asks an important question: Would Apple Mix DRM and Non-DRM Music at the iTunes Store? and refers to longtime Mac developer Peter N Lewis, whose blog post about Why Apple Cannot Allow DRM-free Indie Music is a worthwhile read as well. Lewis covers ground that I covered in my initial post about Jobs’ letter and reaches the same conclusion that I did. However, I think Gruber makes (as usual) some very valid arguments, in particular pointing out that there are interface conventions available in iTunes that make it possible that ITMS could stock non-DRM songs alongside DRM songs without causing too much confusion.
Compare and contrast these views with Cory Doctorow’s analysis, presented in an article in Salon today. Doctorow (who is a friend of a friend and someone whose views I tend to agree with) doubts Jobs’ sincerity and simply doesn’t believe that the DRM hasn’t given Apple the lock-in as Jobs suggested. I disagree with Doctorow that Apple is an eager DRM advocate – I think the evidence is pretty clear that they were overly cautious at the beginning (and so were more pro-DRM in the past) and now they’re only very grudging supporters.