Upon arrival, the officer discovered the man was wearing only a shirt, but not one long enough to properly cover himself. The man admitted he was experiencing drug related hallucinations, and was taken to hospital without incident. RCMP say the man did not speak to anyone during his time in the restaurant, and kept close to the bathroom, not exposing himself to the public. As the attending officer witnessed the incident himself, witness statements were not needed. No charges will come from the incident.- Advertisement –
Why do Manchester United need Cristiano Ronaldo with their attacking talent? 1 Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes dismissed rumours this week that the Portuguese will make a sensational return to Manchester United.Ronaldo, who left the Theatre of Dreams for Real Madrid in an £80million transfer in 2009, has been strongly linked to United in recent weeks amid suggestions he is unhappy in the Spanish capital.United will always be in Ronaldo’s heart and a return would be romantic for the fans who adore him, but is it realistic to bring the forward back to Manchester?talkSPORT looks at some of the reasons why the Real Madrid man is NOT needed at Old Trafford.Cost and ageAs the 2013 Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldo is officially the best player in the world.But at 29 years old, would United be getting any value for money by investing £150million? Because that is the astronomical figure reportedly required to lure the Portuguese back to Old Trafford.Ronaldo’s goal tally in La Liga and Europe is nothing short of phenomenal, but to part with such a large sum for a player who’ll be entering the latter period of his career seems extreme, especially with the investment United have made on forwards this year.United are ‘top heavy’The Red Devils already boast a plethora of attacking talent, including Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata.Ronaldo would be an upgrade on any attacker, but given how much he’d cost and how much would be left to spend on other players, is another forward what United need?Di Maria has settled in perfectly to English football, and given his development over the past two seasons he may go on to become the world’s best player himself. Three years Ronaldo’s junior, Di Maria has his best years ahead of him.Monaco loanee Falcao has also looked at home in United’s first XI and with reports suggesting a £43million permanent deal is already agreed for next summer, that doesn’t leave much money to spend on strengthening the team where it is needed most.It would be sensible for United to invest on top quality defensive reinforcements, such as Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund or Raphael Varane of Real Madrid. Then United would have a balanced squad capable of competing with the best in Europe.It could undermine captain RooneyDespite their infamous spat at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Ronaldo and Rooney are said to have a strong relationship both on and off the field.But there’s no escaping the fact that during Ronaldo’s spell at Old Trafford, Rooney was sacrificed for the Portuguese and often pushed out wide to do the donkey work.For all his talent Ronaldo would rarely track back, and Sir Alex Ferguson would often employ Rooney on the left or right to make up for the Portuguese’s reluctance to help defensively.Some may argue that’s not Ronaldo’s game, but given Rooney’s promotion to captain, it seems unlikely the Englishman would settle for a similar role to accommodate the forward.While Rooney is a devisive figure for both club and country, the one thing he can never be accused of is lacking work rate, commitment or putting himself before the team.And with the contract he is on, Rooney is going nowhere. Better to have him happy and hungry to succeed under Van Gaal.Young talent emerging at UnitedAdnan Januzaj and James Wilson are just two of the talented young footballers emerging at Old Trafford.Januzaj excelled last season and was selected for Belgium’s World Cup squad, while Wilson is highly thought of and burst on to the scene with two goals in his debut at home to Hull last season.Given their potential, Januzaj could go on to become a top-class No.10 and Wilson a quality long-term replacement for Robin Van Persie.But a return for Ronaldo, following the arrivals of Falcao and Di Maria, could stunt their progression and almost certainty bring an abrupt end to one, if not both their United careers.Louis van Gaal has promoted Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair from the reserves this season and the Dutchman is an advocate of youth, and perhaps the Red Devils would be better served looking to the future, rather than pining for the past represented by Ronaldo.United fans, what are thoughts on a potential Ronaldo return? Is he needed at Old Trafford? Comment below…
