I find myself saying “If only…” a lot when it comes to Apple’s music business (not to be confused with Apple Records). It stems from them deliberately crippling their products in order to maintain marketplace dominance, and it seems to be working.
If they made general purpose devices that worked with everything they wouldn’t have this tremendous lock-in where iPods and the iTunes Music Store sell each other. It’s a strategy that’s working for them too, walk around Ann Arbor (or any downtown area in America) and count the number of white earbuds.
Meanwhile, they’re modifying the rights people have to the music they rent from Apple ex post facto, which is only something they could do if they had this enormous lock in.
Say what you want about Microsoft monopolies, but at least they play well with hardware vendors. That’s more than Apple.