about business / New Media

I finally agree with Steve Job (sort of)


Those of you, who know me well, will know that I have not been a big fan of Steve Jobs. I first meet Steve at what might have been the first PC Forum’s (Ben Rosen was running it and Ester Dyson was helping him….I remember her then as a young girl in shorts). It was 1981. I was still at Digital and we had just announced our desk top computers (the Professional which I managed, the Rainbow which was lead by Bary James Folsom, and a version of the Decmate word processor lead by Dick Loveland). Ben invited me to speak at this meeting. It was really my first experience with the PC crowd. Attended the speaker’s dinner with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Adam Osborne and many others that we the key early drivers of the PC industry. Then less than three years later, I was the President of Franklin Computer and my company which made a clone of the Apple II was being sued by Apple for copying their O/S. The law suit is very complicated and Franklin never lost it the suite. The company just could not raise money even though it was growing faster than Compaq who at the time was making a clone of the IBM computer. We were a good company really. We addressed markets that were not well served by Apple and we would have been happy to pay Apple a license fee for the operating system. But Jobs would have none of it. So there was no Apple compatible industry and as a result Microsoft won the market for PC software (which worked out great for me personally since I left Franklin and joined Intel). And when the iPod and iTunes came out, I thought “here we go again”. Here is an other closed system that ties the software (in this case the music you buy) with the hardware. And I have and continue to predict that Apple will loss their commanding position in the digital music business if they do not open up their system. As you probably know, Apple has been getting a lot of heat in
Europe for this tie in. So what does Steve do? He blames the music industry saying that because they force Apple to have a DRM system, Apple has to keep their system closed. Does any one believe this was the reason? Stop insulting our intelligence, Steve. He knows that the Music industry will not agree and this way he can continue to blame them.
But, Steve is right (am I really saying this?) in asking the music industry to stop with there DRM requirements. They really do nothing to stop illegal copying of music and they just make it hard on those who want to be honest and buy music on line. You can read what Steve has to say here. DRM systems will never work (the HD DVD’s have already been cracked). Any industry that is at war with its customers will loose.

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