EU Consumer Commissioner Berates iTunes Incompatibility

  • Save

The issue of iTunes incompatibility has been a subject of concern for European consumer protection authorities for quite some time now. Apple has been under increasing pressure to address the issue, and the pressure is only getting more intense. Recently, EU Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva criticized Apple for relying on proprietary formats, saying that it is not okay that a CD plays on every CD player, but an iTunes download only plays on an iPod. She stated that something has to change.

Several European countries, including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Finland, and Germany, have demanded interoperability solutions from Apple. Earlier this year, Norway demanded a solution by October, and other countries expressed a united front on the matter.

The situation is putting Apple in an uncomfortable position, and France has been the most aggressive in demanding interoperability. In August of last year, France won passage of an interoperability measure, but implementation issues are still being sorted through by regulators. Some have even pointed to a possible exit by Apple if certain demands are made.

Steve Jobs, however, has made a shrewd move by issuing an open letter request for labels to lift DRM restrictions in February. This move would essentially eliminate the current European sticking points. It deftly places the pressure on major labels, a group that carries a less-than-stellar image among EU regulators. However, aside from EMI, major labels have mostly expressed resistance to the Jobs request, which only adds to the interoperability quagmire.

The issue of iTunes incompatibility is a complex one, and it stems from Apple’s use of proprietary formats. Apple has been criticized for not making iTunes compatible with other devices, and for not allowing users to play their iTunes purchases on non-Apple devices. This has led to complaints from consumers, who feel that they are being locked into Apple’s ecosystem.

Apple has defended its use of proprietary formats, saying that it is necessary to protect its intellectual property. However, critics argue that Apple is using this as an excuse to maintain its dominance in the digital music market. They say that Apple is preventing competition by making it difficult for other companies to create products that are compatible with iTunes.

The issue is not limited to Europe, either. In the United States, Apple has been criticized for its use of proprietary formats, and for its control over the iPod and iPhone. Some have even called for the government to intervene and force Apple to open up its products to competition.

In response to these criticisms, Apple has made some changes to its policies. It has removed DRM restrictions from some of its music catalog, and it has allowed some third-party devices to work with iTunes. However, these changes have not gone far enough for some consumers and regulators.

The issue of iTunes incompatibility is a complex one, and it is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. Apple is facing pressure from regulators and consumers to make its products more open and compatible with other devices. However, the company is also facing pressure to protect its intellectual property and maintain its dominance in the digital music market. It remains to be seen how Apple will balance these competing interests, and whether it will be able to satisfy both regulators and consumers.