December 22, 2004
../ Apple Modifies iPod Firmware
Disables RealNetwork's Harmony
Apple Computer, Inc. of Cupertino, California has recently released a firmware update to the iPod that will disable Real Networks' Harmony technology.
Harmony was developed to allow downloadable music purchased at Real's online music store to be played on Apple's best-selling iPod portable music player.
Apple designed the iPod's software specifically so that the only place a user could purchase music for the device was at Apple's own iTunes store.
The simmering public feud between the technology concerns has been brought to a boil once again with this Harmony lobotomy. Any iPod user that
installs the update will render any songs bought through RealNetworks unplayable. This includes all iPods up to the fourth-generation "Click-Wheel" devices and the
new iPod Photo. Apple apparently didn't think it was important to mention the Harmony Death Blow in the materials currently promoting the update.
Apple has been inundated with requests from record label executives, as well as rival online music stores, to allow the iPod to play songs purchased from other online
distributors, but the company has refused to acquiesce. Apple is holding onto its market dominance for as long as it can, since iTunes needs all the revenue it can generate,
just to break even.
The Future: You don't have to be a psychic to read into RealNeworks public response to Apple's update. "RealNetworks is fully committed to providing consumers with
the freedom to use the music libraries they purchase from us on different portable audio devices they acquire, both now and in the future, including the iPod Photo."
Translation: We will again find a workaround to Apple's technology to allow users to download Real songs to their iPod's. The best part of this Cat and Mouse game?
Instead of some shady hacker trying to take down a big technology company, it's two very public companies going head to head...what fun!
>>> Digihear? December 2004
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