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Microsoft to Become Mobile DRM Standard? 179

Posted by Zonk
from the through-the-backdoor dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It seems most of the media has missed the significance of Microsoft's recent partnership with DoCoMo to put Windows Media DRM on i-mode handsets. If all the i-mode players adopt Windows DRM, that gives Microsoft access to a significant chunk of the mobile market. Couple this with the more recent MTV Urge announcement and you've got Microsoft set to own the DRM space - at least on mobile devices - by stealth. Telecoms.com has a take on the situation, but also reveals that the GSM Association may be on the verge of recommending Windows mobile DRM to all its members. Puts the French copyright and DRM legislation in a whole new perspective - interoperability issues can be solved by removing the competition."
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Microsoft to Become Mobile DRM Standard?

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  • ACK! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdot@nOsPaM.gmail.com> on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @10:42AM (#15342801) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft, DRM and Standard in the same sentence!

    Dude, be careful with your words, I almost had a heart attack...
    • A nearby sentence also contained "MTV." I have to go stick pencils in my eyes, now. Bye-bye.
    • Re:ACK! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:48AM (#15343320) Homepage

      Microsoft, DRM and Standard in the same sentence!

      Dude, be careful with your words, I almost had a heart attack...

      Ahh yes, Microsoft must love this. This is the one standard where breaking interoperability is a feature rather than a bug!

      Simon

      • Yeah...but, a confusing article....took reading into the article to find out this was for a mobile 'what'. Mobile phone? Mobile music player.....etc. Are that many people really using their phones for music? iPod isn't good enough?

        Also, what the hell is i-mode? Never heard of it and never saw a good definition of it.

        Lastly, it had a blurb about MS's wmv format being the most popular format people used for music.....have they never heard of mp3?

    • Re:ACK! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glesga_kiss (596639)
      The sad thing is, you could say the exact same things about the DRM in the iPod:

      "It seems most of the media has missed the significance of Apple Music's recent partnership with Apples hardware division to put Fairplay on iPods. If all the iPod players adopt Fairplay, that gives Apple access to a significant chunk of the portable player market. Couple this with the more recent insert any iTunes promo here announcement and you've got Apple set to own the DRM space - at least on portable players - by stealth

      • Why is it that in your "alternate" scenario the only players with Fairplay are iPods?

        Yet in the MS scenario it is all the players from other (non-MS) companies?
        • Why is it that in your "alternate" scenario the only players with Fairplay are iPods? Yet in the MS scenario it is all the players from other (non-MS) companies?

          Because MS don't make their own devices and Apple do. Apple point blank refuse to license Fairplay for third party devices, in fact I think they have been sued in some places over this stance. That's the way it is. Will I get shot down for pointing out that the sky is blue next? ;-)

      • by Anders (395)

        This future DRM-ed device is in a market that is a subset of a subset.

        So Nokia [nokia.com] is a tiny provider of mobile devices?

        • I don't get your point. What does Nokia have to do with the number of Windows phones out there, other than being a competitor? You are making my point for me.
  • by Bromskloss (750445) <auxiliary DOT ad ... privacy AT gmail> on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @10:46AM (#15342824)
    Heh, looks kinda funny to see "standard DRM". While standard is all about being open, fair and compatible with others, DRM makes me think more about hiding in the dark, afraid of the light, keeping ones dirty secrets and trying to suppress the breathing of others. Doesn't come together.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @10:46AM (#15342826)
    MTV doesn't even play music. I don't expect them to sell music. MTV is a pointless marketing creation designed to push an image onto a line of mediocre products purchased willingly by an unsuspecting public with way too much money and zero common sense.

    That's why I'm sticking with Apple.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      MTV is a pointless marketing creation designed to push an image onto a line of mediocre products purchased willingly by an unsuspecting public with way too much money and zero common sense.

      That's why I'm sticking with Apple.


      You know you can replace MTV with Apple in the first paragraph and it still makes sense...
      • Good point, but I will back up Apple because I have become acustom to iTMS and my iPod. With this new MTV venture, they have no track record to convince me to move formats. My guess is that I am not the only one that feels this way.
    • by MooUK (905450)
      Damnit, I spent my last mod point this morning. You need a funny.
  • DRM is dead. Unfettered formats exist and are in widespread use. Try as they might, they can't unring the bell.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ""It seems most of the media has missed the significance of Microsoft's recent partnership with DoCoMo to put Windows Media DRM on i-mode handsets. If all the i-mode players adopt Windows DRM, that gives Microsoft access to a significant chunk of the mobile market. "

      They get "it" just fine. Question is; do you get "it"?
      • Just how popular do you suppose this device will be when a competing device (not encumbered by DRM) comes along.

