Monday, November 13, 2006

Universal, Microsoft, Zune, and Apple

There have been some rather dreary looking business deals made of late. Universal has somehow managed to wrestle $1 from Microsoft for every Zune sold. Why Universal thinks that it alone is entitled to a royalty fee on hardware in which it has had no hand in bringing to market is beyond me.

To make matters worse, Universal is again claiming that it's customers are thieves.

"These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it," UMG chairman/CEO Doug Morris says. "So it's time to get paid for it."

Never mind the user who loads his iPod with the archive of CDs he/she has bought over the years. They are basing this royalty on the fact that iTunes sales have average about 20 songs per iPod sold. I know that Universal along with every other major label has a long way to go when it comes to technology, but someone needs to tell them there are other ways to legally load music onto a MP3 player. I think it is safe to assume that naming basically every customer you have ever had as a thief or liar is not sound business advice.

There is a silver lining ahead though. While I have not had first hand experience with the Zune, I have not read or seen anything that has even remotely convinced me of a need to buy a Zune. I am perfectly happy with my 4G iPod. Therefore, there is absolutely no need to boycott. And I think this will hold true for the majority of buyers. While the Zune has merely emulated much of the iPod's success and only provided marginal feature benefits, these benefits are not compelling enough to challenge the iPod, especially if Apple's next generation iPod is indeed touchscreen/widescreen.

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