The Chicago Tribune’s James Coates takes “a look at [his] last week’s column about Microsoft’s new Zune music and movie store and associated player. It gave a confused description of what will go into that great Wiki in the Sky as the day Mighty Microsoft corrupted a once-praised program called ‘Plays for Sure.’ Plays for Suckers would be more accurate.”
“I waxed poetically about Zune last week largely because it is based on Microsoft’s extremely well-protected Windows Media Video software. WMV was supposed to be a universal way for hardware companies as well as record- and movie-makers to be sure that the users of various mobile players could smoothly use duly licensed songs and shows,” Coates reports.
“The idea behind WMV was that Microsoft would vigilantly protect against efforts to crack WMV’s digital rights management, thus freeing individual movie studios and record companies from the need to produce their own copyright protection,” Coates reports. “Stickers were plastered on players and Web sites endorsed by Microsoft as safe and legal under the Plays for Sure program.”
“Zune, boasted Microsoft, was based on WMV technology for universal protection standards. What it didn’t say at the time, except in the 4th footnote to the product description, was that files bought in Microsoft’s coming Zune store would not work with other copy-protected WMV files even when the owner had a Plays for Sure license,” Coates reports.
“In one fell swoop the company made a mockery of Plays for Sure promises. For example, the exciting new Amazon.com deal to distribute feature-length music and movies from a half-dozen major Hollywood studios and about 30 cable television channels as duly licensed WMVs would not play on Microsoft’s Zune. Plays for Suckers files will only play on all of the other mobile players that Zune will compete against in a marketplace overshadowed by Apple’s iPod,” Coates reports. “I repeatedly asked Microsoft’s representatives to address the ethics of this about-face, but they refused to talk about it.”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “obvious” for the heads up.]
We (MDN and MDN readers) should all take credit for this about-face, even if Coates is unable and/or unwilling to give it or to apologize to his readers properly (please see related article below).
As for Coates’ line about “Microsoft’s extremely well-protected Windows Media Video software,” perhaps he should try much harder or just retire now, as he routinely makes glaring mistakes (please see additional related articles).
The Chicago Tribune’s Coates: ‘Zune owns the catbird seat thanks to Amazon.com’ – September 17, 2006
Microsoft working to update Windows Media DRM cracked by FairUse4WM – August 29, 2006
Microsoft’s PlaysForSure cracked: FairUse4WM strips Windows Media DRM – August 25, 2006