Apple’s Steve Jobs helped save a sinking music industry, with his iPod and iTunes digital music store. Struggling record labels swallowed hard and accepted his 99-cents-per-song pricing because they had little choice.
When it comes to video content, however — hit television shows such as “Heroes” and “The Office,” and movies — Jobs’s bargaining position isn’t as strong. For the second time in a year, he is getting significant resistance from a content creator that would rather turn its back on the mighty iPod than capitulate to Jobs’s pricing demands.
And now, some music companies are starting to reexamine their relationships with Apple.
The turbulence on the content side comes as Apple is enjoying smooth sailing on its hardware side. On Monday, the company reported strong fourth-quarter earnings, with computer sales up 34 percent and iPod sales up 17 percent over the comparable quarter last year.
But fans of such hit shows as “The Office” are angry because Apple, feuding with NBC Universal over pricing, pulled all current NBC shows from the popular iTunes music store.
And after Dec. 1, when Apple’s contract with NBC expires, all shows that NBC Universal owns, past and present, will disappear from the site. That includes shows from Sci Fi, USA and Bravo cable channels.
NBC Universal confirmed that it sent a letter on Oct. 9 asserting that Apple is in breach of contract, though it is unlikely to pursue legal action. The two sides have stopped negotiating and there appears to be no resolution in sight.
[Learn More: Washington Post]