I can't begin to capture all that's recently occurred in the ongoing struggle for platform supremacy, but let's begin.

Steve Jobs has written that digital music should be DRM free. I've yet to read it, and will do so immediately after posting this.

Not surprisingly, Daring Fireball has one of the best takes on post. Best point taken from his summary and commentary: Music companies already are releasing DRM-free digital music, and it's higher quality than you can get from the iTunes Music Store. They're called CDs.[1]

Also of interest from Daring Fireball's commentary: DVDs have not, for the most part, ever been released on a large commercial scale without DRM, contra CDs. Thus Jobs on DRM is titled "Thoughts on Music." The leverage isn't there for unDRMing video, neither in industry (movie companies don't want it and Apple hasn't the power to negotiate it) nor historically, in the format of the medium.

(I'd say this makes the CD something like the early days of open source, but un-copylefted, software. The protection was anonymity, something many bloggers don't quite understand any better than the record companies did. I daresay many original open sourcers are a little less hip on MIT/BSD style licenses today than they were when the hacker community was still a true, knowable community. See disgruntled FreeBSDers when Apple didn't give much back initially after building OS X atop their work.)

In the Daring Fireball post, we get this choice quote (though the source isn't clearly cited):

Jason Reindorp, marketing director for Zune at Microsoft, said Mr. Jobs's call for unrestricted music sales was "irresponsible, or at the very least naive," adding, "It's like [Jobs is] on top of the mountain making pronouncements, while we’re here on the ground working with the industry to make it happen." (bold mine)

The image of Jobs on the mountain reminded me of this recent, somewhat bizarre, interview with Bill Gates over at Newsweek's/MSNBC's website.

[Interviewer's question:] In many of the Vista reviews, even the positive ones, people note that some Vista features are already in the Mac operating system.

[Gates' response:] You can go through and look at who showed any of these things first, if you care about the facts. If you just want to say, 'Steve Jobs invented the world, and then the rest of us came along,' that's fine."
(bold again mine)

Where to begin? I'll start by pointing out that Microsoft's higher ups seem to share some common imagery -- that Jobs believes he's Moses, and that somehow being Moses is A Bad Thing. This seems both sour grapes over iPod and FairPlay and, well, demonic by self-identification, right? Look, I don't think Jobs is Moses either, but this is the worst smear campaign I believe I can recall in a while. What's bad about having open content?

I'm also impressed with how well companies pretend piracy continues to "work," even with those same music companies increasingly using lawsuits against p2p traders, to me seeming to be as much to grow another source of revenue as anything else. Are people still finding their music so easily post-Napster that DRM doesn't factor in, or is it that music player manufactures simply want a larger piece of the pie? Interoperability is more about profit than piracy.

Oh well, there are the links I'd like to remember and some of my typical dime store commentary.

[1] Well, at least the non van Zandt ones.