Apple Poisons Podcast RSS Extension

    July 4, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

After being widely hailed for taking the concept of podcasting mainstream, Apple may be implementing proprietary definitions for podcast formats.

RSS creator Dave Winer has noted Apple’s inclusion of a couple of iTunes specific tags in their Document Type Definition for podcasts.

“I think it’s kind of a bad idea to use a trademark in the name of a namespace. I think Apple may regret doing this. Also their competitors, already objecting to the use of “pod” in the name of the category, may further object to supporting information with a trademark of a competitor as its name,” he says.

Apple seems to have redefined at least a couple of RSS tags to directly reference iTunes in the DTD. Those listings, like itunes:category and itunes:author, could have itunes replaced with media:category and media:credit instead, and decrease the perception that Apple is trying to co-opt podcasts into something proprietary.

According to, Yahoo has done some work on a media RSS specification already. That site urges Yahoo and Apple to get together and work on jointly developing a final media specification.

But there shouldn’t be any real surprise that Apple has provided a very iTunes-specific DTD format for those who wish to have their podcasts placed on iTunes.

Apple has long been a single source provider for its hardware and software. The zeal with which Steve Jobs has had Apple’s legal team attack independent sites for publishing leaked Apple info ahead of an announcement has to be surprising even to the most dedicated Apple fan.

The only real public protestation of Apple’s practices has been related to environmental problems alleged by a group in California. Maybe this will lead to another. After all, while iTunes will be a desirable destination for podcasters, no one is being forced to go there.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.