French legislation is currently being considered that would prevent Apple from having any sort of exclusivity with its iTunes service or iPod product. The bill would force Apple to make iTunes downloads compatible with other mp3 players and any mp3 compatible with the iPod. While Apple is obviously not a fan of this legislation, other European countries are watching closely and considering similar laws.
Understandably upset, Apple can credit marketing with the initial popularity of their products, but the exclusivity is what has ultimately propelled the iServices to where they are now. iTunes exclusives and incompatible file formats ensured users had to iBundle everything together. For casual downloading and music listening, Apple has taken the lead and is hands down the most popular service, however for those more â€˜involvedâ€™ in music, iTunes tends to be more trouble than its worth, requiring additional scripts and workarounds for advanced functionality.
Competition generally leads to higher quality products and services and drives down prices, which is great for consumers, but probably not ideal for Apple. The legislation goes to final vote next week, and although Apple may end up losing a few Francs, they always have those thousand dollar bills to wipe their tears away with.