Remember Dell’s new music initiative? The one that Rob Enderle works for and then failed to disclose? Turns out they’ve got a secret weapon: the person heading it up is an ex-Apple executive, Tim Bucher, who was briefly Senior VP of Macintosh Hardware Engineering in 2005 and oversaw the development of Mac mini.
Bucher went on to found Zing, which was later bought up by Dell and became the main thrust of their attempt to unseat iTunes and Apple from the top spot in digital music. Zing’s premise is to create an open-standard of music and media that will allow Apple’s rivals to take it on as one force, rather than a bunch of smaller companies. Dell will build the software, then work with hardware manufacturers to establish the standard.
Which sounds well and good, but we already have an open standard, don’t we? I mean, more and more download services have moved to DRM-free MP3s—why do we need some sort of special system for handling them? The example used in the BusinessWeek story is “Imagine if you could download a song from Amazon.com and send it to the mobile phone of a friend or the car stereo of someone who has satellite radio.” That would be cool, no doubt, but why can’t we do that with MP3 now—that’s right, it’s because the music industry has never been big into sharing. I don’t think this is going to go the way Dell thinks it is.
Just in case you’re not with me, let me leave you with this insightful (+1) quote from Mr. Enderle:
“Apple wants to lock you in,” says Robert Enderle, a consultant who has been briefed by Dell. “Dell wants to lock you in to choice.”
That’s right, Dell—you gave that guy money.
This article first appeared on our sister site Mac User US