Napster CEO Chris Gorog is a former file-sharer who thinks Apple CEO Steve Jobs is scared of his company.
In an extensive and highly interesting interview with Engadget, Gorog confirms that he "absolutely used" Napster 1.0's file-sharing service. Unlike Gorog's Napster, Napster 1 emerged as the most popular global network for stealing songs.
He doesn't believe it was the access to free music that drove Napster's success: "It was always about the glee of being able to instantaneously access virtually any song you could think of", he said, calling the "free part almost incidental".
Poacher turned gamekeeper
Napster 1 founder Shawn Fanning has moved on to become a gamekeeper, with his rights-managed peer-to-peer Snocap service. Just like Fanning, Gorog has also move to develop a legitimate business model to profit from digital music services.
He stands by the value of Napster's brand, calling it a "very valuable calling card" for his business. He also beats the drum for Napster's new subscription-based service, Napster To Go, which he claims now has 270,000 subscribers.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs last month contacted music industry executives to let them know the new subscription-based Napster to Go service had a security flaw.
Jobs is frightened, weak
Commenting on this, Gorog said: " My first reaction was that he must be pretty frightened of the Napster To Go technology to be so petty. Frankly, that’s what I think the impetus was for him to fire that off. It was really pretty silly.
"We saw it as a sign of weakness", he added. But Napster "doesn't really compete" with iTunes, he said.
"We feel we could compete with iTunes all day long and frankly kick their butt. iTunes probably has 10 or 15 per cent of the comprehensiveness of what the Napster experience offers," he claims, dismissing Apple's iPod as a "very one-dimensional" experience.
And Gorog's vision of the future?
"Ten years from now we are sitting on top of the legal celestial jukebox. We are one of the biggest names in digital music, if not the biggest. We are ubiquitous, and we are cross-platform," he told Engadget.