Day 15: Steve Jobs

He's not ill, he's resting. On his laurels, that is.

"If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own." -- Steve Jobs, May 2002

And yet, here we are, over 6 years later, and Steve Jobs's Apple is the only major vendor of digital music that is actively preventing this.

Steve Jobs: Head in the sand

In May 2007, Steve Jobs said, "We expect more than half of the songs on iTunes will be offered in iTunes Plus [DRM-free] versions by the end of this year." We haven't done the math, but it sure seems like Apple has dropped the ball -- iTunes still only offers tracks from EMI and some independents in this form.

Meanwhile, their competitors have made liars out of Steve. The persistent claim from Apple has been that the record labels won't allow them to offer DRM-free music. Strangely, and others don't seem to be having issues with this. So the truth seems to be more that Steve doesn't like the terms Apple are being offered and would prefer to continue the current business model of profiting by taking away the freedom of their customers.

It's also important to remember that iTunes isn't just about music anymore. Their movie rental service is fully locked down with DRM, not even permitting you to simultaneously have a movie on your computer and your portable device. Jobs is still fully committed to DRM in the world of movies saying, "Video is pretty different from music...". Of course being the largest individual shareholder in Disney has nothing to do with that double standard.

We hope Jobs gets the message, stops pointing fingers at others, and starts to actually live up to the statements he's made. We'll continue pressuring the labels as well, but there's no excuse for him to continue hiding behind them.