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Apple, Real and 'best interests'

In response to the Perspectives column written by Charles Cooper, "Apple and the legacy of Napster":

You stated: "But I can't figure out who's looking out for the best interests of the user in this cockamamy story. It's a question that Apple can't answer with a straight face." I think you should have left that last sentence out of the column.

I personally believe that many commentators in the general news and the IT industry are unqualified to make an authoritative commentary on what has happened. This is not in defense of Apple Computer but rather a warning not to generalize an extremely complex and somewhat secretive battle for control of brand, product, technology, legal turf and industry relations.

While my full-time job is to support computers for graphic artists--and the majority of those are Macintosh computers--the company that I work for provides a variety of business services to Fortune 500 companies. Some of these services include marketing research, branding and programs designed to help these companies execute their marketing, sales and other strategic corporate initiatives.

From what I have learned about branding, marketing and product management, I think the Apple-RealNetworks controversy has yet to unfold as to what is really behind all of this. Apple is a chess player, and Real Networks is trying to play the game with Apple. All we have seen is one of a series of moves, and the better story is much further down the road.

Your commentary reminds me of someone who watches a championship chess match and then complains when someone moves their rook instead of their knight. It should be taken with a grain of salt, unless your name is Bobby Fischer.

Tom Pardee
Saint Louis, Mo.