Microsoft’s top lawyer offers Steve Jobs unsolicited advice: Quit blaming music labels for DRM

Apple Store“Microsoft’s top lawyer has warned Apple not to complain too loudly to record labels about music copyright restrictions, saying the computer giant was already selling plenty of iPod music players,” AFP reports.

“‘I’m not a big believer in just blaming the music industry for Apple’s inability to sell every conceivable iPod,’ said Brad Smith, senior vice-president and general counsel at the US software giant. ‘I think they’re (Apple) doing pretty well from what I can tell. In fact, I think the music companies are the ones who right now are doing a little less well,'” AFP reports.

“Last week British music giant EMI said it would offer songs by Coldplay, Madonna and a host of other stars for download without copy protection, as part of a deal with Apple’s iTunes website,” AFP reports. “Mr Smith said Microsoft would be interested in similar deals for its Zune player, which made a lacklustre debut in US stores last year.”

“‘At the same time I wouldn’t go as far as Steve Jobs did and suggest that everything is the fault of the record labels,’ he said. ‘I believe that, fundamentally, people who produce content and who own the rights to that content deserve the opportunity to make their own decisions about how they want to provide that content to the public,'” AFP reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Another Irish Dude” for the heads up.]
The music labels are to blame for DRM.

Apple has demonstrated unparalleled ability to sell every conceivable iPod for over half a decade. That’s 100 million and counting, Brad.

Furthermore, Brad Smith’s comments make no sense. Smith says he’s not a believer in blaming the music industry for Apple’s “inability to sell every conceivable iPod,” but then basically says that Apple’s selling “plenty of iPods,” so who’s blaming the music industry for what, again, Brad? He’s interested in DRM-free deals with the labels for the joke that is Microsoft’s Zune, but says that the labels that own the rights deserve the opportunity to make their own decisions. That’s exactly what EMI did, Brad; EMI decided to sell DRM-free music. We guess we shouldn’t be surprised to hear a lawyer speak illogical gibberish, but what the heck is he trying to say?!

Regardless of the meaninglessness of the advice, the day Steve Jobs needs any guidance from some Microsoft mouthpiece is the day we dump our Macs and switch to Windows.

Related articles:
Microsoft: DRM-free music in Zune’s future – April 05, 2007
>BusinessWeek: Apple-backed AAC format beating Microsoft’s proprietary WMA in music standards war – April 05, 2007
Apple’s DRM-free iTunes play trumps Microsoft’s huge bet on DRM – April 02, 2007
Apple: Higher quality 256 kbps AAC DRM-free music on iTunes Store coming in May – April 02, 2007
Microsoft paints Zune pink in desperate bid to increase anemic sales – March 22, 2007
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ posts rare open letter: ‘Thoughts on Music’ – calls for DRM-free music – February 06, 2007
Buh-bye: Senior Zune exec exits Microsoft – January 31, 2007
Last quarter: Microsoft lost $289 million on Zune, CE devices – January 26, 2007
NPD: Apple iPod held 72% share of PMP market in December; Microsoft Zune had 2.8% share – January 21, 2007
RealMoney’s Comeau predicts: ‘Microsoft will kill the first Zune media player by midyear’ – December 16, 2006
Zune: Welcome to the social isolation – December 11, 2006
Thurrott reviews Microsoft Zune: ‘a joke, a travesty, I can’t imagine what they were thinking’ – November 28, 2006
Ihnatko: Microsoft Zune experience about as pleasant as having an airbag deploy in your face – November 24, 2006
TheStreet.com: It’s not looking good for Microsoft’s Zune; bad press may taint brand for years – November 24, 2006
Microsoft’s Zune selling like snotcakes – November 15, 2006
Engadget: Microsoft’s Zune software: ‘It sucks’ – November 13, 2006
BusinessWeek: ‘By this time next year, Microsoft’s Zune will be considered a dismal failure’ – November 10, 2006
Forbes: Microsoft’s Zune stinks; like ‘Microsoft Bob,’ only more embarrassing – November 09, 2006
Thurrott on Microsoft’s Zune: ‘The makings of a disaster, what the heck are these people thinking?’ – September 29, 2006

54 Comments

  1. This reminds me of how Microsoft was complaining about the no DRM deal with the iTunes store. A week later Microsoft was beyond happy to sell music without DRM. does this sound Hypocritical? or are these the signs of a scared company.

