EFF demands Microsoft issue refunds for music that no longer PlaysForSure (not that it ever did)

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Tuesday demanded that Microsoft issue refunds for MSN Music Store purchases that will be inaccessible after Microsoft deletes the music store servers this summer,” Chloe Albanesius reports for PC Magazine.

“Microsoft announced last week that as of August 31, the company will delete its MSN Music [PlaysForSure] license servers, so music purchased from the now-defunct MSN Music Store will be accessible only via the five computers you authorized to play the tunes,” Albanesius reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Microsoft’s PlaysForSure is going to be a long-term problem for Apple. – Rob Enderle, oft-quoted and oft-wrong paid mouthpiece, January 09, 2006

Albanesius continues, reporting that Shari Steele, EFF executive director, wrote an open letter on April 29, 2008 to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, “Steele called on Ballmer to formally apologize to customers affected by the change. Customers should also be offered a refund for music purchased, or replacements from an online store that offers the same tracks in a DRM-free format, she wrote.”

MacDailyNews Take: How nice of Microsoft and its partners to clearly identify devices, PCs and music services that won’t work well or at all with Apple’s market-dominating iTunes Music Store and even-more-dominating iPod… This’ll make it easier for consumers to avoid making expensive mistakes. They should’ve just called it ‘Don’tBuyThis.’ – MacDailyNews, October 15, 2004

Albanesius continues, “Microsoft general manager Rob Bennett told CNet last week that continued support for Music Store purchases was impractical, and that the focus should instead be placed on the Zune.”

MacDailyNews Take: Why focus on failure?

Albanesius continues, “‘No one ever foresaw being in this situation,’ Bennett said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, Rob, plenty of people did, just no one at Microsoft. That’s what happens when you put a chimp in charge.

Albanesius continues, “Microsoft launched the MSN Music Store in September, 2004, in an effort to compete with Apple’s iTunes, but it never made much of a dent in iTunes’ business. Two years later, Microsoft started redirecting MSN Music Store shoppers to the Zune Marketplace.”

MacDailyNews Take: All three of them.

Albanesius’ full report is here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “HMCIV” for the heads up.]


  1. Gotta tell you, going to the MDN link for Enderle’s comment, it was a lot of fun to read some of the responses. Some people had concerns some weren’t worried at all and now, two years later, MSN Music and Plays For Sure is dead. Two years isn’t very long for a product with such deep pockets as Microsoft.

    I can’t see how much longer Ballmer can last. How many people is he going to shoot in the foot until they take the gun away?

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