Apple's somewhat forgotten Nordic odyssey recommences with the Norwegian consumer ombudsman to run a "test case" which could compel Apple to open up its DRM to enable purchased tracks to play on non-iPod devices. Regular readers may recall my skepticism of this approach.
Consumer Ombudsman Bjoern Erik Thon was quoted on AP as saying:
"It's a consumer's right to transfer and play digital content bought and downloaded from the Internet to the music device he himself chooses to use. iTunes makes this impossible or at least difficult, and hence, they act in breach of Norwegian law,"
The flaws in this stance are numerous.
– Why aren't Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft up for charges also? Last time I checked you couldn't play PS3 games on a Wii or Wii games on an xBox
– Why aren't Dell, Toshiba etc up for charges? Last time I checked PC games didn't work on Macs
– Why can't most of the downloads on the forthcoming Telenor PlayNow plus service play on iPods?
– I could go on.
In short, interoperability is not an Apple-only story and indeed it's becoming more widespread now with the advent of the next generation of music services (CWM, PNp, Musique Max etc) which all use DRM to differentiate. In fact Apple is doing its best to move towards DRM-free.the problem is the majority of the majors aren't letting them get there just yet. Perhaps there's a little sub plot playing UMG et al are holding on for Apple to lose a Nordic ruling before licensing DRM-free catalogue to them?!