Video: All the goals from Forest’s 2-0 win against Rotherham – including an amazing strike from Michail Antonio
Catch the Reds in action as they maintained their faint play-off hopes
1 Just in case there were any Leeds fans still enjoying the season, the club have imposed a £5 ‘pie tax’ at Elland Road.The additional charge from this month in the South Stand means adult ticket prices will rise to £42 including a “meal deal” voucher – irrespective of whether fans require refreshments.“The club is looking at ways to encourage supporters to use the facilities and catering offerings on matchdays,” a Leeds spokesperson said.Leeds Supporters’ Trust chairman Michael Green said: “The whole thing has been introduced without any consultation at all,” adding there is a real issue of keeping fans of one of the best supported teams in the country loyal.“Certainly you do not do it by trying to force through so-called ‘pie tax’ schemes, especially at a time when disillusionment has already set in and the sense of another wasted season looms large,” he said.Here, some fans vented their frustration on Twitter. Fans at Elland Road are not happy with the club
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.Al-Anon will have a Spanish-speaking discussion meeting, 9 a.m. at 38345 30th St. E., Suite C-3, Palmdale. Call (661) 274-9353. Facilitated Anger Management Group for ages 8-11 will meet, 2:30-4 p.m.; teens, 4:30-6 p.m., and adults, 10:30-noon or 12:30-2 p.m. at the Family Resource Foundation, 38345 30th St. E., Suite A-2, Palmdale. Call (661) 266-8700 or (800) 479-CARE or visit the Web site: www.frf.av.org. Beginning yoga, 9-10 a.m. at Unity Church of Antelope Valley, 39149 8th St. E., Palmdale. Call (661) 273-3341. Women and Self-esteem support group meets in the Acton area. Call (661) 947-0839. Healing Heart support group will meet, 4-5:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army store, 45001 Beech Ave. in Lancaster. Call (661) 943-5830. SATURDAY Leona Valley Sertoma Club meets, 8 a.m. the first and third Saturdays of each month at Jackie’s Restaurant, 40352 90th St. W., Leona Valley. Call (661) 270-0339. Low-cost Facilitated Parenting Group will meet, 10-11:30 a.m. Court approved. Call (661) 266-8700. Seniors Lunch-Bingo Hour, noon-5 p.m. the fourth Saturday of each month at the Antelope Valley Senior Center, 777 W. Jackman St., Lancaster. Sponsored by Buklod ng Pagkakaisa (Bond of Unity). Call Emerita Ross at (661) 723-7876 or Marie Cabrera at (661) 726-5309. Compulsive Eaters Anonymous – HOW Concept will meet, 9 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 1737 E. Ave. R, Palmdale. Call Jane at (661) 945-4798. Women Midlife Transition Support Group for women over age 40 is facilitated by a professional psychotherapist. Call (661) 947-0839. Overeaters Anonymous will meet, 10-11:30 a.m. in Room 13 at Lancaster United Methodist Church, 918 W. Ave. J, Lancaster. Call (661) 724-1820. Hotline: (661) 789-5806. Narcotics Anonymous: For meeting times and locations, call (661) 266-2200 or check www.todayna.org or www.sava-na.org. SUNDAY Nicotine Anonymous will meet, 8-9 p.m. at Seventh-day Adventist Church, 43824 30th St. W., Lancaster. Call (661) 946-7606. Buklod ng Pagkakaisa (Bond of Unity) Seniors’ Social Hour, 4-7 p.m. the first Sunday of each month at the Antelope Valley Senior Center, 777 W. Jackman St., Lancaster. Meetings feature films, talks, singalongs, talent shows and dancing. Call (661) 723-7876 or (661) 726-5309. Costume Figure Sessions, 2:30-5:30 p.m. the fourth Sunday of each month at Cedar Centre Hall, 44857 Cedar Ave. Cost: $5; students with identification are admitted free. 40 and Up Singles dance, 6:30-10:30 p.m. every Sunday at Lancaster Elks Lodge, 240 E. Ave. K, Lancaster. Admission: $5 members, $7 nonmembers. Call (661) 317-7021. Life Figure Sessions, 2:30-5:30 p.m. the second Sunday