iTunes Rentals

Woz hit on something with iTunes rentals that I also didn’t like. To recap, when you rent a movie in iTunes you have 30 days to start the movie but once you begin it you have just 24 hours to finish it. That is a little short, they could have made it a 72 hour clock from when you start it. I rented 3:10 to Yuma and run out of battery with 50 minutes to go and was a little irritated the next day when I realized I had to watch the rest of it or lose it.

But he criticised the 24-hour time limit given to users who rent shows via the device and said the quality of YouTube videos played on it was poor.

[From Woz finds flaws in Apple’s latest offerings – BizTech – Technology – smh.com.au]

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Competition is a Good Thing

Somewhat ironic to think that the biggest threat to the economics of music sales isn’t coming from illegal downloading but rather from the dominance of iTunes and inevitable commoditization of pricing that comes from competitors who have to resort to scorched earth pricing in order to establish a market position in the absence of compelling download services and portable players.

Imagine where the music business would be if they had embraced digital music and portable players early on with the goal of making them cheap, convenient and ubiquitous.

iTunes will do to online video downloads what they did to music and as a result consumers will benefit from lower prices across the board. Personally, I am enjoying watching this happen and have no sympathy for an industry that thought they could roll back the clock to a time when distribution control gave them punitive pricing power.

BTW, that I am posting this during Macworld is only a coincidence.

Yet Apple has so far found it easy to dismiss the music companies – sometimes rather rudely – because Microsoft, Sony and other competitors have failed to cut into iTunes’ roughly 80 per cent share of the market. Some download stores have been plagued by clumsy user-interfaces. Monthly subscription services win praise from executives but have had a hard time convincing all but a small core of die-hard music fans to sign up.

[From FT.com / Comment & analysis / Analysis – Bruised music majors back iTunes rival]