France's move to force manufacturers and digital music vendors to make digital rights management systems interoperable could end up being good news for Apple, an analyst explains.
American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu told clients he believes that making the iPod interoperate with more services could help provide another boost in sales for Apple.
"If one can use other services with an iPod we believe it makes the iPod more universal, versatile, and powerful," he wrote.
While Apple has condemned France's move to force interoperabillity as tantamount to "state-sponsored piracy", Wu doesn't see the company suffering as a result.
"In our view, part of Apple's iPod success has no doubt been driven by its tightly integrated stack. But more importantly, we believe customers are attracted to its key advantages, including ease-of-use, industrial design, iconic brand name, and competitive prices.
"iTunes is more than just the leading online music store, it is also arguably the industry's best jukebox software for managing one's music, photo, and video collection."
The analyst also suggested that he doesn't believe iTunes is the only driver for iPod sales. "We estimate that about two to three dozen songs are purchased from iTunes over the life of each iPod, meaning most consumers get their music another way," he pointed out.
Wu isn't certain which way Apple will go in response to the new rule. While some analysts believe the company will simply withdraw the iTunes Music Store in France, Wu sees compliance with the order as an option.
"Consumers have many choices and, so far, they have voted with their dollars making iPod and iTunes the number one player in France."
He finished by saying: "We believe Apple remains the best-positioned play in the emerging digital entertainment space."
Wu also sees Microsoft's decision to delay shipping Windows Vista as a good position for Apple: "Leaving it with less competition in 2006 in its Mac business and more time to develop its next-generation operating system, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard," he explained.