Well wouldn’t this be a turn up for the books…
After being declared illegal in every Scandinavian country going (I think the jury is still out in Finland) iTunes may well be opened up after Steve Jobs suggested its fate lies in the hands of music industry bigwigs.
In a rather unusual step Apple’s CEO has kicked his toys out of the pram by writing an open letter - entitled 'Thoughts On Music' - on the company’s website attacking the likes of EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner and their attitude towards Digital Rights Management (DRM).
He claims that because “90 per cent of their music is DRM-free” then DRM should simply be scrapped outright (no arguments here). Should this occur – a big ask, to be sure – then he claims Apple could licence its FairPlay technology to third parties. This would provide competitors like Creative, Microsoft, SanDisk and Sony to integrate their players with iTunes.
"In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players,” he concluded in a technological 21st century equivalent to John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.
Of course all this is clearly theoretical but for once Apple is showing that it could be willing to share. On the other hand, cynics will argue that the rulings in Scandinavia will fuel similar rulings from other countries and Jobsy is simply trying to strike deals before iTunes is forced to open up by the courts anyway…
Whatever the motivations, however, soon we could all be set to benefit. All, that is, except the iPod.