of each month at Cedar Centre Hall, 44857 Cedar Ave. Cost: $5; students with ID are admitted free. Teen Care and Support Group, for teens who have lost a family member or friend, will meet, 6:30 p.m. at Desert Vineyard Christian School, 1011 E. Ave. I, Room 302, Lancaster. Call (661) 945-2777. Palmdale Moose Lodge, 3101 E. Ave. Q, Palmdale, will host bingo games beginning at 1 p.m. Call (661) 947-6777. Revealing Truth, a meditation and spiritual discussion, 4:45-6:15 p.m. Call (661) 723-9967. Antelope Valley Chess Club will meet, 1-5 p.m. at American Legion Post 771, 39463 10th St. E., Palmdale. Call (661) 726-1323. Narcotics Anonymous: For meeting times and locations, call (661) 266-2200 or check www.sava-na.org. Overeaters Anonymous will meet, 5-6 p.m. at 44960 Cedar Ave., Lancaster. Call (661) 789-5806. MONDAY Beyond the Light, a socialization and support group for young adults, ages 17 1/2 to 25, with mental health issues, will meet, noon-1 p.m. at Transitional Youth Services, 104 E. Ave. K-4, Lancaster. Call Bill Slocum at (661) 947-1595. Jazzercise classes, 5:30-6:30 p.m. at George Lane Park, 5520 W. Ave. L-8, Quartz Hill. Call (661) 722-7780. Dance Groove will give ballroom and Latin dance lessons, 6-8:30 p.m. Dance Groove Studio, 43631 10th St. W., Lancaster. Cost: $5 per person. Call (661) 948-9101. Take Off Pounds Sensibly will meet, 9-10:30 a.m. Call (661) 272-0207 or (661) 947-7672. Co-Dependents Anonymous Step Study will meet, 6-7 p.m. at Antelope Valley Hospital, multipurpose meeting room, second floor, 1600 W. Ave. J, Lancaster. Call (661) 944-4927. 12 Step Recovery Groups for alcohol and drug addiction, co-dependency, relationship addiction, overeating, fear and anxiety issues, meets, 7 p.m. at Desert Vineyard Christian Fellowship, 1011 E. Ave. I, Lancaster. Call (661) 945-2777. The Palmdale Elks Lodge, 2705 E. Ave. Q, Palmdale will host bingo, 5:30 p.m. The grill will be open. Call (661) 947-2027. Overeaters Anonymous will meet, 6-7 p.m. at Lancaster United Methodist Church, 918 W. Ave. J, Lancaster. Call (661) 722-0393. Co-Dependents Anonymous will host a 12-step recovery program, 7:30-9 p.m., at Antelope Valley Hospital, multipurpose meeting room, second floor, 1600 W. Ave. J, Lancaster. Call (661) 944-4927 or (661) 946-5846. Grief Recovery Outreach Group will meet, 6:30-8 p.m. at Family Resource Foundation, 38345 30th St. E., Suite A-2, Palmdale. Call (661) 266-8700 or visit www.frf.av.org. Adult Anger Management Group will meet, 6:30-8 p.m. at Family Resource Foundation, 38345 30th St. E., Suite A-2, Palmdale. Call (661) 266-8700. The Highs and Lows, a support group for those diagnosed with manic depression or related disorders, will meet, 7-9 p.m. at Lutheran Church of the Master, 725 E. Ave. J, Lancaster. Al-Anon will have a discussion, 7 p.m. at 51st Street West and Avenue K, Lancaster. Child care provided. Call (661) 274-9353 or (800) 344-2666.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Contract signed, now straight to work for @Alookman_! 🤙👏🔴⚪ #DieRotenBullen pic.twitter.com/3r6xHCj3Ta— RB Leipzig English (@RBLeipzig_EN) July 25, 2019“Of course, I am also looking forward to seeing my teammates again and would like to help the team to continue to celebrate great successes.“Finally I can play again in the Red Bull Arena in front of this great backdrop and the fans.“And last but not least, I would like to thank God, the fans and RB Leipzig for making my move possible.”The winger scored five goals in eleven games during his last stint in the Bundesliga and will be looking to emulate English sensation Jadon Sancho, who enjoyed a brilliant 2018/19 season with Borussia Dortmund. getty LATEST TRANSFER NEWS Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father LATEST three-way race Liverpool’s signings under Michael Edwards – will Minamino be the next big hit? RB Leipzig have completed the signing of Ademola Lookman from Everton.Lookman, 21, joined the Toffees from Charlton in 2017, but has turned his back on the Premier League for a new life in Germany. Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January targets Chelsea confident of beating Man United and Liverpool to Sancho signing 1 Cavani ‘agrees’ to join new club and will complete free transfer next summer Lookman enjoyed a good loan spell at Leipzig during the 2017/18 season TOP WORK moving on Tony Cascarino backs Everton to sign two strikers for Carlo Ancelotti The biggest market value losers in 2019, including Bale and ex-Liverpool star The England Under-21 international had a successful loan spell at Leipzig in 2018 but struggled to make an impact on the first-team at Goodison Park last season.And he has been allowed to leave on a permanent basis, signing a five-year deal for a fee believed to be around £22.5million.Lookman, who came through Charlton’s academy, scored 48 goals in 48 appearances for Everton.After securing his move, Lookman said: “I am very happy to be back here and would like to continue where I left off in the second half of 2018 for RB Leipzig. LIVING THE DREAM REVEALED targets Lookman also joins Chelsea youngster Ethan Ampadu at Leipzig, who sealed a season-long loan move to the club.Sporting director Markus Krosche said: “We are very pleased that it has worked hard to commit Ademola Lookman.“It was a long process altogether, mainly because we would have liked to have him come last summer. But we have been persistent and that has now paid off.“Ademola has been absolutely convincing during his six-month loan and he will now integrate again quickly and certainly enrich our offensive game with its dynamics even further.”
A pop-up collection point has opened in Buncrana in support of a special project to end period poverty in Ireland.Period poverty is a silent struggle that many women are forced to deal with every month.It may be something that is often taken for granted, but the expense of feminine hygiene products can place extra pressure on teenagers and women in various circumstances. Buncrana woman Aoife Grant recently opened Donegal’s only collection point this year for Homeless Period Ireland, a project that gives dignity to women in need.The initiative takes in public donations of pads, tampons, liners and wipes that volunteers then drop off at Homeless Outreach Centres, Direct Provision Centres and Women’s Refuges.Aoife Grant, co-founder of Merdog BooksAoife, who works in publishing, was inspired to help out after hearing about the trojan work of Homeless Period Ireland Manager Claire Hunt. The project was partly prompted by a scene from the British film I, Daniel Blake in which a young woman is caught for shoplifting sanitary pads.Aoife was also struck by the harsh realities of the film and by essays on period poverty. She decided to get involved with Homeless Period Ireland in January 2019 by opening a collection point in The Exchange in Buncrana. Pads, tampons, wipes and maternity pads can all be donated to the designated point between 9.30am – 1pm and at various times in the evenings. Aoife said: “I would urge women to, when they are buying something in the shop, just to put an extra one in the basket. Women who are pregnant and don’t need the items could also buy them anyway and donate them.“I would love the support from women and men alike.”A recent survey by Plan International found that nearly 50 per cent of Irish teenage girls find it difficult to afford sanitary products. Also, 61% of Irish girls aged 12-19 have missed school as a direct result of their period. A further 61% of girls said they are too embarrassed to talk about menstruation.The average cost for a pack of sanitary pads in Ireland is €4.50, while tampons range from €2-€5 for regular packs. In a year, a woman can spend up to €100 on feminine hygiene.Aoife is hoping the local collection can help the hidden crisis and break the stigma. She said: “The most important thing to me is to get rid of that hurdle because young girls do not need another obstacle.”“This is not just for homeless women, it’s women and teenagers in crisis and those in Direct Provision.”The Buncrana collection will end on 8th March, International Women’s Day, before the goods are delivered to Homeless Period Ireland for distribution.For more information check out www.facebook.com/homelessperiodIreland Public urged to support ‘period poverty’ aid project in Donegal was last modified: February 22nd, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:buncranahomeless period ireland