        Oh, gee . . . the DRM'ed version can handle WMV files, the non-DRM'ed version can only handle MP3's. Gee . . . I guess I'll get the DRM'ed version (even though virtually all of my music is in MP3's). Gotta be able to handle that Microsoft proprietary format!

        Nope. Unless this device can also handle unencumbered media, I predict a short, painful death.

    • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @10:53AM (#15342872) Journal
      DRM is far from dead. Right now, they're trying to make it harder to create, distribute, and find pirated material implementing those unfettered formats. What they need to be doing is making DRM-enabled content affordable, accessible, and useable.

      What the industry needs is good, common-sense DRM. Today's DRM doesn't allow for things going public domain. It's not flexible enough to allow users to do what they want (and is legal) with what they paid for. They are presently erring on the side of profit...that's not going to work with consumers long-term.
      • by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:05AM (#15342966) Homepage Journal
        If I had pile$ of money, it seems to me that there's a Constitutional case here that could play before the Supremes.

        Regardless of any specific time limit, be it "eternity - 1 day," the Constitution says that patents and copyrights last a limited time. DRM incorporates NO expiration mechanism, whatsoever. The reason for wanting DRM is that "bits last forever". If so, then those bits will outlast their copyright. The DRM needs to expire, and currently doesn't.

        Therefore, current DRM is unconstitutional.
        • That's a loser of a case, because there's nothing in the Constitution or any law I know of that makes it illegal to encumber public domain materials. You just can't stop anyone else from unencumbering them.
          • The constitutional purpose of allowing copyright monopolies was to "promote science and art". Obviously there is little advancement if the end result even after the hundred(s?) year copyright is a pile of bits in an unknown format.
        • The constitution gives *Congress* the power "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". It does not encumber in any way, shape, or form, the way Authors and Inventors make their Writings and Discoveries available to the public.
          • There IS a law that IS thoroughly Unconstitutional in light of the GP's comments.

            The DMCA does not make provisions for whether or not the work protected is no longer under Copyright- it's still very illegal to provide or traffic in a circumvention method or disclose how to accomplish the same, even if you're talking about it in the context of a work in the Public Domain that's "protected" by the DRM.

            This effectively makes it Copyrighted forever . Mandated DRM combined with DMCA makes for an eternal Copyri
      • > What the industry needs is good, common-sense DRM. Today's
        > DRM doesn't allow for things going public domain. It's not
        > flexible enough to allow users to do what they want (and is
        > legal) with what they paid for. They are presently erring on
        > the side of profit...that's not going to work with consumers long-term

        You're making a few critical assumptions. You're assuming that the music companies:
        * want to let go of cash cows through expiration
        * want to allow others to use their work (even exce
    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @10:56AM (#15342890)
      DRM is dead. Unfettered formats exist and are in widespread use. Try as they might, they can't unring the bell.
      Maybe so, in the long run, though I'm not as optimistic as you are. In the short-run, the people who make lots of money controlling distribution of content like DRM, and will do everything they can to get it adopted in order to continue to profit from that control, and lots of people will go along because it will be the easiest way to get access to the most popular media content.
      • Maybe so, in the long run, though I'm not as optimistic as you are. In the short-run, the people who make lots of money controlling distribution of content like DRM, and will do everything they can to get it adopted in order to continue to profit from that control, and lots of people will go along because it will be the easiest way to get access to the most popular media content.

        And as they try and invent this future they miss out on the massive amount of money they could make by just giving up on DRM and c
        • And as they try and invent this future they miss out on the massive amount of money they could make by just giving up on DRM and creating a fair market for digital music.

          Creating a "fair market" for digital content (and DRM goes far beyond music) would not make any more money for the people who extract lots of money from the fact that the market is not "fair" in the sense you seem to be using it. It might make more money for other people, and be better for society as a whole, but that's not something th

    • 1 billion itunes(fairplay) songs sold kinda proves its not dead.
  • but I think it'll be a good thing. Mostly because I'd like to see some kind of set standard, so I can listen to my music from any service on any player. Thats not too much to ask, right?
    • ...I'd like to see some kind of set standard, so I can listen to my music from any service on any player.

      No DRM at all seems like a better set standard than one particular flavor of DRM, don't you think?

