Mama, Don't Take My iPod Away

Guess I really struck a nerve when I wrote about the iPod vs. everything else. Opinions came streaming in at breakneck speed (well, not THAT fast – but I got more than my fair share). I can’t help but wonder if many of you even care about this portable media realm at all? At least someone understands part of my plight:

There is no download on Apple’s site for a version of iTunes that runs on a PocketPC. I am looking forward to the day that occurs. I would settle for a version of iTunes on a desktop machine that could produce something that would play (legally) in the Windows Media Player on my PocketPC. I don’t like that I have to choose an online music service based on what hardware I have. I also don’t want to do a lot of burning and ripping or hacking and cracking to move my music files around. If it comes to that, then I will just go back to buying CDs and ripping those. Even though some in the music industry like the sound of that, in the end, it means I buy a lot less music.

Another reader claims that Microsoft can do at least three things to compete:

  • It can make a device that works with iTunes. Of course, it would have to be better than the iPod. (And this might be really difficult without Apple’s cooperation…)
  • It can make a Microsoft device that works really well with a better version of WMP10. The new WMP10 has to be at least as good as iTunes (not too high a hurdle on the PC side), and the device would have to be better than the iPod. Not just technically or features-better, but better from the consumer’s viewpoint.
  • It can work much more closely with each of the device makers so that a better version of WMP10 works incredibly smoothly with them.
  • It needs to provide software for the device, and use all that research that its paid for to come up with a better device interface than that on the iPod. Then it needs to help the device makers to market its devices. PlaysForSure failed because it was playsalmostforsure, as you’ve noted, and it’s reinforced its reputation for shoddy quality and forfeited some more credibility by this fiasco. It still has enough good will to try it again, but it had better do it right. This whole process is labor intensive, but that’s what its cash hoard is for.

And I think the whole situation is summed up nicely by reader Larry Borsato:

The problem is that Microsoft is a bunch of smart people trying to solve a technical problem. Unfortunately for it, it isn’t a technical problem – it’s a human problem.

[tags]ipod,music,drm,itunes,windows media,portable media,playsforsure[/tags]