Apparently according to The Daily of the University of Washington of Seattle, the University has struck a deal with Dell and Napster to “makes it [UW] the first university to offer a free, legal music downloading service in coordination with a hardware provider.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a novel idea and all, but where’s competition fit into this? The fact that they’re branding it and saying, “All must use this service, we provide it to you so that you can be legal and so that we can’t get our butts sued off because you’re using our networks illegally” seems pretty lame to me.
Am I advocating stealing music? By no means. I use iTunes just like anyone else and buy my music in a legal manner. Sure, being a college student is hard and money typically has to be stretched further (a good test for post-graduate life where you actually are having to pay for your own things), but by having something like this with Napster, you are basically a) trying to get them addicted to the service so that when they graduate they want to buy the service (or feel the urge to) and b) influence them in their selection of computers (buy Dell I tell you, buy Dell) 😉 and c) their selection of MP3 players (sorry kids, Napster and iPods don’t mix).
Bottom line — what’s up UW? Why are you doing this? How many kick backs are you getting besides the free hardware? What happens when you show up with a Powerbook to your graphics art design course or an iPaq is tucked away in your briefcase that has your scheduler in it?