Apple Considered Licensing FairPlay DRM, Eddy Cue Reveals

Apple Considered Licensing FairPlay DRM

During the ongoing legal proceedings concerning Apple’s iPod, Eddy Cue, a senior executive at Apple, provided testimony regarding the company’s early adoption of DRM (Digital Rights Management) in iTunes music files during the 2000s. The lawsuit claims that Apple deliberately implemented measures to block music bought from rival services from being played on iPods, and even went as far as to delete non-iTunes music from users’ devices under the guise of security resets.

Apple maintains that these actions were necessary to protect against potential threats.

Apple Considered Licensing FairPlay DRM

Cue, who played a crucial role in Apple’s negotiation efforts, discussed the initial reluctance of Apple to use DRM, stating that it was music industry leaders, worried about rampant piracy, who insisted on its implementation. Despite the criticism of Apple’s motives as anti-competitive, Cue highlighted that the decision was more about compliance with industry demands than corporate strategy.

According to The Verge, Cue also mentioned that Apple considered licensing its proprietary DRM technology, Fairplay, to other companies to foster broader market adoption and accelerate growth.

However, the technical challenges and reliability issues associated with ensuring compatibility across the various MP3 players on the market at that time deterred them from proceeding with licensing.

Cue pointed out the difficulties other companies faced when attempting similar strategies, noting Microsoft’s unsuccessful efforts as a case in point. He also recalled initial resistance from record labels when Apple proposed the iTunes Store, as they preferred their own DRM solutions which varied significantly across different songs and devices.

The debate over DRM in iTunes music was a significant issue for consumers, who found themselves unable to play their legally purchased music on non-Apple devices.

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Barbara is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest insights and updates on all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail and a love for technology, Barbara covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest macOS updates. Her articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex topics accessible to all. When she’s not writing, Barbara enjoys exploring new features on her Apple Watch and testing out the latest iPad apps.