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BusinessWeek: The Time Is Now For Windows Version Of iTMS

BusinessWeek: The Time Is Now For Windows Version Of iTMS

by , 11:00 AM EDT, September 3rd, 2003

Alex Salkever of BusinessWeek says that Apple's best window of opportunity (pun ours, and mostly intended) for the Windows version of the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) is now, this Fall. In the latest Byte of the Apple column, Mr. Salkever says that if Apple wants to capture the hearts, minds, and dollars of college music consumers, the company needs to hit the street with its promised iTMS for Windows ASAP. He says that is Apple can do it, the company can capture a big part of what is effectively a brand new segment of back-to-school purchases, MP3 players and digital downloads of music. From the column:

No one will be more open to that sales pitch than college kids. The free-music gravy train is about to come to a screeching halt. Network administrators at institutions of higher learning have looked nervously at the file-swapping madness for the past two years. This year, they'll have to put the foot down. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is liberally doling out subpoenas to Internet service providers and universities, asking to see account records of suspected big-time file swappers, who offered and received illegally copied music over the Net.


That means increased scrutiny of campus networks -- something that'll make it much harder for massive file-swapping networks to survive. Even encrypting the traffic won't help much. Network admins can spot file swappers just through the huge amounts of bandwidth they consume.


The turned-up heat on file-swappers is an enormous opportunity for Jobs & Co. At the moment, Apple's online-music deals are the next best thing to free. You can copy the songs just about every which way imaginable and still not run afoul of Apple's digital-rights policy. (Crossing international borders is the glaring exception. Apple built rules into its iTunes music software that invalidate Music Store purchases when a user tries to press play outside the country where the song was purchased).

There's a lot more in the full column, and we recommend it as a good read.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Mr. Salkever is dead-on, as he often is. Steve Jobs has proven prophetic when he said that no one else would be able to match Apple's ease of use and customer experience with the iTMS, but that doesn't mean that Apple can't still lose the Windows market for music downloads by allowing everyone and their brother to beat them to market.

Still, Apple has said the Windows version of the iTMS would be available before the end of 2003, and that may be plenty of time. It would be nice if the company could be there for kids returning to college campuses, but it is more important for Apple to get it right the first time, like it did with the Mac version of the iTMS, than it is to be there and get it wrong. That's exactly what (BM) did, and that company is paying the price.

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