Apple aims to kill Podcasting

Apple's recent cease and desist order to Podcast Ready has been seen as a shot across the bow in the what was previously a cold war surrounding the term podcast.

The guys who started the podcasting craze chose the term podcasting because it was fun, descriptive and easy to remember. It was a no brainer for someone trying to get audio files loaded onto their own Apple built iPod portable media players. Soon, however, the software was being passed around the web and improved by various parties and they all needed to be able to tell each other what they were doing. The term "podcasting" was now not only fun, descriptive and easy to remember -- it was also what everyone prior to them was calling it. It was fated to stick.

The problem now is that the term, while being descriptive, contains the trademarked name of a product owned by Apple. It seems inevitible that Apple is testing the water with its cease and desist order and will soon be chasing down all infringers of their trademark (real or imagined.) At some point we will all have to decide to change the name podcasting to something else.

It reminds me of the trouble we went through in the 1990s when Unisys began pursuing license royalties for the GIF file format which up to that point was the number one format for graphics being passed between computers. In that case everyone used the GIF format because of the compression it offered over other formats. Unisys discovered it had a patent and decided to say "pay," we replied I think I'll use JPG (or eventually PNG) instead.

So, what will we do? Leo LaPorte suggests we use "netcasting" instead. It seems a little ungainly, but it certainly does not have the troubles of audcasting, mobicasting or webcasting. I thnk he's right in thaty we need to solve the problem, I just haven't been able to make myself like the term netcasting. I'm trying, though.

I also keep trying to think of something better, but haven't.

You give it a try...

About Phil Yanov

Phil Yanov is a Technologist, Columnist and Public Radio Commentator.

He is the founder of Tech After Five as well as the founder and President of the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council.

His personal technology column appears in Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Journal.

He co-hosts the Your Day technology shows heard on NPR radio stations across South Carolina and is a frequent contributor to technology stories appearing on radio and television.