As a corporation, Apple has done much to generate both good karma and bad. In the early days, the name McIntosh was associated with a respected line of audio amplifiers. Apple Computers licensed the name for use on their new Macintosh computer, though one wonders – beyond both being “electronic” – the different name and target markets may have made such a name license not needed legally. But it certain was good for karma, and perhaps due to the legal action that happened years earlier when the Beatle’s Apple Record company filed suit for using the name “Apple.”
So here we are, decades later, with the occasional lawsuit from Apple for things that sound like “iPod” or look like an iMac and weird things happen. Apple Records is no more, at least not as we knew it. Recently, an agreement was made so Apple (formerly Apple Computer) now owns use of the company name Apple, and Apple Records is licensing use back from Apple.
Think about that. Between 1977 and 2007, “Apple” went from a name the computer company was getting sued for using (or, misusing based on earlier agreements), to being the name those who sued had to license to use.
It is, indeed, a very different time with very different realities than when the first Apple I rolled out of the garage assembly line. And because of this, the future is unpredictable based on past observations.
iPods pre-loaded with music? The Beatle’s in the iTunes Music Store? More music-related devices bearing the name “Apple” without fear of retribution from John, Paul, George and Ringo (or at least those who represent them)?
Indeed. 2007 should prove quite the interesting year when it comes to Apple and Music.