    Just like what Steve Ballmer said the iPhone won’t sell nobody will like it. Now from what i’ve heard their making their own phone devise off of the Zune.

  2. And doesn’t Zune add DRM even to songs that originally didn’t have DRM, you know, the songs that you legally ripped from your CD? Accordning to Mr Smith: “…to make their own decisions about how they want to provide that content to the public”. Now why does Microsoft decide for the record labels to add DRM to DRM free songs????

  3. “Microsoft’s top lawyer has warned Apple not to complain too loudly to record labels about music copyright restrictions, saying the computer giant was already selling plenty of iPod music players,”.

    Falkirk: One might recall that it was only a week ago that people were complaining that Apple was using their Fairplay DRM to as a device to create “market lock”. In other words, since music purchased on Itunes could only be played on Ipods and since Itunes sells the vast majority of leagally downloaded music and Ipods have a majority of the MP3 market, then DRM was GOOD for Apple.

    But Jobs came out against DRM (which some people still contended was insincere) then they made a deal with EMI to sell DRM free music and now they are being chastised by Microsoft – by MICROSOFT! – for using non-DRM to help sell Ipods?

    “‘I’m not a big believer in just blaming the music industry for Apple’s inability to sell every conceivable iPod,’ said Brad Smith, senior vice-president and general counsel at the US software giant.”

    Falkirk: Well, hell’s bells, I don’t blame the music industry for Apple not being able to sell more Ipods ’cause that suggestion

    DOES…NOT…MAKE…ANY…FRICKIIN…SENSE…AT…ALL.

    Honest to goodness. Drunk doesn’t cover it. This statement employs some bizarre new form of “fuzzy” logic.

  4. Music labels are in a slump cause most of the “new” music sucks. Snow Patrol, The Frey, and other all suck. And then you have American Idol…..*rolls eyes*

    Yeah. Music Labels, you guys need to get better groups happening. That is why you aren’t selling anything.

  5. I blame Microsoft, for making completely empty DRM promises to the major labels in an attempt to lock everyone into a proprietary format controlled by Microsoft. Had they been realistic, DRM wouldn’t be the albatross for either industry that it has become.

  6. I think the M$ lawyer makes sense to me.

    He’s saying: Music industry, thanks to Steve Jobs, you’re now an outsider, and we, as outsiders, can understand your plight.

    It’s an attempt to get a foot in the door. Given that DRM is being threatened and that Jobs is now seen as the leader toward that effort, M$ must feel that the time is ripe to find desperate and anti-Apple collaborators in the music business.

  7. What is he trying to say?

    ” ‘I’m not a big believer in just blaming the music industry* for Apple’s inability to sell every conceivable iPod,’ said Brad Smith.”

    It seems to me he’s saying that Apple has been trying to persuade the record labels to ditch DRM, because Apple believes that that will result in more downloads being sold. And Apple wants more attractive content available, because that makes the purchase of iPods more attractive.

    You know what? He’s right.

    All that we’ve heard from the likes of the EFF and other self-important pimps about “Apple wants DRM for lock-in” was just bilge. And Smith knows this as well as anyone. The deal with EMI showed Jobs was serious – as if any thinking person were not already aware that he was.

    Microsoft thinks trying to tie people in with DRM is a good business plan. Apple doesn’t. Apple thinks making more attractive content available to people is good for its business.

    What Smith never explains is why he thinks increased sales will somehow be bad for the record labels. He’s got me there.

    I can only assume he’s trying to send a vague message to content providers – something along the lines of: “Appearances to the contrary, DRM can work; Microsoft can help you here … look into my eyes … you are feeling very sleepy …..”

    ___
    Footnote

    *music industry

    Why does Smith use this term? Since when has making music been an industrial process? And if Smith thinks it’s become this, rather than being a creative endeavour, why has he any sympathy for the organizations that he must believe have brought about this state of affairs?

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