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Apple Subscription Music Service? For everyone holding their breath for a Rhapsody-type subscription service from Apple: stop before you pass out.  According to information from two music executives received by BusinessWeek Online, Apple has no plans to enter the subscription-based service arena any time soon.  The major factor in Apple sticking to its by-the-song download system in iTunes is its market dominance – iTunes is making huge profits from its 500 million+ song downloads, comparatively crushing the 2 or 3 million subscribers to Real’s Rhapsody or Napster’s services.  The only thing that looks like it could change Apple’s mind would be true financial competition from one of these services, a factor that is still far off.

Read More | BusinessWeek Online


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iPod Korea Market ShareDespite recent news of Apple’s iPod player and iTunes service performing beyond expectations around the globe, South Korea continues to stand out as a noticeable exception to Apple’s market dominance.  In recent market analyst data from GfK, the iPod holds a measly 1.6% share of MP3 player sales in South Korea.  The weak iPod numbers, released by IDG News Service, reflect the popularity of other MP3 players produced by South Korean manufacturers such as Digitalway and Cowon Systems.  The top seller on the list is Reigncom, creator of the iRiver brand, with 30.8% of all MP3 player sales.


Read More | Playlist


Treo 670 HTCWhile official details on the next iteration of Palm Treos have been scant, the Chinese business newspaper Commercial Times is reporting today that a manufacturing deal has been reached with High Tech Computer to produce the new smartphones.  The Taiwanese HTC will begin shipping the product in the first quarter of next year.  The biggest draw for the rumor mill on the Treo 670 is its use of the Windows Mobile operating system, a first for any Palm device.  Sales for the Treo 600 and Treo 650, both Palm OS-based smartphones, have been exceptional, setting the obvious standard for smartphone quality and commercial success.  However, the growing strength and popularity of Windows Mobile may improve Treo’s market share even more.


Read More | DigiTimes


Real HarmonyHarmony, a digital rights management translation system created by Real Networks which allows its own music formats to run on Apple iPods, may be the cause of some legal and technical issues for Real in the coming months.  The company has admitted that although they believe that their software is completely legal, any disagreement from Apple that runs into a court process might jeopardize their bottom line.  The company already expects to pay around $16 million in the coming year defending their software from litigation from Microsoft, but cannot afford any more.  Additionally, Real also expects problems as Apple makes moves to update its software in ways that would require tweaking of Harmony’s specifications.  Basically, it sounds like Harmony may represent Real biting off a bigger chunk than it can chew at this point.  Stay tuned to see how these impending challenges pan out.


Read More | Macworld


Samsung Alleging that Samsung grossly exaggerated the abilities of the SPH-V4400 camera phone, two consumer groups have filed official complaints against the company for false advertising.  Armed with nearly 3,000 signatures, members of the “V4400 Consumers’ Power” and “Tipsters for the Public Good” groups are very disgruntled with the lackluster video recording capabilities of the phone, pointing out that the VGA camera only films 3-5 frames per second, rather than the digital camcorder standard of 15-30, despite Samsung’s claims that it would measure up.  Sales of the V4400 have been strong up to this point, having been fueled by Korean superstar Kwon Sang-woo, earning the phone the nickname, the “Kwon Sang-woo Phone.”

Read More | Chosun


iTunes JapanDebuting with prices ranging from ¥200 and ¥300 per song ($1.80 and $2.70), Apple has exploded onto the Japanese digital audio scene by selling over 1 million songs with the new service in under four days.  Proudly, Japanese artists grabbed the honors for both the top-downloaded song (Def Tech) and the top-downloaded album (Ulfuls).  Steve Jobs was quick to point out that the four-day business enjoyed by the Japanese iTunes dwarfs even a month’s worth of business on any other Japanese service.  With the struggles that other American companies, such as Microsoft, have had breaking into some Japanese markets, Apples success in this area could bode very well for the company. 


Read More | MacWorld


Google CNetIs Google > CNet?  The search engine giant blackballed CNet reporters after the network reported privacy concerns for those being searched.  Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, was searched on Google to prove a privacy point.  His salary, neighborhood, and even political donations were publicly displayed.  Google’s answer: don’t talk to CNet for a year.  Seems a bit childish to give the silent treatment for something that is publicly available.  I mean, if I can’t use Google to search all of my old girlfriends, I’m going back to Yahoo! Well, at least for one year.

Read More | CNN Money


Microsoft Windows Microsoft just can’t get around software hackers in their latest attempt to cut down pirated Windows XP users – Genuine Windows Validation. Early last week Microsoft “fixed” the Genuine Windows Validation exploit. Now the new and updated validation service has been hacked yet again. Maybe Microsoft should start hiring these hackers, since it takes Microsoft days or more to fix their exploits, while hackers only need a day to come up with a work around.

Read More | Cnet News


Sony BMG Copy ProtectionReuters is reporting via the Washington Post that despite being incompatible with the 30 million iPods in the US, copy-protected CDs by the Foo Fighters and Dave Matthews band are continuing to sell extremely well.  The CDs, put out by Sony BMG, are designed to restrict owners to burning only 3 exact copies of the albums, and then only into Microsoft’s Windows Media format.  The copy-protection also prohibits the music files from being transferred to an iPod, due to licensing clashes with Apple’s Fairplay software and Windows.  While both the albums, and others like it, are available in iPod-compatible digital forms on Apple’s iTunes service, this hasn’t appeased fans who like to own a physical disc from which to rip the songs.

The best part of the Reuters’ article comes at the end where Sony BMG advises disgruntled users to rip the songs from the CD, burn them back to a blank CD, and then rip them again in an iPod-friendly format.  I always like to see big companies encouraging us to work around security and copyright-protection.
 
Read More | Washington Post


Sony David ManningSony will end up paying over $1.5 million to theater-goers for advertising movies using a fabricated movie critic named “David Manning.”  Between 2000 and 2001, Manning’s name and fake reviews were part of the advertising campaigns for “Vertical Limit,” “A Knight’s Tale,” “The Animal,” “Hollow Man” and “The Patriot.”  Anyone claiming to have purchased a ticket to these movies between August 3, 2000, and October 31, 2001, can join a class-action settlement in which Sony will reimburse the ticket-buyer $5 for every ticket purchased, up to 4 per movie (2 adults, 2 minors).  Personally, I got tickets for at least 2 people to “Hollow Man” and “The Patriot,” which means I’m in for a cool $20. Plus, seeing how “Hollow Man” is one of the worst movies ever, anyone who called it “One helluva scary ride!” (which the made-up Manning did) should owe me $5 (which the made-up Manning now does).

Click on the link below to read the details of the settlement with Sony and find out how to receive your reimbursement.

Read More | Official Court Notice of Settlement


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