Wired 13.11: Battle for the Soul of the MP3 Phone:
Why won't Apple open iTunes by licensing FairPlay to a wide range of manufacturers? "That's a good question for Steve Jobs," replies Alberto Moriondo, a Motorola executive who helped lead the development of the ROKR. (Jobs declined to be interviewed for this story.) Another handset person says he asked the same question in a meeting with Apple execs, only to have them roll their eyes and mutter, "If only …"
Jobs' refusal to license FairPlay is reminiscent of his refusal to license the Macintosh operating system to other hardware manufacturers back in the '80s - a key factor in the Mac's dismal 2.5 percent market share today. Over time, open standards inevitably win out. "If Apple continues to rely on a proprietary architecture," says Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and author of The Innovator's Dilemma, "the iPod will likely become a niche product." Anyone doubting that need only consider that Microsoft is licensing its DRM to all comers, at prices that are hard to refuse.