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Apple seeking coder to port iTunes to Windows

Marching to a different DRM

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Apple has indirectly confirmed it is developing a version of its iTunes music jukebox software for Windows.

According to the Mac maker's employment opportunities site, the company is seeking a Senior Software Engineer. His or her key responsibility: "Design and build Apple's newest Consumer Application, iTunes for Windows."

When Apple first made its iPod personal music player available to Windows users, it chose to bundle MusicMatch's Jukebox Plus software rather than port over iTunes. The intention was clear: to reserve the tight integration between iTunes and iPod for Mac users.

But with Apple's Music Store committed to Windows support by the end of the year, Apple has a need to provide software that can tie in the online purchasing system to both PCs and PC-hosted iPods.

More importantly, the software also needs to tie into QuickTime to allow the playback off protected AAC files of the kind used by the Music Store (see Steve Jobs blesses DRM, and nothing happens. Music Store downloads use MPEG-4's DRM system - AAC is part of MPEG-4, which is why you need QuickTime for now - and save files with the .M4P suffix, according to MacRumors.com. User-encoded AAC files are suffixed .M4A. iTunes prevents users from converting an M4P file into any other format, though there's nothing to stop anyone burning M4Ps to audio CD and ripping back beyond a potential loss of audio quality.

Apple claims iTunes only plays AAC files generated by iTunes itself or by Apple, but early feeback to the MacRumors.com report suggest this may not the be the case.

Whatever, Apple needs to get all this DRM jiggery-pokery onto Windows before it opens its online Music Store doors to PC users.

It's not clear when Apple began looking for an iTunes for Windows developer, but it is still taking applications. The successful candidate has until the end of the year to get the code ready to ship.

Apple is also advertising the opening on Monster.com. ®

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