By a margin of almost 100 votes, France's National Assembly has approved a bill that could force Apple and other companies to open the DRM used by their online music stores to other companies. At issue isn't DRM itself but interoperability. The law, if passed by France's Senate later this year, could require Apple to open its FairPlay DRM system to music players other than the iPod. If Apple refused, the law would allow consumers to use software to transcode the music into other formats, stripping the DRM in the process. The law would also apply to other DRM, such as Microsoft's PlaysForSure, but Apple has the most to lose, both because of its large share of the market, and because of its "razor-and-blades" business model, which closely ties the iPod to the iTunes Music Store. Apple has thus far refused to comment on the bill.

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France's National Assembly approves iPod DRM bill