"Stealing music is not right, and I can understand people being very upset about their intellectual property being stolen. But the stick alone isn't going to work. The right solution is to compete with the Kazaas of the world and to beat them. And that's what we're trying to make happen."
- Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek, August 18, 2003
It struck me that Steve's quote was the first intelligent thing anyone has said in the file-sharing debate, so I thought I'd give Apple's new iTunes service a try. iTunes is, of course, a Napster-like file-sharing program that lets you legally buy most popular songs for just 99 cents apiece. The service has been enormously successful, selling 5 million singles in its first two months of business.
I found out, however, that iTunes only works on Apple computers, as you'll see in the following prank call to iTunes technical support.
APPLE: Hi, thanks for calling Apple. My name is Abraham. Do you have your serial number handy?
APPLE: Okay, I can help you find it. Is your computer up and running now?
APPLE: What color is the apple in the top left corner? Is it blue?
JH: I don't see an apple.
APPLE: In the top-left corner, the apple? Is it blue, or multi-colored?
JH: Right, there's no apple.
APPLE: In the very top-left corner?
JH: I know which corner is the top-left. There's no apple there.
APPLE: What do you see?
JH: I see a piece of paper with an E.
APPLE: Which screen are you looking at?
JH: My computer screen.
APPLE: No, I mean, what does your screen say?
JH: It says "Larger Balls and Penis, More Satisfaction."
APPLE: I'm sorry?
JH: I think I'm in e-mail. I keep getting these dirty ads in my Windows e-mail. Do you know how to turn them off?
APPLE: What kind of computer is this? Do you have an Apple?
JH: No, it's an IBM.
APPLE: You're calling for support on an IBM?
JH: No, I'm trying to get iTunes to play on my IBM.
APPLE: Oh, I see--
JH: I am trying to buy music online so I do not have to steal it illegally. I went to your iTunes site and downloaded the software, but my computer won't play it.
APPLE: Yeah, you're right, it won't. You need -- just a minute here -- I'm pretty sure you can't download iTunes music and play it on a PC. Let's see here. [pause] You could use MusicMatch Jukebox software, but you'd need an iPod in order to use it.
JH: Can I buy music through MusicMash?
APPLE: I'm pretty sure you can't. Let me take a look here. [pause] No, it's showing here that you cannot. You have to have an Apple. Let's see here -- bear with me here. [pause] Okay, so what you're going to need is a Mac computer running Mac OS X; otherwise, you won't be able to access iTunes Music Store.
JH: How do I buy music online, then?
APPLE: You'd have to go somewhere else other than iTunes Music Store. There's other places you can buy music -- I think buymusic.com is one of them. You'll just have to pull up a search engine and find them that way.
JH: You can't mail me a song on a floppy disk?
APPLE: Not through iTunes Music Store. You have to access it through iTunes. We can't do that for you.
JH: Why don't you guys support PCs?
APPLE: Because we're Apple.
APPLE: We do in some other ways, like if you have an iPod, we'd give you software to use it, but with our applications, we support our applications on our computers.
JH: Should I just start up Kazaa and steal my music?
APPLE: No, I can't say you should do that, but I'm saying iTunes Music Store isn't the only place you can buy songs.
JH: I was reading your website, and it said "shop till you bop." I really just want to, uh, shop till I bop. You're saying I can't shop till I bop?
APPLE: No, you can't. Because you have a PC.
JH: So there will be no bopping without an Apple.
APPLE: That's right, sir.
JH: Isn't it more expensive to buy an Apple than just buying the CD?
APPLE: Like I said again, there are places out there where you can download music on a Windows machine, same thing as iTunes, but for the PC. Not sure if it's exactly the same, but it's similar.
JH: I really want to shop til I bop.
APPLE: I'll be happy to sell you an Apple.
JH: I don't want an Apple. They're too heavy.
APPLE: We have some light ones too, like an iBook.
JH: I heard that iBooks can only be used in Starbucks.
APPLE: Well, in that case, I'm not sure what to say, but that's about all I can do for you. Okay?
JH: Could you hum the songs to me?
And with that, he hung up on me. I had to admit, I was getting used to the way these calls are ending.
Funny ain't it..well, the dumb people who cannot differentiate between the almighty MAC and IBM.