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Bill Gates Swears Vow Against 'Son of iPod' 393

Future Linux-Guru writes "The LA Times is running an article on Microsoft's efforts to preempt any single manufacturer from dominating the online video market. Among the scarier revelations is the development of AACS, a new already approved security system designed to prevent piracy on HD DVDs, which subjects users to forced upgrades." From the article: "Whichever way it shakes out, Gates vows not to play the victim in 'Son of iPod.' After learning a hard lesson in the digital music business, 'we're really having to work more closely with partners in the hardware industry and content industry, to really think through the whole end-to-end experience and make it better,' Gates said. 'That's where we've done our mea culpa. We are fixing that.'"
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Bill Gates Swears Vow Against 'Son of iPod'

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  • by Da Fokka ( 94074 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @06:57AM (#13092141) Homepage
    So, what's the son of iPod going to be called?

  • Laughable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sgant ( 178166 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @06:59AM (#13092146) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft's efforts to preempt any single manufacturer from dominating the online video market.

    I think he means "any OTHER single manufacturer". I'm sure Microsoft will be just find and dandy if THEY were the single dominating online video provider.
    • Re:Laughable (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MaestroSartori ( 146297 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:03AM (#13092151) Homepage
      I don't think MS wan't to be in on the content-provision side, Apple seem to have proven that (for music at least) large profit isn't to be had.

      I think that MS just want to be the sole software technology provider to multiple hardware/content providers, that way they can leverage their desktop OS monopoly to the fullest extent when exacting license fees from several small companies, rather than having a larger corporate entity which could dictate terms to MS.
      • Re:Laughable (Score:5, Insightful)

        by P-Nuts ( 592605 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:11AM (#13092179)
        I don't think MS wan't to be in on the content-provision side, Apple seem to have proven that (for music at least) large profit isn't to be had.

        Sure, but Apple aren't really in the content-provision business. The reason they have iTMS and iTunes is mainly to encourage people to buy iPods. Just the same as the reason they write MacOS is to sell computers.

        • Yeah, agreed. Profiting from the iPod with the marginal iTunes store was a smart move. I don't think it would be replicable by MS for movies - anyone out there think MS would be capable of an iPod equivalent for movies? :D
      • by Macka ( 9388 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:32AM (#13092242)

        I don't think MS will be able to engineer a position where they are the only technology route to this new type of content. Intel are part of the cadre of vendors working on this, and with Apple working so closely with Intel now, any hooks into this new technology will also be available to Apple (subject to the appropriate licensing deal). And you can bet that Jobs isn't going to sit back on his laurels and watch this unfold without getting in on the act. MS will have to share this market with Apple at least. Though where this leaves the Linux distros I don't know.

        • don't think MS will be able to engineer a position where they are the only technology route to this new type of content. Intel are part of the cadre of vendors working on this, and with Apple working so closely with Intel now, any hooks into this new technology will also be available to Apple

          Hm. Another guess why Apple didn't go with AMD: only Intel is strong enough to stand up to MS anti-trust tactics.

      • by Kamiza Ikioi ( 893310 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:52AM (#13092610)
        Apple has proven that (for music at least) large profit isn't to be had.

        It hasn't?

        Apple quarterly profit surges on iPod []

        iPod pumps Apple profit []

        Apple profits, revenue up again []

        Apple sings on iPod sales []

        You can say it's an iPod vs iTunes on money. But one is worthless without the other really. The same is true of the new competing DVD formats, either of which would be useless without the content.

        Seems to me that MS is pushing the desktop OS into the TV os market with Windows Media Connect and XBox. Oh yeah, video is well within their sphere of domination dreams, even if it's licensing a dominant platform technology to a content provider... and really, that's what Gates is saying here. As for Apple, if you look at total profits at Apple, music just may be more profitable for them than computers in the future.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 18, 2005 @06:59AM (#13092147)

    because everyday it seems the "customer" isnt the person who buys the product

  • by dscho ( 819239 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:00AM (#13092148)
    Not parse this sentence does.
  • Customers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by under_score ( 65824 ) <{moc.gietreb} {ta} {nikhsim}> on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:01AM (#13092150) Homepage
    I expect that ultimately customers will decide that DRM and related tech will fail. There will always be new companies and new products that can break into a market that is underperforming for people's needs and wants. Particularly in the age of blogging, this type of breakthrough is getting easier: access to publicity is much much lower. The big companies like MSFT etc. all are probably quite afraid of this... and therefore trying to come up with anti-competitive schemes. Some of these schemes are technology based, some feature based, and some legislative. Only the legislative schemes should be feared. All the others can be fairly easily defeated by consumers. As for the legislated schemes of protection, even those can be circumvented by sufficiently interesting innovation. The problem there is keeping ahead of the legislative encroachment. In the software world, open source is a great way to do this. Hardware-wise it's a bit more difficult.
    • I expect that ultimately customers will decide that DRM and related tech will fail. There will always be new companies and new products that can break into a market that is underperforming for people's needs and wants.