21 December 2011In 2011 South Africa’s national cricket team, the Proteas, produced some superb performances, but, ultimately, the sum of the team’s parts failed to deliver what they could have.Considering that the side featured the world’s leading test bowler, Dale Steyn, and the man third in the rankings, Morne Morkel, along with the great Jacques Kallis, and other outstanding batsmen in Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers, who were one and two in one-day international batting rankings, it should have achieved more.Against both India and Australia, they drew test series after taking the series lead with dominant victories that suggested they had a clear edge on the opposition.World CupAs it was for every major cricket playing nation, 2011 was a big year for South African cricket because of the World Cup, which was hosted by India. It was also an opportunity for the Proteas to undo many past disappointments by claiming the Cup.Unfortunately for South African fans, the World Cup once again ended in bitter disappointment.In the round robin phase, the Proteas were in fine form in Group B, winning five out of six matches to convincingly top the standings.They beat the West Indies by seven wickets, the Netherlands by 231 runs, eventual champions India by three wickets, Ireland by 131 runs, and Bangladesh by 206 runs. A warning was sounded, however, when the Proteas lost to England by six runs when chasing only 172 for victory.As the number one team in Group B, South Africa faced the fourth placed team from Group A in the quarterfinals, which turned out to be New Zealand. The Proteas failed to fire in an ill-tempered match and were well beaten by 49 runs.Spinners’ successSpinners Robin Petersen and Imran Tahir provided some light, however, finishing near the top of the list among wicket takers, with 15 and 14 respectively.Petersen averaged only 15.86 per wicket, while Tahir’s average was an astounding 10.71, the best in the tournament. His strike rate of a wicket every 16.9 balls also led all bowlers. And he was among the best when it came to exuberant wicket taking celebrations.AB de Villiers led the batsmen, despite playing in just five games because of injury, totalling 353 runs at 88.25, with centuries in successive matches against the West Indies and the Netherlands.A number of South Africans did, however, taste success at the World Cup, with India coach Gary Kirsten and his support staff leading the hosts to the title. Later in the year, Kirsten was appointed coach of the Proteas.Innings’ victoryAmong the other highlights of the year were South Africa’s victory by an innings and 25 runs over India at Centurion. In that match, Morne Morkel knocked over 5 for 20 and Dale Steyn captured 3 for 34 as the Indians mustered only 136 in their first innings.Jacques Kallis then scored a maiden test double century, finishing on 201 not out, while Hashim Amla weighed in with 140 and De Villiers with 129, as South Africa declared on a massive 620 for 4.India fought hard to score 459 in their second innings behind Sachin Tendulkar’s 50th test century, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a comprehensive South African victory.AmazingIn November, one of the most amazing test matches ever took place at Newlands. Batting first, the visitors, Australia, posted 284 all out, thanks to a splendid 151 from captain Michael Clarke.South Africa, in reply, were skittled out for just 96 as only the openers, Jacques Rudolph and Graeme Smith, reached double figures. Shane Watson excelled with the ball, taking 5 for 17.The Aussies began their second innings with a seemingly insurmountable lead of 188 runs. Incredibly, though, they were blasted out for only 47, having at one stage been on 21 for 9! Debutant Vernon Philander finished with figures of 5 for 15, while Morne Morkel took 3 for 9, and Steyn 2 for 23.South Africa then made the pitch look relatively easy, chasing down the victory target for the loss of only two wickets to win the match inside three days. Smith struck 101 not out, while Amla contributed 112.ResultsIn other results, a two-test series against Pakistan in late 2010 was drawn 0-0, the Indian series finished 1-1, as did the Australian series.The Proteas edged a five-match one-day international series against Pakistan 3-2, won 3-2 against India, and lost 2-1 to Australia.The Aussies also beat the Proteas 2-1 in a Twenty20 international series. South Africa won 2-0 against Pakistan in the shortest form of the game and lost their only T20 against India.Player of the YearIn 2011, Jacques Kallis, South Africa’s Player of the Year, passed 12 000 runs in tests, placing