Now it looks as if the same is happening in the internet music world. According to the Hollywood Reporter:
Harmony Technology allows consumers to buy music downloads and play them on another company's choice of player. Previously, for example, iPod users who legally downloaded music from the Internet were limited to using Apple's iTunes Music Store. Harmony Technology allows that iPod to play music purchased from such other legitimate online retailers as Napster, Sony's Connect, Wal-Mart or RealNetworks' RealPlayer Music Store.
According to most digital media industry insiders, Apple has declined to allow other companies access to its FairPlay digital rights management technology. French online music store Virgin Mega even filed a formal complaint with that country's Competition Council asserting that Apple is unfairly stifling competition, a claim scheduled to be heard before year's end.
In effect, Apple prevented the iPod from playing music protected by Microsoft's Windows Media DRM or RealNetworks' Helix DRM until Harmony Technology came along. Tech-savvy users previously went through a cumbersome process of burning the purchased songs onto a CD and then reripping them in order to put them on an iPod, while more typical music fans were simply stymied.
Things aren't looking good. Once again Apple's proprietary nature will ensure that a superior product, in this case the iPod, will become a niche item.