On the heels of Apple's other two pieces of anti-competitive DMCA-bait, it now appears we have a third bit of lawyer-chum in the water: Apple has reportedly locked its latest iPods to its own iTunes software. So third-party applications (like Songbird) will no longer be able organize or sync your (unDRM-ed) music on these iPods.
While many have noted that this is bad news for Linux users, it's also bad for Windows and Mac users. iTunes (the software, not the store) has built a considerable lead in the "media jukebox" category on both sides of the Windows-Mac divide. This latest move looks like an effort by Apple to consolidate and hold that beachhead, blocking competitors from entering the market and leaving consumers on all platforms with fewer choices.
The news may be especially bad for Winamp, which is about to launch a "10th Anniversary" version that had promised iPod compatibility.
We'll see whether Apple licenses this iPod "feature" and, if so, on what terms. And when the inevitable reverse engineering is successful, we'll see whether Apple starts issuing DMCA threats (as they did to Real Networks back in the day).