Apple deftly deflects responsibility
Bravo! Steve Jobs’ “Thoughts on Music,” published as an open letter on the company’s website yesterday, is an excellent PR job. Essentially, Steve Jobs calls for an end to digital rights management and puts the blame on the record labels for locking users in. According to Jobs, the reason that you can only play iTunes music on iPods is the major labels’ insistence that all downloaded music have DRM. He is of course right that the insistence on DRM is crazy, when you can buy DRM-free digital music on a CD. But his argument that Apple’s FairPlay technology couldn’t be opened up to other vendors is a little spurious.
It surely is no coincidence that his thoughts come at a time when Apple is getting a lot of heat in Europe for being anticompetitive. With this move, he has neatly deflected all the blame onto the big bad record labels – whom everyone already loves to hate. Great job! (Although it really would be nice if you removed the iTunes/iPod lock-in, Steve.)