Opinion: Apple should license FairPlay to Microsoft - Macenstein

Opinion: Apple should license FairPlay to Microsoft

Posted by Helper Monkey

Microsoft’s Xbox 360 hits store shelves in the US November 22nd, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. As you know, in America Thanksgiving is the day all the good little girls and boys wake up early, race downstairs, and look under the turkey and see what Captain John Smith the Pilgrim brought them. With the November release, Microsoft is obviously hoping to capitalize on the huge Thanksgiving Day buying frenzy.

Those kids lucky enough to get their turkey-grease-smeared hands on an Xbox 360 are in for an added bonus. Assuming they own an iPod (and what kid doesn’t?) they will be happy to find that their iPod is recognized by the Xbox as an alternative audio source. What does that mean? Well, players sick of hearing the default (and often mind-numbing) soundtrack of a game repeat over and over can instead choose to hear music from their iPod’s playlists. Since the iPod is basically just a USB storage device, it (along with many other MP3 players) can hook into the Xbox 360’s USB2 port and stream tunes to the console while they play their favorite games.

However, it seems as though the ghost of Samoset the Abnaki Indian may have cursed our good fortune this Thanksgiving. Apple has refused to license the FairPlay DRM technology it uses on its iTunes Music Store tracks to Microsoft, so songs purchased through Apple’s store will not be playable on the Xbox 360. It isn’t often we get to cast Apple as the villain, but here the case is pretty cut and dry. Microsoft has actively been courting Apple to license FairPlay for the Xbox 360, and they have been repeatedly turned away. In effect, Microsoft is conceding the digital music empire to Apple, yet Apple is unable to be a gracious winner.

What would Apple lose by licensing FairPlay to the Xbox? If you think about it, it can only help sales of both iPods and iTunes tracks (and yes, Xbox 360s perhaps, but Apple’s Pippin 360 isn’t exactly around the corner). In essence, hooking an iPod to an Xbox is like hooking an iPod to a stereo. It is just a means to play the music. I would also think Xbox 360 connectivity would be just one more selling feature for the iPod in the minds of our gadget obsessed youth. By not supporting the Xbox 360, Apple is just giving one more reason for consumers to choose a different MP3 player.

C’mon Apple. Think of the children.
Think of those sticky, turkey-grease-smeared children.
How can you say “No� to them?

2 Responses to “Opinion: Apple should license FairPlay to Microsoft”
  1. Wolfman Mac says:

    i agree. And they should also support the PS3 (although who knows if Sony want them to, since the iPod competes with the PSP).

    It’s all about selling iPods people.

  2. Brian says:

    There’s no need to have access to fairplay for ALL songs to play on the XBox. If they either put a ‘dock’ in the xbox or an audio IN port, then all songs on the iPod could play right through, just as they do with any ‘other’ iPod accessory. People are trying to paint Apple in the bad light on this, however, what I see is Microsoft’s attempt to get at the code in Fairplay, and using ‘compatibility’ as an excuse.

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