Sunday, September 24, 2006

Podcasting - who owns it?

The New Oxford American dictionary declared podcasting as the 2005 word of the year defining the term as "a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player". POD, has been referenced as Portable on Demand, but also has some strong ties to the iPod brand. (for more history - see this and this) However Apple is again stepping up its efforts to stop other companies from using the term 'pod' as part of a company name. They say it causes confusion with consumers with respect to brand.

No understandably, Apple needs to protect its trademark, so that it doesn't go the way of Xerox, Kleenex, and Jello, thereby lowering the value of their brand. However Apple, being the innovative company that it is, should think about ways in which to take advantage of this type of press, as opposed sending cease and desist letters to other innovative companies. It is reminiscent of the way the music industry first reacted to music downloading. With terms like podcasting tied so closely with their player, it gives them great word-of-mouth marketing at no cost. As more and more people start to look at getting mp3 players for more than just music such as various business application, visually impaired services etc, this opens up a many new markets, and what player naturally comes to mind when you hear the word podcast? Why not try and partner with companies such as Podcast Ready or others in this space. Its a fine line, but at the risk of creating backlash from the consumer community, in the face of increased choice, lawsuits are probably not the solution.

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