eWeek: Apple's iPod Could Be Its Own Platform

If youive been especially good this year, then you are likely the proud owner of a spanking new iPod. In your hands you hold the epitome of current cool, in your ears you hear what you want, when you want to hear it. Now that you have your new iPod, however, are you wondering if playing tunes, no matter how cool that might be, is the be-all and end-all of the iiPod Experiencei?

This very question is pondered openly in a recent eWeek article titled "iPod, Therefore I Am," by Steve Gilmor. In the article, Mr. Gilmor examines digital rights issues that are a backdrop to the plethora of music download services that are popping up like so many dandelions after a Spring rain. In particular, the article looks at the differences between Appleis iTunes Music Store (iTMS) approach to music ownership, and the model being offered by Microsoft. Hereis an excerpt:

The phenomenon known as the iPod is emerging from the shadows of Napster and the Mac to become a force unto its own. As a designer toy, it offers the promise of mobility, the allure of 21st Century Art Deco and the gratification of impulse buying.

But behind the scenes, Apple Computeris MP3 device is the bulwark of an increasingly serious battle for digital rights versus the virtual law firm of Achcroft, Valenti and Gates. With the help of an increasingly pliable Congress, Microsoft has moved rapidly to encapsulate digital content in a digital-rights-management layer of protection.

Opponents on both the left and the right have charged that Attorney General Ashcroft has wrapped an assault on personal privacy and constitutional rights in a blanket of paranoia surrounding the War on Terrorism. Riding this favorable tide, Microsoft and the content industry have turned our fair-use freedoms into an attack on private property. With laws on the books now constraining our ability to obtain hardware devices that allow the same type of copying weive enjoyed for decades, Microsoft is refreshing its product lines to embed the DRM bits in Office, Windows and its suite of servers.

The article goes on to discuss the differences between Microsoftis DRM strategy and the less confining model adopted by Apple. It also discusses how the iPod could become a bigger spoke in Appleis Digital Hub.

Read the full article at eWeekis Web site.