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Apple planning on licensing FairPlay to accessory makers?

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There's not a whole lot to go on here as far as confirmation or source, but the rumor is juicy, so we thought we'd pass it along anyways. Tech.co.uk is reporting that Apple is working up a licensing program for Made For iPod licensees that would allow manufacturers to build FairPlay decoding products. We've already seen semi-interoperable products, such as the EVA8000 that Netgear just recently announced, which can work with protected files off of a Windows machine, but that's a far cry from what a fully licensed FairPlay device could do, and we'd be surprised to see Apple open itself up to competition with its own streaming products -- the Airport Express and Apple TV. There's also the possibility that such functionality could allow device makers to include enhancements to their accessories such as album artwork or other track info built into the codec, but we'll have to wait and see what Apple has to say about this, if anything: they're purported be to be launching the program in the next couple of weeks.

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