Commentary
2/6/2007
07:00 PM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Commentary

Steve Jobs Takes A Sledgehammer To His Own Monopoly

Apple CEO Steve Jobs struck a blow against his own company's monopoly Tuesday, by issuing a public challenge to media companies to start selling their wares without any Digital Rights Management (DRM) at all.



Apple CEO Steve Jobs struck a blow against his own company's monopoly Tuesday, by issuing a public challenge to media companies to start selling their wares without any Digital Rights Management (DRM) at all.

Jobs lays out the case that Internet libertarians have been making for years: DRM doesn't work, it's a waste of effort and money, it doesn't help against piracy, and it limits consumer rights. Apple says it's forced to use DRM because the four major media companies require it before licensing their music to Apple. Jobs wants those media companies to let Apple license music DRM-free.

InformationWeek's Antone Gonsalves has the full story. And, to find out more about how Apple's DRM hurts consumers and is bad for business, check out our recent article by Cory Doctorow, Internet anti-DRM activist and co-editor of the blog Boing Boing.

Sometimes it's great to be proven wrong. Over the past few months, it appeared apparent that Apple had, in a sinister fashion, assembled a practical monopoly on the digital music market, forcing media companies to kneel before Apple to get access to iPod-toting consumers, and locking consumers into Apple technology to retain access to their iTunes music. It's great to see Jobs make a public commitment to the free market.

What do you think? Should media companies and consumer electronics companies like Apple abandon DRM? Would they make more money that way?

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