Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

One Bad Apple Spoils the XPod 360

By Davis Freeberg

Last month Microsoft demonstrated how the new XBox 360 would support Apple's IPod along with other MP3 players. While we knew that the songs wouldn't work if they were purchased from the ITunes music store, it is still cool that I can plug an IPod into the console and have my own soundtrack available for a game. Unfortunately, CNET is out with a report today that indicates that Apple is less then enthusiastic about Microsoft's plans. In the article Richard Doherty, the President of Envisioneering is quoted as saying

"We expect Apple will have some retaliation ready within days or hours of the Xbox 360 shipping," Doherty said, referring to potential new iPod firmware or a new version of iTunes that could disable interoperability. "If you have iTunes prior to last May, it may work with the Xbox 360 forever, but if you accept (Apple's) updates, it may work differently."

From the article it sounds like Microsoft originally wanted to support Apple's docking technology, but choose instead to sidestep the royalties that are required by designing the XBOX 360 to use a standard USB connection instead of Apple's proprietary synching technology.

I think that it's great the Microsoft can think outside of the Xbox and is willing to allow consumers to use non-microsoft products with the XBox 360. I've always been very suspicious of ripping anything into a propretary format out of concern that it wouldn't be supported in the future, but undoubtably there are people who have been foolish enough to buy ITunes songs and now are being restricted from using these with the XBox 360. While I could understand if Sony wanted to limit their music files from playing on the Xbox 360, I don't really see what Apple has to lose by allowing their customers to listen to music in their living rooms. If Apple was innovative enough to get into the console marketplace this would seem more reasonable, but this rhetoric only further reinforces my committment to avoid any DRM track like the plauge.


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