him fourth on the all-time list, with a higher average than the three men above him. After a two-test series against Australia, he had also claimed 271 test wickets, good for 28th all time, and fourth on the South African list of wicket takers.With 169 catches, he is also sixth on the all-time list among fielders. Clearly, the term “great” is not misplaced in this instance.Dale Steyn achieved a milestone when he went over the 900 point mark – an achievement similar to the four-minute mile in athletics – in the test bowling rankings.He remains far and away the leading test bowler in the world, a massive 87 points ahead of the man in second place on the list, England fast bowler James Anderson.South African Sports Star of the YearHashim Amla proved to be one of the most popular sportsmen in the country and was voted South African Sports Star of the Year in August.In domestic action, the Cape Cobras won the SuperSport Series four-day competition, while the Knights triumphed in the 40-overs-a-side MTN40.The Cobras added another title in the Standard Bank Pro20 Series, while the Warriors finished runners-up in the Champions League T20, a competition featuring the best T20 provincial teams from around the world.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? 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One of the many conventional wisdoms in HR is that it is important to increase the diversity of the applicant pool by posting positions and recruiting externally. I could not agree more, except when I disagree.Let’s look at the case of the vacant Marketing Director position of Company ABC. Renee is a Vice President of Marketing and wants to promote Alexa into the vacant position.Following the conventional wisdom relative to increasing diversity, HR strongly encourages Renee to post internally and to recruit externally. Renee reluctantly agrees in response to HR’s persistent encouragement.There are three (3) very strong final candidates. Ultimately, Renee goes with her first choice, Alexa, and promotes her.Alexa is a white woman. One of the unsuccessful external candidates, Max, is a man of color.When Max looks at Alexa’s credentials as she has described them on a social media profile, he concludes he is more qualified than she and files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC alleging race and gender bias and ultimately sues in court.When deposed, Renee admits, as she must, that she really knew whom she wanted to hire before opening up the position to internal posting and external recruiting. As a result, a number of candidates invested time and emotional energy on an opportunity that was an oasis.How do you think a jury will feel about applicants being played this way? In this case, I am with the plaintiff and not the defendant.What would have happened if the position has not been posted internally and externally? Alexa would have gotten the job but there probably would not have been a charge, let alone a lawsuit.When the deal is effectively sealed, the posting has a fraudulent feel to it and does nothing more than create a pool of potential litigants. Legal and fairness considerations argue against posting in these circumstances.Some employers still post or recruit in these circumstances but add something to the effect “strong internal candidate identified.” This is not transparency but a transparent hedge that may invite attack.I don’t foresee it. I have seen it. So let’s go back to the general recommendation of not posting when you know who you are going to hire.Of course, make sure your policy on posting does not lock you into posting all vacant positions. If the policy states or suggests that you will post in all circumstances, then your failure to post may be used as evidence of discrimination.HR policies need to be drafted to allow for exceptions to general rules to reflect the need for agility in the business world. But let’s not stop there.Where an exception is made, document contemporaneously the legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the exception. This will mitigate, not eliminate, the risk of not posting.Yes, in the case of the vacant Marketing Manager position, there are risks no matter what you do. That’s why HR needs to think more about managing as opposed to avoiding risk.It’s a bit uncomfortable. Once we accept this, we can get more comfortable with it.
