“Can Microsoft be trusted?
How music labels, Hollywood studios and consumers answer that question could determine whether the software giant dominates digital media the way it does Web browsers or desktop productivity applications, say analysts.
The Redmond, Wash.-based company is engaged in a tried-and-true tactic of giving away highly valuable technology as a means of getting a foothold in an emerging market. The strategy, which was instrumental in Microsoft’s victory in the so-called browser wars, is replaying in the digital media market.
The stakes may be as high; analysts see digital media, like the rise of the Web, as driving the next great wave of PC sales. Microsoft, not surprisingly, wants to make sure Windows becomes a ‘preferred platform’ for using digital media,” said Directions on Microsoft analyst Matt Rosoff.
In mid-January, Microsoft unveiled a new toolkit that would let record labels create music CDs containing, along with the normal tracks, pre-ripped Windows Media versions suitable for uploading to a buyer’s MP3-type player or PC, but protected by Microsoft’s digital rights management (DRM) technology to prevent copying and swapping. The toolkit, the DRM license and the use of the Windows Media Audio format is free for the labels, despite Microsoft’s $500 million investment developing what many analysts regard as the best DRM technology available today. ‘Windows Media, that whole division, is an investment,’ Rosoff said ‘They’re not making money on it, and they don’t plan to make money on it,'” writes Joe Wilcox for CNET News.com. Full story here.
Why anyone or any business would want to be associated with Micorsoft is beyond me. If I were a child, my mother would not let me associate with such thugs. Microsoft and the recording industry are simply ignoring the realities of the market place in their arrogance and will eventually be marginalized.
Okay, so the schlock that passes as “music” these days will also have a be Windows-only format version on the CD that can’t be copied, not even for fair use purposes. I wonder just how far that lead turkey will fly?
Not very far. As soon as Windows hackers (lots of those naughty little boys out there…) figure out how to break the copy protection scheme.. the whole deal goes *POOF*!