Steve Jobs is posing

People, come on. When Steve Jobs says stuff like this:

The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

he’s got his eye on your wallet. Google gets a free pass for putting Chinese dissidents in prison because they say “don’t be evil, wink wink.” Jobs sees how well the Good Guy thing works for them and he wants some of that action for Apple.

Watch what they do, not at what they say. Google is wrecking the Internet by piling on more regulation, and Jobs is running a music store, nothing more and nothing less.

Prof. Fast Eddie Felten, the voting machine hacker, nails it:

This is both a clever PR move and a proactive defense against European antitrust scrutiny. Mandatory licensing is a typical antitrust remedy in situations like this, so Apple wants to take licensing off the table as an option. Most of all, Apple wants to deflect the blame for the current situation onto the record companies. Steve Jobs is a genius at this sort of thing, and it looks like he will succeed again.

Pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

5 thoughts on “Steve Jobs is posing”

  1. Good post, but I would argue that Jobs is not trying to emulate the Google “Good Guy” image. Apple invented the Good Guy Tech Company image (yes, that is hyperbole but you get the point). Apple has long been looked at as a good guy: super innovative, fun, and wronged by a world that is focused on cost rather than coolness and innovation.

    This is an attempt to get a little bit of that back. The recording industry realized that Apple has become too powerful in the music industry and is trying to limit the company’s pricing power. To remedy the situationthey brought their concerns to European Regulators, and as Felten suggests, European antitrust regulators have no compunctions about rushing in to force a mandatory license/steal the IP of a dominant company. Strangely enough, the recording companies have been successful at turning little ole’ Apple into the bad guy.

    Anyone who thinks any of this is about consumer welfare is kidding themselves. This is a battle for power between to a supplier and a distributor.

  2. Of course he’s doing this for more reasons than just being nice, and of course he wants ITMS to make more money.

    But it could make more money, arguably, by selling non-DRM music. (Especially if, as is suggested, the big-4 contracts it has now prevent it from carrying any non-DRM music, even from other labels.)

    Plus, DRM is a pile of work and expense for Apple that doesn’t make Apple any extra money. Of course he’d want to get rid of it; FairPlay doesn’t, itself, make Apple a red cent. It exists only to make the big-4 labels happy. Jobs would dump it all in a second if he could, I wager.

  3. Once again I see that my readers are smarter than I am. That “good guy” thing was indeed Jobs’ invention, and Google doesn’t even pay him royalties for using it.

    The object of iTunes is to make money, so “whatever works” is the formula.

  4. Some people (Metcalfe) already get more than enough credit for what they did too little of.
    “That “good guy” thing was indeed Jobs’ invention…”
    Nobody used that before Steve Jobs?

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