      However, even if there were no DRM, there would still be competition between music providers. MP3 would be the standard format, but AAC, Ogg Vorbis, et al would be offered by different music stores. Basically, I don't know that it's possible to have one Holy Grail Music Format. The days of the phonogra

  • Microsoft will gain control over the market of 5 people that like DRM!
    Quick, someone sue them for monopolisic practices!

    Does Microsoft NOT know they should be attempting to distance themselves from DRM?
    • Re:Oh no! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by macpeep (36699) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:09AM (#15343012)
      I think the success of the iTunes Music Store has shown that people don't care too much about DRM as long as it is transparent enough. Look at what URGE will offer. 9.95 for unlimited music. Anything you want. For those not willing to break the law to pirate music, or too lazy to do so, or both (this third category includes me) this is an awesome deal. For just 10 bucks a month, it's as if my music collection was essentially infinite. I don't care if I don't "own" the music. Why should I? For movies, it makes even more sense (because the replay value is much lower than for music) to have some sort of subscription-type system so that you just pay a flat fee per month and have unlimited access to unlimited movies. But to have such systems (either music or movies) be viable, it has to be protected so that you can't just have one person be a subscriber and then that person can copy the stuff to the whole world. That's just a fact of life. Because people can't be trusted NOT to copy, there has to be some system to prevent it. Or at least prevent it for the "casual user" that won't go jump hoops to crack it. I think it was Steve Jobs who said "to keep the honest people honest".

      The future will have DRM in the main-stream whether you like it or not. Of course you can always choose to get your media through some other channels, but if you think that "5 people" (obviously you didn't mean it literally) will be using DRM at the end of 2006, then you are seriously mistaken.

      Peppe
    • And those 5 people have each spent millions of dollars buying songs from iTunes, presumably also buying the not-widely-known 500GB iPod Macro?

      The number of people who care enough about DRM to boycott it is far closer to 5 than the number of people who are willing to buy DRMed content is.

    • There's an ever increasing number of people that won't purchase or use Microsoft products of their own volition. If the average consumer won't buy your product, market it to an industry infatuated with itself (the recording and movie industries) who is already making money despite their contempt for their clientele.

      Personally, I think it's a brilliant strategy on the part of Microsoft. They've spent billions on developing an underwhelming polished turd of an OS (VISTA) that they may never see a profit on, b
  • rohypnol (Score:2, Funny)

    by towsonu2003 (928663)
    so this is how Microsoft flirts [slashdot.org] with open source :)
  • If all the i-mode players adopt Windows DRM, that gives Microsoft access to a significant chunk of the mobile market.

    Won't the government have a problem with this? Again they're squeezing out the competition due to it's monopoly status? Of course all companies can compete with each other, but when you get into the power that MS has and you start essentially killing off competition, well that's just wrong.
  • by Douglas Simmons (628988) * on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @10:58AM (#15342909) Homepage
    Of all the DRM tools I've encountered, the one that struck me as being most effective has got to be Apple's "Please don't steal music" sticker.
  • by Starker_Kull (896770) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:00AM (#15342924)
    Boy, they know how to pick a loser. Assuming the carriers go along with this, all Microsoft will have is domination over a standard that nobody will want to use. DRM is annoying enough when it comes to file transfers on computers. Can you imagine how annoying it will be with phones? Will your files survive your phone dropping into the toilet? Or will they be easily transferable to a new phone with the same mobile number assigned to it? You know the answer - and of course, you won't be able to redownload files you've paid for.

    It's interesting to see what they waste brainspan and dollars on.
    • and of course, you won't be able to redownload files you've paid for.

      Of course that's down to the vendors. I've bought a fair few DRM'd Microsoft Reader ebooks, and the main vendors do allow you to redownload those, for example. It should be a legal requirement for all vendors of DRM'd media files to do that IMHO, but I guess that's about as likely as a very unlikely thing.
      • Of course that's down to the vendors. I've bought a fair few DRM'd Microsoft Reader ebooks, and the main vendors do allow you to redownload those, for example. It should be a legal requirement for all vendors of DRM'd media files to do that IMHO, but I guess that's about as likely as a very unlikely thing.
        Very true - and you make a real good point. If a vendor wants to lock-up a file with DRM, meaning that you have bought the rights to VIEW something instead of OWN something, then they should also be res
    • I've been using Microsoft DRM with the Napster subscription service for over a year now on an iRiver H10 hard-drive device. You can't beat the convenience and the price -- the cost of a single CD per month for lots of great music.

