June 20, 2006 [LINK]

iPod wars: Europe vs. Apple

For more than a century, it seems, the Old World has repeatedly expressed jealousy and resentment toward the relentless progress and innovation on this side of the Atlantic. Now Apple Computer is the target, "guilty" of having created the the phenomenally successful iPod. Government regulators in France and other European countries are insisting that Apple make its iTunes software "open source" so that it could run on rival companies' MP3 players. What would be the result of that? Loss of control over the copyrighted music and video files sold by Apple's Music Store, and a rapid drop in iPod's market share. In other words, they want Apple to go back on its commitment to record and entertainment companies to uphold intellectual property rights, and commit business suicide to boot. Are they crazy?? An editorial in Monday's Staunton News Leader put it very aptly:

We suppose this idea makes sense to the bureaucrats who inhabit Europe's grim Old Socialist governmental systems, but to those of us who still care about quality, it just sounds like a formula designed to turn Maseratis into Yugos.

This reminds me of India's attempt to force Coca Cola into revealing its secret formula several years ago. Why on Earth should they relinquish the only thing that gives them a competitive advantage in the market? On a negative note, Apple is investigating accusations that the workers in the main iPod assembly plant in Shanghai, China are laboring in virtual slave conditions. See Washington Post.