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September 6, 2004
M$ for Choice? - Er, Not So Much
Fred von Lohmann @ Deep Links:
As we reported last week, Microsoft's new music download store, MSN Music, advised its frustrated iPod-toting customers to simply burn their purchases to CD, then rip them to an open format like MP3. That way, they could play their MSN Music downloads on their iPod (or any other device) without having to worry about the incompatibilities created by Microsoft's platform-specific DRM restrictions.
Of course, that was too good to last. According to Salon, senior Microsoft honchos decided to have that bit of tech support advice pulled off the website.
I don't know whether Microsoft did it under pressure from the record labels, or whether out of a desire to maximize platform lock-in, but I do know it wasn't to benefit Microsoft's customers, the people actually expected to be paying for the MSN Music downloads. Chalk this up as another anti-competitive, anti-consumer use of DRM.
Later: Derek Slater
: "MS changed the language, noted by Fred
, that advocated burning DRM-locked songs onto CD and then re-ripping into another, possibly unencrypted format. It now reads simply
'Unfortunately Apple refuses to support the popular Windows Media format on the iPod, choosing to only support their own proprietary DRM format. If you are an iPod owner and are unhappy about this, please send feedback to Apple and ask them to change their policy and interoperate with other music services. There are more than 70 portable audio devices that support MSN Music today, and we hope that someday Apple decides to join with the industry and support consumer choice.'
70 devices: wow! I mean, Microsoft has picked them all out for me ahead of time, probably put a little red bow on them, too. What would I need interoperability and independent consumer choice for when Microsoft can shepherd me to approved devices?"
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