New online digital storage 'Ecosystem' to rival iTunes?

A consortium of media companies including Alcatel-Lucent, Best Buy, Cisco, Comcast, Fox, HP, Intel, Lions Gate, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Paramount Pictures, Philips, Sony, Toshiba, VeriSign and Warner Bros plan to create a digital video 'ecosystem'. This new digital framework, essentially an online virtual storage library containing a digital rights locker, would be in direct contrast to Apple's iTunes vendor-based model. The consortium will call itself Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (or DECE) and their goal is to create an "uniform digital media experience". More specifically, it would give the media producers more control over the media rather than leaving that in the domain of online retailers like Apple. Consumers would be able to copy licensed material to their portable devices or burn the content onto physical media. They plan to use a DECE logo to signify which digital content is compatible and their aim is to make digital media as easy to play as a DVD purchased from a store. In fact, they would embrace the "buy once, play anywhere" model. More details will be released during the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2009.

"This is very different from the Apple ecosystem," said DECE President Mitch Singer. "We encourage Apple to join the consortium. We don't ever anticipate Apple going away or this consortium replacing it." Yet in the same interview Singer said that this new ecosystem would turn Apple's "closed" iTunes model 'on its head'.

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