The second alternative is for Apple to license its FairPlay DRM technology to current and future competitors with the goal of achieving interoperability between different company’s players and music stores.
The most serious problem is that licensing a DRM involves disclosing some of its secrets to many people in many companies, and history tells us that inevitably these secrets will leak. The Internet has made such leaks far more damaging, since a single leak can be spread worldwide in less than a minute.
Apple has concluded that if it licenses FairPlay to others, it can no longer guarantee to protect the music it licenses from the big four music companies.
Steve Jobs speaks openly about DRM here, which is interesting, but he is obviously negotiating with European anti-trust entities in this essay. He presents a proposition that the two major European music companies license their music to him without a DRM requirement. Thats a bit "let them eat cake" I think. I'm sure he thinks the pressure that Europeans might put on those major music companies as a result of this essay will release some of the pressure on him, allowing him to find a better negotiating position.
Unfortunately, with regard to the passage I'm quoting, he's wrong. In order to have a DRM system you have to put the enforcement technology in the hands of all of your users. Those people can reverse engineer that technology, and spread their results via the Internet. DRM encoding systems can be just as blackbox as DRM enforcement systems, and you aren't handing them to as many people, so the idea that you can't tolerate the risk of those encoders being reverse engineered doesn't make any sense. You're already taking the greater risk that the decoders will be reverse engineered, and thats the fundamental crux of DRM. Furthermore, there is no reason why Apple couldn't support another companies DRM technology that already has shared encoders.
Steve Jobs - Thoughts on Music