Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Crunch time for Apple’s music icon

The Financial Times writes about the problems Apple (AAPL) faces in Europe due to the "closed system of the iTunes digital music store and the iPod music player." According to the article, "Norway, Denmark and Sweden said Apple must make music tracks downloaded from iTunes playable on rival devices or get out of their countries. Finland is also looking at intervening. In France, legislation that is in its final stages in parliament would force all electronic devices to be “inter-operable”."

Mark Mulligan at JupiterResearch said, “Digital downloading wasn’t merely failing to get out of the starting blocks; it’s feet were firmly nailed to the starting blocks before Apple came along. Without Apple the digital music market would be half its current size.”

Mulligan argued that "there is no objective reason why legislators and consumers bodies across Europe should target music rather than other electronic devices such as video games consoles."

According to Van Baker at Gartner, "iPod lovers may have the final say." He said, "Consumers are likely to object rather loudly if governments force Apple’s hand and it withdraws iTunes from the market."