      It's such a good model I even bought four more iRiver devices for others.

      To clarify some points in the original comment:

      • you can download files multiple times (unlike Apple iTunes where you download a file only once and need to copy to other devices)
      • it's easy to transfer to
      • I've been using Microsoft DRM with the Napster subscription service for over a year now on an iRiver H10 hard-drive device. You can't beat the convenience and the price -- the cost of a single CD per month for lots of great music. It's such a good model I even bought four more iRiver devices for others. To clarify some points in the original comment: you can download files multiple times (unlike Apple iTunes where you download a file only once and need to copy to other devices) it's easy to transfer to m
  • by btarval (874919) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:01AM (#15342930)
    Since there's been no coverage of this outside of Silicon valley and the San Jose Mercury News, let me point out that people are starting to build their own cellphones. [revejo.org]

    Let the media giants DRM what they want. They'll only succeed in pushing people to other alternatives.

    • Until it gets banned. Because, as you know, terrorists and drug runners will want custom phones with custom encryption on them. Or so they will tell people, and most of the sheep will just buy it; hook, line and sinker...
  • come on Finland !!

    http://explorer.altopix.com/map/lqoqnr/Nokia_Headq uarters.htm [altopix.com]

    damn, wait

    http://www.engadget.com/2005/02/14/nokia-and-micro soft-get-friendly-over-windows-media/ [engadget.com]

    Nokia ... revealed their plans to add support for Windows Media Audio files, Windows Media DRM 10 and Media Transfer Protocol to their handsets.
  • Could be good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GrouchoMarx (153170)
    OK, hear me out before you string me up...

    1) MS is a monopoly. Legally defined as such in the US, and I believe EU now as well.

    2) MS gets DRM monopoly through wheeling and dealing.

    3) Competitors cry anti-competative behavior.

    4) A non-corporate-stooge-necon is elected US President. (Let's hope for this anyway, regardless of MS, but I digress...)

    5) DoJ sues MS yet again, forces them to open Windows DRM. With a non-stooge in office, they bother to enforce it this time.

    6) Open DRM is by definition ineffectiv
    • A non-corporate-stooge-necon is elected US President. might as well wish for a magical unicorn from happy land. Oh wait. Did I parse that wrong? Okay, is it (non-corporate-stooge)-necon or non-(corporate-stooge-necon)? Because the first doesn't exist. If you meant the second, I agree, but it really wasn't clear.
      • Ha! Yes, I did mean "!(corporate stooge neocon)". I was referencing the fact that in 1999-2000, the DoJ had MS on the ropes and on the verge of being broken up. The first act of the Bush DoJ was to tell Microsoft "bad boy, don't do it again, now go back to business as usual."
    • Since the next US president will be either Republican or Democrat, s/he will either bow to the IT industry (Microsoft) or to Hollywood, or both, just because the US need some sort of export industry to be able to at least pretent that the us dollar has some value.
      And monopoly are real good for the current brand of lobbytocracy that rule the US (and the EC), since monopolies have way more money to support "worthy causes".
  • That's Fine.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eander315 (448340) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:05AM (#15342961)
    Use all the Microsoft DRM you'd like, I'm not buying that device.
    • That's right. Even if you buy the phone (since the wireless telecoms will basically force them on you by having all new phone models come with this capability), this DRM crap will only be profitable if people actually buy the DRM-encumbered media ("content"), just like your telecom's current add-on services (overpriced games, ringtones, pix messages, etc.) are only profitable if you actually use them, instead of just using the phone as a phone.

      Don't buy any DRM-encumbered media, and MS and friends will jus
    • Heh ... and 20 million other people will say 'DR-what?' as they're handed the free phone that comes with their shiny new cell plan.
  • by kahei (466208) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:06AM (#15342978) Homepage

    Brilliant. By partnering with bloated, overprotected, "Hey, our shares cost 3 million yen each so the hoi polloi can't buy them" merchants DoCoMo, inventors of the phone-that-is-mostly-only-big-in-Japan, MS have gained a foothold in the crucial 'things that people actively want to not have' market.

    Next up, a partnership with Freddy Krueger to gain a foothold in the 'things that shoot razor blades into your hand when you pick them up market'. Followed by a partnership with the earth's ferrous core (a major player in minerals circles) to get into the 'things that are thousands of miles below the earth's surface and vaporize human flesh on contact' market.