      I expect, however, that the major content providers will be signing exclusive deals with DRM-enabled solutions, as they always tend to be easily convinced that DRM is the only way to go.

      So the only way for a new company to come in and undercut them with a better, less annoying, non-DRM solu
    • Re:Customers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jasin Natael ( 14968 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:47AM (#13092295)

      The content providers have got it backward. They're not going to find their panacea with a completely-secure, uncrackable DRM scheme. They're going to start making lots more money when they work out two things:

      1. A pricing plan that can compete.
        This is not trivial. Remember that they're competing with P2P networks and BitTorrent at this point, since they didn't do anything when the technology was younger.
      2. DRM that doesn't fly in the face of consumers' fair use rights.
        If the consumer feels like they're really losing something by buying a paid-for product as opposed to downloading, they will always go for the lower-priced product with greater actual value.

      At this point, it looks like Apple did a good job of balancing all the pro's and con's. It still bothers some consumers who don't have an iPod, or want to use Linux, but they can always buy CD's. Or download MP3's. Whatever DRM model comes up, people will crack it. Some people will circumvent it. Some people will ignore it. The trick is the business model and pricing that convince the consumer to invest.

      Of course, you'll never hear that from Microsoft. If the RIAA and MPAA wisened up to what's really going on, Microsoft wouldn't get a penny from them.

      Jasin Natael
      • Re:Customers (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @09:25AM (#13092809)
        In order for downloads of video (movies & TV) to be a hit like the iTunes Music Store was, they will need to have the following attributes:
        1.They must either be DVD quality (including all the extras) or they must be cheaper than the equivilant DVD (to make up for the loss of quality)
        2.They must be available at the same time as the DVD release (if not earlier)
        3.They must be in a format (or convertable to a format) that you can record onto something (be it a recordable DVD or a recordable HD-DVD/BluRay disk) and play on your TV setup (be it a home theater system with a big TV or a smaller TV and a simple cheap DVD player)
        I for one dont want to watch movies or TV on my computer, I want to watch on my TV sitting in my comfortable chair.

        Bit Torrent and other P2P services are popular with people because of:
        A.Availability. For those in america, its a great way to get TV shows not playing where you live (including e.g. foriegn TV shows american networks arent playing or shows only on pay TV services you cant get or cant afford)
        And for those abroad, its a great way to get TV shows that just havent reached your country yet (anyone who lives in australia knows how great BitTorrent etc is for downloading all those Yank shows that we just wont see because no local network is prepared to show them or whatever)

        B.Cost. Its very hard to beat free. Even though it is illegal, a lot of people dont care and download anyway (especially since a lot of people believe that just downloading without actually "sharing" anything means they cant get caught and that only the big fish with a large number of shared files are going to be targeted)

        and C.Range. You can get stuff on BitTorrent that just isnt available on DVD (and isnt going to be), things like reality TV and stuff.

        For a download service to work, it would have to come as close as possible to the availability of shows as BitTorrent and other P2P services do (if you cant download it from the download service until 12-18 months after it has aired, people will continue to download from BitTorrent which may well have it 12-18 hours after it first airs). It would also have to have better quality files than what you find on BitTorrent (the files available on the download site for current shows/movies could probobly be produced directly from the same digital master files that are used to produce the over-the-air copies and the DVD masters which means they are as close to perfect as the codec and bitrate used on the files will allow). Also, a download service could offer things DVD cant, including series where the cost to release DVDs is considered too much given likely sales (the cost to make files available on the download service would be cheaper than the cost to make DVDs) and also things like reality TV or sports games which just dont make sense to put on DVD.

