Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Earth Shook at Gnomedex

Well, California was shaking last week (from numerous earthquakes). But the podcast world shook at Gnomedex in Seattle this past weekend. For one thing, Microsoft announced that RSS is going to be built into IE 7 and future versions of its operating systems, starting with the long-awaited Longhorn release. In fact, IE 7 was shown for the first time at Gnomedex.

A couple other things happened while I was away in California. The US Supreme Court decided a landmark case on file sharing, siding with MGM against Grokster and Streamcast. I certainly applaud protection of intellectual property, and I see the decision as fairly rational behaviour that will give entertainment companies more confidence to embrace digital media distribution. It's certainly not the end of P2P, although companies like Bit Torrent may end up in court, required to show that piracy is not their intent. I think it's going to increase the number of bands producing podsafe music.

The other thing that happened is that Apple iTunes v4.9 began shipping. This version supports podcast subscriptions. Disney, ESPN and ABC News are listed among thousands of content providers. Apple can probably be relieved at the outcome of the Grokster case - they will face less competition from P2P.

The subscription model of content access looks to be on a very fast growth curve.