Alex Salkever of BusinessWeek says that Appleis 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, theyill 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 thatill make it much harder for massive file-swapping networks to survive. Even encrypting the traffic wonit 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, Appleis 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 Appleis 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).
Thereis a lot more in the full column, and we recommend it as a good read.