updated 04:20 pm EDT, Wed May 16, 2007
SanDisk on Amazon
In a surprise statement, SanDisk this afternoon said that it praised news of Amazon's DRM-free music store and EMI's support. The company claimed that it welcomed the development, saying that the embrace of a universal format was crucial to establishing the digital music business.
"This is the first time a major record label and a major retailer have come together to offer consumers the freedom to buy music compatible with all MP3 players," said company general VP Daniel Schreiber. "As consistent advocates of consumer choice, we believe this is an important step forward."
While a significant endorsement of the joint move by Amazon and EMi, the statement contradicts the earlier attitude by CEO Eli Harari, who generated controversy by attacking Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs for suggesting in an open letter just the same DRM-free approach, which Apple revealed at the beginning of April. Analyst group PiperJaffray today criticized Amazon's store announcement as a "me-too" effort in response to the iTunes change rather than an original decision.
SanDisk at the time argued against siding primarily with listeners and claimed that owners of online stores should refrain from suggesting changes to the way music labels offer digital music. Store-independent DRM formats were a better alternative, Harari had suggested. The company has recently confirmed a deal with Yahoo for its wireless Sansa Connect player that uses Windows Media files and had in the past struck a deal with Real to support its Rhapsody service.