The real reason Apple’s mad about Harmony hack

John C. Dvorak for CBS MarketWatch explains that RealNetwork’s recent iPod song compatibility hack for its Harmony jukebox software is screwing up Apple’s plan to put iPod technology into Motorola cell phones.

“This grand scheme only works if the platform is secure. You can’t sell an iPod phone and lock in all this easy money if people can buy from just anyone or just use bootleg music, can you? So along comes the RealNetworks hack, which screws up this scheme. Suddenly the iPod looks a lot like any other MP3 player except for its good looks, and those go away when it’s in the phone.

This explains why Steve Jobs and Apple wouldn’t let RealNetworks license any of its technology when asked last April. You can be certain that the Apple-Motorola scheme hatched before that and probably right after Ed Zander, Jobs’ friend, took over Motorola in January. With this scheme they had to keep the iPod locked down and that meant no licenses for interlopers and potential competitors.”

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