Tech Headlines From The Last Week.

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More tech headlines to chew over, with my comments.

Nokia and Universal Give Away Music. Not!

So today Nokia announced a new service that allows those who purchase certain Nokia phones will be able to download music “free” for an entire year.

What kind of music? Well, it should come as no surprise that Universal is all over this, which makes it all the more clear that this music will hardly be free. This is simply the first fruit borne of Universal’s Total Music initiative, which I wrote about here.

This music is heavily DRM’ed — no subscription model can function without it. I suspect the idea that you still “own” it after the year is dependent upon one’s definition of the word “own”. I don’t think I’ll like Nokia/Universal’s definition.

When the full details come out, I bet we’ll discover that unless you continue a Nokia “Comes With Music” contract on a phone (in which case you’re still paying for the subscription), or never change the PC you’re using when the phone terms expire, you will lose the music. And good luck burning a CD.

There is simply no way Universal is going to let you download tunes for a year and keep them forever.

Sales of iWork do impact Microsoft.

There’s plenty of proof that iWorks 08 has been a hit. But some claim that even though it’s taken 16% of the Mac market it won’t effect sales of Microsoft’s Office come their new version in January (or whenever they ship it).

I don’t necessarily disagree that the number of copies sold won’t be impacted much. However, the profit on those sold will be impacted. Look at the deals MS has felt compelled to make on Office lately (e.g., Pro edition to students for only $69; buy Office low now and get Office 2008 for only $7.95).

Bottom line is iWorks doesn’t need to impact Office sales so much as profits. Office is a major cash cow for MS, and taking a bite out of that begins to reduce the free money MS gets to print.

Thurrott Loves the Kindle.

Paul Thurrott wrote a glowing review of the Amazon Kindle.

What bothers me about the review is that he glosses over the real vendor lock-in represented by the device, yet howls frequently about Apple’s alleged (but non-existant) “lock-in” with the iPod.

Another Apple-basher says Leopard’s just like Vista (*yawn*).

This is getting old. It started with the usual MS apologists (Wilcox, Thurrott, Foley), and now we have PC Magazine’s hit piece.

The article is ludicrous, and like most of them simply mentions a personal experience and what was found on various message message boards as “proof” that Leopard’s just as bad as Vista.

But what about all the great reviews of Leopard (even from non-Apple-friendly sources)? He simply doesn’t mention those. Well, I’ll correct his oversight. In fact, I already did so when calling other MS apologists on this silly argument (see the link for numerous links to great Leopard reviews).

And what about all the horrendous news about Vista (from the day it was released up to right now)? Well, he doesn’t mention those either. I’ll correct that as well; there’ve been so many I’ll just pick a few:

I picked the last three because they were written in the last four weeks. I did this in case an MS apologist wants to use the “Joe Wilcox” Vista defense. This is the claim that somehow all of Vista’s problems were early, and have since been cured (though Joe never specifies how they were cured). Well, he’s wrong. It still sucks.

It wouldn’t be hard to bring up another 40 or so articles praising Leopard or denouncing Vista or talking about them both where Leopard is judged superior.

Jermaine Dupri tells us what a good album is.

I’m a music lover, and I like albums, so reading this drivel was especially painful to me. A few thoughts on Mr. Dupri’s screed:

  • You do not get to define what a good or great album is. I would like to think that most artists who create an album at least think it’s good anyway, don’t they? Don’t they?
  • Only history can truly decide what albums are great, but good ones to the general public are noticed pretty readily. It’s already clear American Gangsta is not in that category.
  • So it sold 425,000 units? What’s your point? If singles were allowed it would have sold, what, 250,000 of those? That’s the equivalent of 25,000 more albums whose money you left on the table. And much more importantly, it’s as many as a quarter-million potential new fans to enjoy Jay Z’s music, perhaps attend a concert, buy more of his work, etc., all because they got to buy one song and then wanted more. Do you get it now? You didn’t just shutoff immediate sales, but people who could become actual fans.
  • To drive the above bullet point home, in case you didn’t get it: You need exposure. Selling a single song is a great way to gain that. What will you use instead, radio?
  • You cannot tell your customer how to consume your product. Not in this day and age. You’re as out of touch as the record labels whose credo you’ve adopted.

As for all the crap about how you guys created iTunes, blah, blah, blah, you’re delusional. Sure, iTunes (and Amazon, Walmart, etc.) have nothing to sell if you don’t produce, but without them who’s going to sell the stuff? You? Um, no. You need an outlet for sales, and you need to connect with your fans. Crapping all over iTunes while telling me it’s all or nothing for an album is not the way to do it.

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