Apple's control-freak tendencies could crush the iPod according to USA Today.

Kevin Maney writes: "The feud between Apple and RealNetworks over music downloads is exposing Jobs' tragic flaw - he seems to be making the same devastating mistakes with the iPod that he made with the Mac 20 years ago."

In 1985 Apple CEO and founder Jobs decided not to license Apple's technology or operating system to any other company. Preferring to keep total control. Microsoft and Intel, who were happy for anyone to buy the licenses and components to make a Windows-based PC, were able to benefit – and made the market their own.

Like the Mac of 1985, the iPod is a closed system. Other than MP3 files, and ripped CDs, only music downloaded from the iTunes Music Store will play on iPods, and iTunes Store music won't play on any portable device except an iPod.

Maney writes: "Apple refuses to license the technology to third parties. Instead of setting a standard for all, Apple wants to own it all. When Microsoft behaves that way, everybody screams antitrust."

Forrester Research analyst Josh Bernoff said: "Consumers are not in the end going to put up with being locked in."

Intel tech investor and former vice president Avram Miller said: "Apple is behaving stupidly as usual with regard to allowing other companies to add value to its products. It can only lead to reducing Apple's share of the market it helped create."

The report includes rather a good rendition of American Pie (but not as good as our version of Mad World).

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