "law" in this case.
            xuniL_z
        • Well...

          It remains to be seen how this pans out, as the iTunes issue isn't officially before the EC regulators etc.

          However, as far as DRM is concerned this may be the first, "a shot across the bows" if you like, consideration of how and more particularly who to go after in terms of DRM in the EC.
          zkiwi
      • You make a good argument.

        So, you would also argue it's bad for Apple to create an OS and it's content, that will only play/run on Apple hardware?
        xuniL_z
        • Neither is bad for Apple

          Neither strategy, OS nor music, is bad for Apple. The question is whether it's good for consumers.

          Yes, in an ideal world, Apple's system would be more open. Also, ponies would be free, and they'd give out candy on the street corners.

          Exiting the world of fantasy, one must look at the alternatives available on the market. For music, there's unencumbered music readily available. Sadly on the OS market, there aren't any equivalent OSes available that do what Apple's product does (argue quality all you like but Windows and Linux are indeed different, serving different needs with different strengths and weaknesses). As with anything, you need to find balance--is the badness of the hardware lock-in too much to handle in comparison to the positive things the platform delivers? For some, the answer is a clear yes, for others, the platform outweighs the negatives. Each must decide for himself.
          tic swayback
          • In contrast

            <i>Just because there are work-arounds (and not free ones--they cost you at least one blank cd), Apple's DRM is still bad for consumers. Funny to see how people will support something they know is against their own interests. Kind of explains how a lot of our politicians remain in office.
            </i><br><br>
            Are you saying you will support something that you know is against your interests?
            xuniL_z
          • If the balance is in my favor

            ---Are you saying you will support something that you know is against your interests?---

            As I said, it's a balance. In the case of music, there is a cheaper and better alternative. In the case of the OS, the alternatives are not better, at least not for my needs.

            I'll ask you the same question--when any product becomes a monopoly product, that's bad for consumers, as there's no competition to apply pressure. Yet from your comments, you seem to regularly purchase and support Microsoft's monopoly products, despite this being against your own interests. Clearly, there must be some positive factors that outweigh the negatives created by this situation, right? Sadly, life is often a compromise. If Linux were more up to snuff on the desktop and better met my needs, I'd switch in a heartbeat. Sadly, my work in the publishing industry makes that an impossibility at the moment.
            tic swayback
          • Wait

            <i> Yet from your comments, you seem to regularly purchase and support Microsoft's monopoly products, despite this being against your own interests. Clearly, there must be some positive factors that outweigh the negatives created by this situation, right?</i><br><br>
            I didn't state my position. I said you made a good argument, but my comments on your debating skills didn't mean I agreed with you.
            <br>
            Also, I have no clue what I've ever said to make you think I regularly purchase Microsoft's products. <br>
            If I did buy a Vista machine, however, I wouldn't consider it supporting MS's monopoly products. Vista holds a small percentage of the marketplace, so I would be in a minority of users. <br>
            And I wouldn't consider it against my own interests. I would do it because some of the worlds best computer makers have great machines, at fair prices and I can get a great OS on them and do more than I could do on any other computing platform available today. That's why I would do it, if I were going to. <br><br>
            It's too bad you have to feel ashamed of your Mac, but you are the one that lives with it and realizes it's not in your best interest.
            xuniL_z