josh catone 1 Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Trends#web 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Apple Will Continue to Rule the Digital Music LandscapeEven though it looks like a confluence of recent events is finally pointing to a weakening in Apple’s digial music strangehold, the reality is that there still remains a long, long uphill battle for Amazon, Microsoft, and the rest. Further, in order to really take down Apple, both Amazon and Microsoft (or Sandisk, Creative, etc.) need to succeed. Apple has opened two fronts in this battle, iTunes and iPod, and in order to take them down, you have to beat them on both.Too many people are already ingrained in the iTunes+iPod experience, and for many of them, DRM doesn’t matter. They buy tracks on iTunes and put them on their iPods. As long as iPods control the player market, iTunes will control the download market. And let’s not forget that Apple sells about 2 million DRM-free tracks of its own, so it has hardly sat on the sidelines while competitors have added copy protection-less tracks to their offerings.Until the music player market shifts dramatically away from iPod dominance, DRM-free tracks will generally matter less to the majority of the MP3-buying public, who just won’t be affected since they are using iPods. Once that happens, though, then all things being equal selection-wise (i.e., assuming the major labels working with Amazon eventually work with Apple as well to sell DRM-free tracks) and price-wise (which it is already), it likely comes down to buying experience.The most intriguing prospect for that shift? The potential for an Amazon digital media player. Amazon began selling hardware late in 2007 with the release of the Kindle e-book reader, so perhaps an Amazon media player isn’t so far-fetched. It would replicate the vertical integration of the iPod and iTunes store that has been a major part of Apple’s rise to control over the industry.Then again, as TheStreet.com points out, “with iPod satisfaction rates running at over a staggering 90%, and competitors like Microsoft failing to dent its market share, an Amazon-made device would likely struggle to dislodge Apple.”ConclusionEventually, Apple might lose some of its grip on the music download and media player industry. But while Amazon and Microsoft take baby steps in competing with Apple, the Cupertino, CA-based company is not standing still. Microsoft made positive changes to its Zune, but Apple released the iPod Touch (and updated the rest of the iPod line), plus signed distribution deals with Starbucks to deliver iTunes tracks over wifi in-store. Amazon signed two more major labels onto its MP3 download store, but Apple is already expanding into video rentals (i.e., onto Amazon’s turf to compete with their Unbox service).It seems likely that Apple’s dominating position over the music download and media player markets will continue for at least a few years. What do you think? Is there and end to the iPod/iTunes monopoly in sight? Does Amazon, Microsoft, or some other company have what it takes to take on Apple? Let us know in the comments. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… A lot of things happened in 2007 that seemed to threaten Apple’s stranglehold on the digital music market. Microsoft launched its new Zune MP3 players, which received mostly glowing reviews, and they kept their installed user base happy with major firmware updates for old players. Meanwhile, Amazon launched a major DRM-free MP3 download service at a cut-rate (compared to Apple’s). But generally, the facts still point to Apple dominance for awhile to come.Why it Looks Like Apple Should SweatYesterday, we heard that Warner Music Group had teamed up with Amazon to offer its entire catalog DRM-free. They joined Universal music and EMI music, as well as 33,000 independent labels in pushing Amazon’s catalog to 2.9 million tracks. That’s still well short of Apple’s 6 million or so tracks offered via iTunes, but Apple’s DRM-free selection comes only from EMI. Warner and Universal have chosen so far to deal just with Amazon.Amazon is starting to feel like a real threat to Apple’s monopoly on the music download biz. They seem to have the cooperation of the music industry in offering DRM-free tracks, and their lower pricing (generally $.89-.99 per track) already forced Apple to lower its own DRM-free prices earlier this year.Further, Amazon’s MP3 store soft launched in September and has had little advertising. So far it has gained about a 3% share of the total market (more according to other reports) — measly compared to Apple’s iTunes — but in just over a month, Amazon and Pepsi are planning a large Superbowl promotion to give away 1 billion free songs via the service. According to Billboard, when Pepsi offered 100 million free tracks via iTunes in 2004, just 5 million were ultimately redeemed over the 5 month promotion period. But since then, digital music has grown 416%, so it’s a safe bet tht this promotion will be more successful. Could the Superbowl be a coming out party for Amazon in the music download business?Additionally, Apple faces more competition in the digital media player market. Microsoft’s Zune.net web site reportedly saw a 299% jump in traffic on Christmas day. Granted, Apple’s iTune’s store page still received 6 times the traffic, but the Zune.net numbers might be indicative of a strong holiday season for Microsoft’s player.Apple’s iPod line still holds about a 70% market share (March), but that is down from over 90% just a couple of years ago. Better offerings from Microsoft, Sandisk, and other competitors are certainly putting a dent in the iPod’s commanding position in the MP3 player market, albeit a small one.