Microsoft’s underwhelming Zune a ‘viral DRM’ device

“Now that Microsoft has released some hard facts about Zune we can finally begin to sort out how much of an impact the product might have on the digital music market. For weeks we’ve been hearing rumors about how Zune’s wireless capabilities will be used to enable new types of music sharing and discovery. It’s the one feature that could potentially set Zune apart from the iPod,” Kirk Biglione reports for Medialoper.

Biglione reports, “Unfortunately Zune’s wireless music sharing is turning out to be one of those features that seemed better when it was just a rumor. While Zune users will be able share music with friends, there’s a catch (isn’t there always). As Jim noted earlier, recipients of shared songs will only be able to listen to them three times or for three days, whichever comes first. It sort of sounds like a really bad tire warranty.”

“Zune accomplishes this amazingly stupid feat by wrapping shared music in a proprietary layer of DRM, regardless of what format the original content may be in. If Microsoft’s claims are to be believed, this on-the-fly DRM will be seamless and automatic – which must be some kind of first for Microsoft,” Biglione reports. “What Microsoft has created is a new form of viral DRM. Zune will intentionally infect your music with the DRM virus before passing it along to one of your friends. After three listens the poor song dies a horrible DRM enabled death. Talk about innovation.”

Full article here.

Microsoft’s “ZuneInsider,” Cesar Menendez, reports in his blog that everything, even ripped CDs and homemade songs are limited to Zune’s “3 days/3 plays” limitation, “There currently isn’t a way to sniff out what you are sending, so we wrap it all up in DRM. We can’t tell if you are sending a song from a known band or your own home recording so we default to the safety of encoding.”

Full article here.
This article contains one giant leap of faith: that there will ever be two people with Zunes located near enough to attempt infecting each other with Microsoft’s draconian DRM scheme.

Related articles:
Enjoying Apple’s iTunes and iTunes Music Store without owning an iPod – May 11, 2005 (how people use iPods, iTunes, and/or the iTunes Music Store)

SanDisk teams with RealNetworks against new common foe: Microsoft Zune – September 18, 2006
Creative does Apple’s dirty work by immediately attacking Microsoft’s Zune – September 17, 2006
Motley Fool’s Jayson: Microsoft’s ‘just plain ugly’ Zune a meager offering, not an iPod killer – September 15, 2006
What’s in a name? ‘Zune’ a French-Canadian euphemism for penis or vagina – September 15, 2006
Crave at CNET: ‘Microsoft Zune, all the excitement that brown can bring’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune underwhelms – September 15, 2006
Enderle: Microsoft Zune ‘a design mistake’ – September 15, 2006
Microsoft hypocrisy exposed with Zune: What ever happened to ‘choice?’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune with fake scroll wheel ‘hardly an Apple iPod killer’ – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft Zune won’t spoil Apple’s biggest iPod Christmas ever – September 14, 2006
Microsoft unveils Zune 30GB player, Zune Marketplace; declines to disclose prices – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Microsoft’s Zune an ‘underwhelming’ repackaged Toshiba Gigabeat; no threat to Apple iPod – August 30, 2006
Microsoft confirms brick-like Zune to be made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft Zune is chunky brick made by Toshiba – August 25, 2006
Microsoft to spend hundreds of millions, several years on Zune trying to catch Apple iPod+iTunes – July 27, 2006
Zune: Apple cannot lose. Microsoft cannot win. – July 26, 2006


  1. What will really be interesting is how long will it take until the new Zune brand of DRM is cracked? And will it be cracked to allow unlimited life instead of 3 days or will it be cracked to allow a worm to infect all of the Zunes within WiFi distance?

    Will the worm beat the product to market?

  2. quote:
    This article contains one giant leap of faith: that there will ever be two people with Zunes located near enough to attempt infecting each other with Microsoft’s draconian DRM scheme.

    Is that like two monkeys flinging poo at each other?

  3. Did everyone notice Enderle’s comment that you have to buy a Zune player first, then get the service. With the Apple products, it can be the otehr way around?

    Enderle sounded almost rational today – he must be back on his meds.

  4. Ten bucks says someone will write a trojan horse/virus/worm for this thing within a few days after launch that will not only insert itself onto the shared Zune music, but once shared, copy itself to all the music on the Zune, then when connected to the windows only PC, it will infect the PC with said trojanviruswormm and them begin infecting all of windows and delete everyones HDDs and any BIOS damage it can do on Microsofties birthday!

    My God… It”ll be beautiful.

    I think this should be the winning idea for a program in the My Dream App contest…

  5. This article contains one giant leap of faith: that there will ever be two people with Zunes located near enough to attempt infecting each other with Microsoft’s draconian DRM scheme.

    Sex is great, but to be truly enjoyed requires two participants.

    Me thinks Zune users will be like monks wandering the earth in search of others of like minded.

  6. I can just see it now — Zune “dealers” on the street corner, desparate Zune owners coming to them: “That cool song you gave me died! I’ve gotta have another hit!” “Sure, kid, but it’s gonna cost you this time…”

    Err on the side of caution by restricting everything, including stuff I legally own…yeah, that makes a LOT of sense…

    Much easier to just burn a CD of tracks and give it to my friends, then let them upload them to their own players…

  7. Microsoft only goal every time is to control the user of their software. And mine any way they can, even secretly as much information data as possible of the user.

    Microsoft is total control freak. And is paranoid when they can’t control the user. Control is all they want. Actually it’s the whole PC side.

    The mindset of why is the user doing that with our stuff? They’re not supposed to be doing that. Let’s DRM their original music. What can they do? Not buy the software or products.

    Just wait till their music marketplace opens and people are connecting their PC’s to it. I guarantee Microsoft will be mining all the user data from the user pc.

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