Steve Jobs' recent Thoughts on Music have been around the blogs, news sites and general media. There's been a nice article in Economist, a long thread on Slashdot. Why did he say what he said? This position does not seem to match many of the past actions by Apple?
I think that the story is relatively simple. Besides the fact that putting all the blame for not providing non-DRM'ed content on ITMS on the shoulders of "teh big four" is easy, does Steve speak his heart hear or has some other, much less altruistic motivations?
I think it is a mixture of both. As Economist puts it, while his argument "... is transparently self-serving. It also happens to be right." But I think that he also does a preemprive strike against Redmond empire. You see, with Vista having such a strong DRM/TC underpinning, it would not be a big surprise to see a completely "safe" (from RIAA point of view) DRM solution, much more than what Apple agreed to yield to. It would not be a big surprise to see Zune + Vista + MSN Music offering a complete and total lock-in of content, with you not even being able to burn purchased music on a CD, preventing you re-ripping it DRM-free.
This will be the beginning of a very difficult battle for Apple to win over recording companies. As Jobs rightly says: recording industry has a very little share of profits coming from on-line stores. They won't even notice ITMS going down, and will be able to afford for ZuneSpace take over.
So, what Jobs is doiung now is stirring up the debate, trying to free music in order to contain status quo of ITMS and iPod. Very selfish and very proper. We should all help him.