I really admire Apple’s products, their design, their marketing, the success the company has had in recent years since being on the verge of going bust. They have (or maybe I should say Steve Jobs has) completely turned around the company since coming out with their recent line of Mac computers, Mac OSX and most notably the iPod and iTunes.
While I admire their strategy, applaud their successes, and genuinely love their Mac computers, operating system and iPod range I have one small issue with them. They are beginning to take over the world when it comes to personal music devices. And I don’t like that. Monopolies are bad for the industry, they’re bad for innovation, and they’re bad for consumers.
A recent article published by PC World entitled “Is Apple the New Microsoft?” sums it up nicely as far as I’m concerned. While some of the arguments are a little over the top (Apple aren’t forcing OEM manufacturers to ship their hardware or software), the general jist is true – iPods only work with iTunes. iTunes only works with iPods. Every track ever bought on iTunes will only ever work with an iPod, despite any wishes on the consumers part to buy a Zune, or a Creative Zen Touh, or a …
(ok so maybe the above point doesn’t hold true for me or my peers as the majority of our music is ripped or downloaded from … um … other places, but for the average joe – the guy who isn’t computer-literate, but thanks to his friends or kids can use iTunes – then this applies)
Like the author of the above article said, I’d like to see Apple broaden the support of its hardware and software out to other players – for the benefit of consumers. Allow iTunes to work with any media player. Allow the iPod to play with any music management software. If their products are that good they have nothing to fear and stand to gain from such a move. However, I don’t see this happening anytime soon. As fluffy and cool as their marketing is, the goal of this company, as with any other, is to grow market share and their stock price – not benefit consumers for the good of it.