    And of course, a strong position in the market for technologies that customers actually pay to avoid could also lead to other key advantages, such as losing money (investors are always suspicios of cash-heavy companies) and being widely ridiculed (a new, positive, clown-like image).

    'DRM market space', yeesh. Make some forking products already. Where's my sub $100 tablet PC?

  • A Japanese mobile telecomm provider will use Microsoft's DRM on its phones.

    Therefore all other DRM systems, portable music players, and Apple, will cease to exist?

    Hell, I still can't find anyone who listens to music on their phone.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:08AM (#15342996) Homepage
    When people aren't listening to music, they'll need a good charge in case they have to make a long phone call. I think that is reason enough to not worry about "one device to rule them all."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:12AM (#15343037)
    I recently rented a DVD for my family and I to watch. We have our DVD player attached to one of those combined VHS/TV televisions. Apparently the Macrovision copy protection on the DVD prevented it from playing very well. The picture would brighten and darked repeatedly. We weren't even recording onto a VHS tape, so we aren't sure why we had problems.

    Regardless, we promptly returned the DVD to the video shoppe, and went to the library. My son and daughters each selected a number of books, as did my wife and I. For the past few weeks, we have been reading instead of watching TV or movies. To be frank, we are far happier. It costs us far less, and the quality of the content is often far higher. We often learn, rather than mindlessly digest.

    I wish to thank those who advocate the use of DRM. It has successfully turned us away from using such products, back towards books. We are far better off for that.

    • Thanks for this post. Allow me to explain...

      Recently, me and my girlfriend were at the cinemas, looking for a movie to watch. We noticed that there was nothing on except for V for Vendetta (which we had already seen) appealed to us. We almost decided to see a movie just for the heck of it, despite this, but I pointed out that we were seeing a movie even though everything on looked crap.

      We ended up not seeing a movie, but we'll surely run into this same problem again. You've inspired me to next time get some
    • I recently took the $300/year I would have probably spent on commercial music this year and spent it on a new guitar instead, and started playing again in earnest (after about 10 years of on-again, off-again).

      I've been extremely disappointed with 90% of the albums I've purchased over the past decade. One half-way decent song and 7 to 9 other Contractual Obligatory Offerings for $13.95 is just way too out of line with market realities. I guess I'm the last person on the planet who doesn't own an iPod (actu

      • by BlueStrat (756137) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @01:36PM (#15344055)
        Amen, Brother, sing it loud!

        I play guitar (lead in a very good little blues band) as well as being a bit of a *nix geek. (OK, maybe more than "a bit" :P) I've had a number of people that know I'm a computer geek ask me to help them with various stupid music DRM issues, (most of which were just insoluble legally..nature of the beast and all that) and I've actually managed to convince a couple of the more frustrated among them to take up playing an instrument.

        When I talked to them after some months had passed, they told me they enjoyed the ability to actually *make* music so much, that they spend most of their spare time/money that they had previously spent on "a limited license to listen to" music on lessons, music accessories, and just plain enjoying a whole new experience and ability to actually *create* something, even if they aren't gifted with any notable musical talent.

        Sadly, I know most people wouldn't consider doing this as it requires an investment in time and work, as well as money. However, if one decides to go this route, you'll find it is *so* much more rewarding than simply spending some cash on someone elses' idea of good music.

        BTW, I know of no DRM'ed guitars, drums, basses, horns, etc., so anything you create is *yours*, and limited only by the amount of practice and imagination you invest, plus any natural talent you may have.

        As a side note, one of these people I talk about has actually started to play harmonica in a local band, and makes some side money from gigs. I know no way to legally make money from a DRM'ed music "purchase". He's quite happy, society is enriched, and the commercial music industry is that much poorer.

        Cheers!

        Strat
        • "BTW, I know of no DRM'ed guitars, drums, basses, horns, etc."

          Don't give 'em any ideas! "You appear to be playing Stairway to Heaven. Please enter your Performance License Code or turn your amp below volume level '3.' Thank you."
          • "BTW, I know of no DRM'ed guitars, drums, basses, horns, etc."

            Don't give 'em any ideas! "You appear to be playing Stairway to Heaven. Please enter your Performance License Code or turn your amp below volume level '3.' Thank you."


            LOL!!! Nice one! :D

            That should really get a +1 funny. Or a +1 scary, heh.

