Nothing is more amusing than when Microsoft cries "foul play" and starts whining about "freedom of choice" for computer users. It happens every single time that a company offers them any competition and, as Microsoft's monopoly grows bigger and stronger every day, gets funnier every time. Microsoft was hilarious when it did this as Apple's QuickTime started being adopted as a "standard" by industry groups like 3GPP. And it's downright hysterical that Microsoft is whining yet again now that HP has decided to bypass their crappy Windows Media Player in favor of Apple's iTunes and iPod. The guys over at As the Apple Turns sum it up perfectly:
Check it out, this was the best a company spokesperson could muster to undercut the announcement: "Windows is all about choice... we believe you should have the same choice when it comes to music services." Translation: "Use any service you want as long as it sells Windows Media, buy any player out there as long as it plays Windows Media — but for heaven's sake, don't buy one of those wretched iPod thingies or we'll be completely boned with our whole plan to monopolize digital media commerce and then we might actually have to start innovating for our paychecks for a change."
So now HP has signed an agreement with Apple to create their own version of the iPod and to bundle iTunes on every PC they make. They wanted the best for their customers, saw that it was a non-Microsoft solution, and made the choice to go with Apple. But here's the interesting part... since HP computers run Windows, the Windows Media Player is included as well... so HP customers have the ULTIMATE in choice. They can go with iTunes/QuickTime or they can pick Windows Media. If Microsoft was truly about choice, they would encourage ALL Windows PC manufacturers to do the same.
Microsoft will undoubtedly clarify their statement and say that iPod/iTunes allows you to shop for music ONLY at Apple's music store, whereas Windows Media solutions allow you to shop at a number of different vendors, which is fine. But shouldn't that choice be left up to the consumer?