DRM gives companies security -- from competition


34 Responses to “DRM gives companies security -- from competition”

  1. show me says:

    Nerd fight! Get the popcorn!

  2. judf says:

    My name is now boingboing..boing. You can call me Mr. Boing.

  3. OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

    Competition isn’t affected. If “openness” is more valuable to the public than protection, then free and open products will dominate the market. Like the OpenPandora project, utterly crushing its rivals, or Linux on the Desktop, currently consigning all competing OSs to the dustbin of history.

    • Nioui says:

      Well, it depends what you try to compete against.

      I can create an iPhone competitor, but I cannot create an AppStore competitor for iPhone users.

      • OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

        Indeed – and the iPhone owners appear to be overwhelmingly satisfied with this situation, since they are failing to vote otherwise with their wallets.

        • Donald Petersen says:

          “Overwhelmingly satisfied”?  When 45% of smartphones sold in the U.S. are Android-based vs the 30% that are iPhones?  When Apple had a 16-month head start?

          I’m far from any kind of expert, but it seems to me that Apple’s market share would be more dominant (and you’d certainly hear less grumbling) if these policies were different.  Then again, that doesn’t address the sheer profitability factor.  As long as they can milk more money from their users by doing things the Apple way, then I can’t imagine they’d bother to change for any remotely altruistic reason.

          • Arvin Alba says:

            iPhone users are overwhelmingly satisfied. What’s Android got to do with Apple owners being satisfied with Apple products?

            Also, when 30% of the market is owned by Apple, when 45% is divided among dozens, maybe even hundreds, of manufacturers? Also, considering that iPhone is priced premium? I don’t really understand why people belittle Apple on such front – that’s actually pretty impressive for a company. Remember that Apple also owns the majority of profits from handsets.

        • Rachel says:

          It’s more like they /can’t/ vote with their wallets. Apple has made it nearly impossible for competition on this front to tale place. What true options are there? 

          • OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

            Well, I personally fully agree, but Android fans are very vocal about it being a valid alternative to iOS, so if you want full freedom to install any apps you want, that’s probably the way you need to look.

  4. PapayaSF says:

    Nitpick: the App Store does not “command high commissions on sales.” Standard retail markup is 50%.

    • Arvin Alba says:

      Also, large portions of those 50% go to manufacturing costs, compared to almost negligible for apps and digital content.

    • trai_dep says:

      Book authors get roughly 10% of SRP from publishers. 30% seems much smaller than 90%. And that’s only if authors charge for their product, otherwise, the Apple cut is 0% (try asking Random House to agree to that).  iTMS is a great value.

  5. retepslluerb says:

    But the profits from the App Store are really miniscule.  The only digital store where Apple makes some real money is iTunes Music – and that one comes w/out DRM.

    And as fas as I know, Apple’s FairPlay has not been broken, or am I mistaken?

    • xian says:

      There’s been a number of ways to strip the drm from iTunes purchases over the years, jHymn comes to mind. I’m not sure of the current state – but not that it really matters anymore anyway.

  6. Pee says:

    “and it is especially circumvented by copyright infringers and malware creators”. Boo, there are also legit users who want to use a product to the fullest as they want to. And not just how the manufacturer thinks we should use it.

    • OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

      Well, aren’t those legit users capable of choosing a different product instead? As far as I know, the right to have your cake and eat it isn’t enshrined on the Constitution.

      • lkjhglkjhg says:

         Ok, so if you buy a house from me, I get to tell you what to do with it for the rest of your life? Can I install special locks on your doors that you are not legally allowed to remove?

        • OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

          If you buy a house, from me or from anybody, you’re supposed to do due diligence first, to see what both the zoning restrictions and the homeowners association allow you to do. If you jump in and buy it expecting that you can do whatever you want with it, and then it turns out you cannot, you have nobody but yourself to blame.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Uh, actually most of the diligence is in the form of mandatory disclosure by the seller.

  7. lavardera says:

    and you really can’t get  Keynote in a box at the Apple Store any more. You have to download it, or order the boxed version online.

  8. Chris-Mouse says:

    @retepslluerb:disqus  – the BBC has a report of Fairplay being broken back in 2006.


  9. I wonder what delights await in the Gatekeeper-updated developer EULA!

    • crimpers says:

      Can’t we just hurry up and get to the corporate singularity where all our everything are belong to the 1 corporate overlord?

      I guess we should probably just root for Google then, because at least they’ll feed us all for free.

      • Rachel says:

        You are one scary person… Why do you want everything to be one big Facebooked kind of mess. i enjoy my privacy, and my right to choose what I consume as far as content goes, and my privacy, as limited as it may be. OCCUPY the internet, and go indie. 

  10. mkultra says:

    The costs of running a moderated online app store and processing cc transactions are quite significant. 30% is a fraction of the markup traditional retailers charge. Of course, as a publicly-held company, those numbers are all public knowledge. iTunes profits are only a couple percent of their overall business ($2b revenue out of $46b overall, so about 4% That number includes all music, apps, and books.). Really the only reason they have an App store at all is as a service to add value to iOS devices  to attract customers.

    I honestly don’t know why I even bother reading Cory’s Apple posts. His criticisms are nearly always ill-considered and very nearly reflexive. If Apple cured cancer, he would argue that they are only doing it to take away patients choice to die how they choose.

  11. Arvin Alba says:

    Apple’s business model involves selling devices at high margins, using the content as lures. They don’t really care so much for profits from any of their iStores. Not exactly the razor blade business model you’re comparing Apple with.

  12. I regularly circumvent eBook DRM. I own a Kindle but not all the books I want are available from Amazon, so I also buy from Google Books and Kobo Books as well but obviously need to remove the DRM in order to covert them to Kindle format. Here, the DRM defiantly is protecting eBook publisher and manufacturers from competition.  I’m not supposed to be able to buy eBooks on the open market.

  13. Thorzdad says:

    I wondered how quickly Cory would aim his AppleGrar at Gatekeeper.
    Seems to me the fact that users have the option to turn Gatekeeper off should negate any supposed negative. But, rage on, if you must.

  14. zk says:

    Apple’s Gatekeeper is NOT DRM. 

    Anyone who writes suggesting that it is just does not understand.

  15. We should work to make it that locking devices and preventing “jailbreaking” is against the Law. Its not just Apple, its all the Telcos, CableCos and companies like Sony.

    We need to make the Makers’ Cred be the law. All devices must be able to be hacked by their owners.

  16. trai_dep says:

    I’m unsure if comparing the iTunes Music Store’s 30% distribution fee to cash register mfrs is fair. Compare it to book publishers  (or, really, any publisher) and it is a much closer fit. In exchange for the marketing boost, the bandwidth charges, the autoupdating features and having an experienced set of eyes to ensure your application meets their standards, Apple takes a cut. ONLY if you charge for your creation. If you don’t, it’s at no charge.
    How many book publishers offer a charge of $0.00 if the author decides s/he wants to give it out? Even digital ones?

    There are arguments to make pro/con ITMS, but this false comparison cheapens whatever argument the author makes.

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