Apple knows that it is not about what you can do, it is how about how easily you can do it. Its called ‘User Experience’, it is a real benefit to the client, and it sells.
But in the charge to go online, to become part of the Internet platform, legacy software producers are looking a ‘media’ business models.
Apple is dabbling in ‘old world media’ models (TV, newspapers, radio, etc.) with iTunes. ITunes is very similar to a ‘closed pipe’ … a distribution channel where one entity is in control of the content (and hence the money). Its a very leaky pipe… but there’s been enough people purchasing tunes on iTunes to validate their model. Apple are in danger here because to maintain this ‘leaking closed pipe’ they have to handicap their products with Digital Rights Management tricks. DRM makes for very bad User Experience… plug your iPod into someone else’s computer and if you are not careful, it will get wiped clean. Its a market economy, the users will reject DRM and Apple will comply (eventually).
hmmm … looks like Apple’s iTunes sales have already started dropping.