it went something like this:
Apple force-feeds customers shit, calls it sunshine
This morning, Apple’s Software Updater notified me that there was a patch for my iTunes 4 installation, a 4.1 patch that, according to the release notes, offers:
a number of performance and network access enhancements
including that it
only allows music sharing between computers using iTunes 4.0.1 or later on a local network (in the same subnet)
So, in other words, Apple has “enhanced” iTunes so that it can’t be used to play music from one computer on another if they’re on different subnets (i.e., if you have a computer at home that you stream to from work). Apple’s apologists say that this is to prevent “stealing,” but there are many legitimate uses for the feature (imagine if Paul Frank “enhanced” his jackets by sewing the pockets shut to make them less useful for shoplifters).
Apple has removed a useful feature from its software, and its customers are out in the cold. I paid $50 or so for downloadable iTunes tracks, with the understanding that Apple had sold me something that would stream over the Internet. Yesterday, they had. Today, they took it away. And they called it an “enhancement.” As Winston Smith said to O’Brien, “Don’t piss in my mouth and tell me it’s Victory Gin.”
Sure, I could just skip the update, but how long will that work for? When 10.3 ships next year, will I be able to run an unupdated iTunes on it? Will I have to pickle a computer and keep from updating it in order to continue to use my iTunes music in the way I was promised I could?
Apple wants to be the leader of the Digital Lifestyle pack. The digital lifestyle is all about the fluidity of bits, the fact that all computers on the Internet are, in some sense, in the same place, no matter where they’re physically located.
But Apple is choosing to screw its customers and kowtow to the entertainment interests who have, at various times, tried to ban the piano roll, the radio, the VCR, and the Internet. They’re putting the desires of the companies that tried to ban firewalls ahead of the legitimate expectations of their customers. A digital lifestyle designed by Hilary Rosen and Jack Valenti is a world of “consumers” (us) and “producers” (them). It’s the opposite of the iApps philosophy.
It’s a world I don’t want to live in. Link Discuss
stevecooley – 05-27-2003 08:12 PM ET (US)
Whoa, man.. go easy on apple. 1. it’s a free program that enchances your life by helping you organize. 2. It’s the best way to keep your music with you if you own an iPod. 3.the restrictions are still rediculously generous, and inline with a reasonable amount of sharing through traditional means (borrowing, copying physical media) 4. It’s the best way to buy music I’ve ever used. Maybe you’ve had a better experience somewhere else, and if you have, I’d love to see it.
Cory’s response to me
Cory Doctorow – 05-27-2003 08:20 PM ET (US)
1. It’s a free program that plays music that costs $0.99/track, music in which I’ve already made a substantial investment, in good faith, on the basis that the functionality in their player was there to stay.
2. Who said it wasn’t? But who says it always will be? If Apple is willing to *eliminate features* from iTunes on the basis of the RIAA’s demands, then what guarantee is there that iTunes will do tomorrow everything it does today?
3. Ridiculous, but not generous. “Generosity” implies that they’re giving me something. In fact, I’m giving *them* something. Money. For goods. I’m purchasing music. With an MP3, I can put it on my iPod, stream it to another computer, burn my playlists an arbitrary number of times, and listen to the music on my home server while I’m at work. Those are my rights. I bought the music, I own it. With Apple’s DRM AACs, I can only do a small subset of those things, at Apple’s whim, subject to change at any time (as has been just demonstrated).
4. eMusic. I can buy music and stream it, rip it, transcode it, move it to another machine, install it on any portable player, back it up, and use it even if my network connection goes down and it can’t be “authorized.”
my final thoughts:
Apple’s one of the very few companies in the computer industry that consistently wins awards for innovation. Apple’s also the most immitated company on earth… Apple has one of the strongest brands on the planet… Yet with all these things, they’re still only in command of a tiny tiny fraction of the total market share. For as passionate as you and I are about Apple and it’s products, it’s still a company that needs to make money, and stay in business, and not get entangled in legal issues that could hurt or even destroy it. We both see the major labels as becoming less relavent, and less powerful. Distribution is the largest portion of service major labels provide, and when that’s irrelavent, they’re irrelavent. The RIAA is a dying entity. They’re not dead yet, but they’re on their way out.
I suggest you listen to Harry Allen’s Interactive Super Highway Phone Call to Chuck D, off Public Enemy’s “Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age” … which is available off the iTunes Music Store…