Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Does Apple Own Podcasting?

As we have been seeing over the past few months, Apple has been making efforts to slowly get more control of the name podcast. This has got me thinking about Apple's timing for going after other companies using the word "Pod" and "Podcast" in their name.

It would seem on the surface that Apple benefits greatly by having a name that so strongly connects with the iPod running freely online, but step back and look at the marketplace, Apple is seeing take shape around it. You are seeing Microsoft launching the Zune device that still does not support podcasting in any direct way, but could in future software releases and the many other cool new devices coming out from iRiver, like the Clix and and soon many other competitive mobile phone platform devices with audio and hard drive storage. I can see a real competitive landscape shaping up for Apple.

One way that Apple can keep competitive is to make the term "Podcast" even more associated with the iPod. I believe that Apple wants Podcasting to keep its meaning associated with the iPod.

Apple may want to stop competitors like Microsoft and iRiver from adding a content category in all these new devices that uses the term "Podcast" and force them to just use the term "Audio" or some other term that clouds the marketplace association with on-demand content. This locks up the term "Podcast" to maintain its strong iPod association.

I know Melodeo and Microsoft are very resistant to the idea of using the term Podcast as a major way of referring to the content offered on any competitive platform for a variety of reasons.

One reason is that awareness of the term "Podcast" is very low generally and is I believe known the strongest amoung Apple iPod users.

The other reason is that using the word podcast does always promote the iPod platform and those that have competitive platforms do not want to do that.

You might think that not using the term Podcasting is short sighted, I would differ on that point as we are seeing a new distribution platform war brewing as more and more video publishers online are choosing to only provide links to iTunes as the only place to get their content and not making their RSS feeds freely available form their websites.

Like I said, in my below post we must keep RSS distribution platforms open or we will fall pray to closed networks like the iTunes and iPod platform and will be missing alternative choices in how we get the new cool online content on our phones or any other device we choose to buy.

Rob Greenlee

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