            Fortunately, my old Seymour Duncan 84-40 1-12" combo amp is so loud, I've never had it above a "3" volume setting at a performance, even at outdoor venues. (That amp is the loudest amp per-watt I've *ever* hear
  • by Hast (24833) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:30AM (#15343194)
    Funny thing is that the article seem to miss one small point. They talk about how Microsoft *may* become a standard on DoCoMos FOMA networks. The thing is that the OMA DRM specification already exist and run on millions of phones in Europe. (And anywhere else which has GSM/UMTS phones.)

    I fail to see how this new architecture can hope to jump in and replace something which has already been in use for a couple of years.

    Of course a lot of people probably don't realise that they have DRM on their phones.
  • by guidryp (702488) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:39AM (#15343258)
    This really isn't a surprise. Just business as usual. Microsoft has vast monopoly power that will allow it to gain monopolies in any emerging computing connected/related device.

    PDA's previously owned by Palm, will soon be a microsoft monopoly.

    Gaming. Sony faces the biggest threat ever and yet managed to make incredibly stupid moves that will make the move to microsoft gaming domination even faster. Microsoft is using it's clout with gaming house/publishers and outright buying them if all else fails. The end is microsoft will dominate console gaming. Only when is the question, not if.

    Media. Microsoft is agressively pusing it's DRM/codecs everywhere. It managed to get it's codecs into both HD-DVD and Blu Ray standards. It has just about every online media shop except Itunes. Itunes is an anomoly and it will be interesting to see how weathers the microsoft onslaught. I predict in 10 years. More than half the music sold will be using microsoft DRM.

    • by Ancil (622971) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @12:51PM (#15343778)
      Microsoft has vast monopoly power that will allow it to gain monopolies in any emerging computing connected/related device.
      That's the slashdot party line, but even your own examples show how laughable the idea is.
      PDA's previously owned by Palm, will soon be a microsoft monopoly.
      Even the most hateful of Microsoft bashers will admit that Microsoft never won the PDA market. Rather, Palm lost the PDA market by sitting on its ass for five years and releasing software riddled with bugs. Good for Microsoft. Memo to Palm: You snooze, you lose.
      Gaming. Sony faces the biggest threat ever and yet managed to make incredibly stupid moves that will make the move to microsoft gaming domination even faster.
      I wouldn't count Nintendo out yet. The Wii's price point is intriguing.

      That said, Sony is just Palm all over again. Sony had a gargantuan lead with the PS2 -- 75% market share or some such. Then they basically rolled over. The PS3 wanders onstage a full year after Xbox 360 (assuming no further delays), costing $600?? Who's going to buy that? By next Christmas, the 360 will cost $300 and have hundreds of games.

      Why should Microsoft take heat for Sony being a bunch of idiots?

      Media. Microsoft is agressively pusing it's DRM/codecs everywhere.
      Yeah, that's what businesses do. Go figure.

      I'll put it plainly: Movie studios won't accept Fairplay for movies, period. They've gotten burned too many times by software-only solutions. They are looking for a tamper-resistant, hardware-based alternative. So far Intel and Microsoft are the only companies stepping up to the plate.

      Microsoft isn't winning the DRM fight because of its "monopoly powers" (the only monopoly in digital media right now is iTunes). It's winning because no one else is in the game. It's easy to win a race when you're the only one running.

      • "that said, Sony is just Palm all over again. Sony had a gargantuan lead with the PS2 -- 75% market share or some such. Then they basically rolled over."

        The only thing laughable is your very thin analysis. Sony's flubbed launch will speed up the process, but it does not change the inevitable outcome. Sony was mortally wounded the day the first Xbox was launched. It is only a quesiton of how much time it takes to die. Microsoft is leveraging a combination of PC API's, Market clout and it's mountain of monopo
    • Just to pick a nit Sony's biggest enemy is Sony. Not Microsoft.
  • If we have to have DRM, then I for one would feel much more comfortable if it was an indepdent company, where DRM was their only line of business. This way you could feel safe that you don't have companies like Microsoft and Apple with what would appear to be a conflict of interest.
  • by Gilmoure (18428)
    Making the trains run on time!
  • Currently, you can't use them on a passenger aircraft, as they are all mobile phones and have to be turned off throughout the flight, in many cases by law!

    Looks like one place where an MP3 player could come in very useful to pass away the time....

    • The SonyEricsson W800 has a "music only mode" for this exact reason. I've found it's mostly worthless however as flight attendents don't really understand what it is, and will ask you to switch it off regardless. Given a choice between explaining the details of your phone/mp3 player moments before takeoff (so looking like a jackass) or just switching it off, the latter is always easier.

      This situation may improve with time.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming

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