Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Can I Be the Only Blogger with Nothing to Say About Steve Jobs Open Letter on DRM?

I can't recall ever seeing so much commentary on anything at Techmeme. Steve Jobs writes an open letter to the music industry inviting them to allow him to cut the locks off the music he sells at the iTunes store. And the crowd goes wild. His strongest argument is this: the horse is already out of the barn; why bother keeping the door shut?

Mickeleh's Take: Bravo Steve. Very cool move. Steve Jobs is a master of timing. He bravely asks the industry to drop DRM two weeks after the NY Times says they're already thinking about doing it. That's leadership. Find a parade. Grab a flag. And run to the front, yelling, "follow me, boys and girls!" Works every time. Mr. Gates, you've made a fortune by copying Steve. Please continue.

Another reason for the timing; Europe is giving Apple grief around the DRM lock-in that ties iTunes music sales to the iPod and only the iPod as a portable player. (Steve's letter has a pretty explanation for why Apple can't share it's DRM mojo with anyone else. It's the Ben Franklin defense: "three can keep a secret if two of them are dead." In other words, if Apple shared the secret sauce, then the secret would get out and if the secret gets out, then, according to its deals with the music industry, Apple has to stop selling music.)

You'll notice, by the way, that movie-mogul Jobs isn't thinking about dropping DRM for any of the Pixar and Disney flicks. (Those horses are still in the barn, and we're keeping the door shut tight, thank you very much.) But if Steve won't make the case for dropping DRM universally, Cory Doctorow will. In fact, he already has at Microsoft and at HP.

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