Mix: iPhone SDK Music, Kahney vs. Gruber, eMusic on iTunes Unlimited

Adding to the list of iPhone application development restrictions, Billboard reports that third-party developers will be unable to access the iPhone’s iTunes-synchronized music database for playback, limiting the ability of iTunes competitors and social networking music software to place or access music directly on the iPhone. The publication notes that the beta version of the iPhone software development kit (SDK) denies developers access to “any iTunes functionality,” and suggests that Apple “could easily decline to make [competitors’] applications available in the AppStore,” but leaves open the prospect that this will change by the time of the final SDK’s release.

A surprisingly public and personal dispute over Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ “evil” tendencies has broken out between Wired’s Leander Kahney and John Gruber of Daring Fireball (warning: rough language). Kahney, whose upcoming book is excerpted in the latest issue of Wired, claims that by “exerting unrelenting control over his employees, his image, and even his customers, Jobs exerts unrelenting control over his products and how they’re used,” and contrasts the company’s approach with Google’s “Don’t be evil” philosophy. Describing Kahney as a “F—-ing Jackass,” Gruber tears into both the article and its author, taking particular issue with his discussion of Apple’s secretive tendencies. “What kind of secretive crackpot,” Gruber said, referring to Kahney’s inability to speak with Jobs, “wouldn’t want to speak to a writer working on a piece that labels your company ‘irredeemably evil’ and whose best-known work is a book that literally brands your customers as cultists? What a jerk.” [Editor’s Note: Gruber subsequently changed his article’s title, replacing the profanity with the word “irredeemable.”]

eMusic CEO David Pakman has claimed that Apple’s reported interest in bundling an unlimited iTunes Store rental service with iPods and iPhones would lead to an antitrust lawsuit under the Sherman Act. “It’s called tying,” said Pakman, “where a company with a monopoly position in one market uses that monopoly position unfairly to compete in another.” Pakman, whose company holds a 15% share of the digital music market, suggests that Apple is exploring the unlimited iTunes service because “a whole bunch of other retailers [now] can sell music that works on the iPod or any other device. That puts some pressure on Apple. There’s no question, I think, that iTunes market share will diminish as a result of that over time.”