Apple's reluctance to license its FairPlay digital rights management technology has attracted criticism - but the critics are wrong, argues John Gruber.
Gruber has written a convincing, powerful counter argument to recent reports that speculated Apple will lose its dominant digital music market lead should it fail to accept initiatives like Reals' Harmony hack.
This is not the case, he argues. The whole discussion is predicated on misinformation, he explains. Apple may offer rights-management on its singles downloads, but also supports MP3 and AAC in iTunes and on iPods.
Most music consumers buying an iPod will use iTunes to rip the tracks they already legally own, he explains. The product plays more than just songs acquired from music stores.
He also dismisses arguments that Apple is repeating mistakes made in the eighties, when Microsoft took the PC market.
This is not the case, he argues, because Apple at that time had ten per cent, not 70 per cent of the market. Apple is in a stronger position now than it was then, he explains.
"Whether you like it or not, there’s a high-stakes competition going on to establish a de facto standard digital rights management format, and at the moment, Apple is winning," Gruber concludes.
If Apple opens up its own technologies, that would threaten the company, he adds, and in the battle to create a standard "Apple will not give RealNetworks or Microsoft a helping hand", he says.