        The iTunes Music Store works because:
        1.You are gauranteed to be able to get the song you want (and not a "fake" garbage song file or a song thats not what you want or getting no search results because no-one has the song you want shared)

        2.In a lot of cases, you can preview the song to make sure its what you are looking for before you commit to purchasing it)

        3.Once you have the song, you can put it onto an iPod, an iTunes phone (the new one with ITMS supoprt) or a completly normal no copy protection anywhere audio CD (which can be played on pretty much anything that can read audio CDs)

        And the songs are cheap enough too.

        In short, it has none of the disadvantages of P2P (risk of being caught by the RIAA, lack of sources for the song you want, poor quality rips, fake or garbage song files, songs that arent what the filename claims they are) whilst coming as close to the advantages of P2P (low cost and unrestricted files) as its possible for a legal download service to get.
    • Re:Customers (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Shag ( 3737 )
      I don't think the fate of DRM is as black-and-white as you seem to think it is. That's more likely to be true for the really draconian DRM systems, but "gentler" ones are, in my opinion, a lot more like a simple curb.

      Yes, you can drive your car off, or over, a curb. But if there's a nice ramp cut in the curb where people intend for your car to go, it's easier to go that way, and most people will.

      If someone is determined to defeat DRM - or any other technological solution to any perceived problem - they
    • ultimately customers will decide that DRM and related tech will fail

      Great, just like we got rid of that hated Macrovision. Almost all I talk to about it say "what?" Then they just stay resigned that they can't copy VHS's or DVD's, despite having two decks, and there being obscure but easily obtained circumvention devices.

      The vast majority don't know the modern definition of the word "rip." So how are they/we going to make DRM fail through consumer choice, when it's in EVERYthing they buy?


  • mea culpa (Score:4, Funny)

    by myukew ( 823565 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:04AM (#13092154) Homepage
    obviously bill gates doesn't know that "mea culpa" translates to "my fault []" and thus the sentence "we did our mea culpa" is wrong. tztztz
  • by urbanshepherd ( 875074 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:04AM (#13092156)
    Is the son of an iPod an iPea?
  • by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) <fidelcatsro @ g m a i l . c om> on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:04AM (#13092157) Journal
    Microsoft Taking a stand against monopolys
  • by al_fruitbat ( 617734 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:04AM (#13092159)
    Parsons later directed Time Warner to join with Microsoft in buying a combined majority stake in ContentGuard, which holds patents on anti-copying techniques

    I'd love to see 'em take someone to court for copying their anti-copying techniques ;-)
  • by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:05AM (#13092164)
    "we're really having to work more closely with partners in the hardware industry and content industry, to really think through the whole end-to-end experience and make it better"

    work more closely -> control
    think thorugh the whole experience -> control
    make it better -> abuse our vertical dominant position
  • why be concerned? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by maxpublic ( 450413 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:05AM (#13092165) Homepage
    Essentially what you have is a collection of the biggest egos in the world trying to collaborate on a single project which will affect the entire movie industry as well as the customers who buy those movies. And the studios in question not only have a history of fighting each other tooth and nail, but of going head-to-head with Microsoft whenever they get the chance.

    Conspiracies between megalomaniacs rarely end well.

    • maxpublic said:
      Conspiracies between megalomaniacs rarely end well.

      J.R.R. Tolkien said:
      There is only one Lord of the Ring, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power.

  • DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:07AM (#13092167) Homepage Journal
    Well all the current state of DRM on DVD did for the movie industry is allow them to force you to watch a bunch of bullshit trailers for other movies before you can watch the one you purchased. Every time.
    • yeah, we need a sort of AdBlock for DVDs...

      Or the right to control how we consume the media we purchase, but it seems I'm really kidding myself there.....
    • Until you press * 4 7 UP on your hardware player (or use xine)
  • Bill answer this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by appavi ( 679094 ) <saravanannkl@gma ... minus herbivore> on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:11AM (#13092180)
    What about single company dominating OS market ?
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:14AM (#13092189)
    Among the scarier revelations is the development of AACS, a new already approved security system designed to prevent piracy on HD DVDs, which subjects users to forced upgrades.

    Cute. Hope that works out for you. Guess what system I won't be buying.

    What exactly is the problem with all of these supposedly highly-intelligent but obviously completely brain-dead (not to say stupid) CEOs? If you put annoying copy protection stuff on your media or try to force people to do any other sort of crap like that, they will simply take their money to the black market. This is the lesson of online music. You will not have total control over the media, because the people with the money will not accept that. End of story.

    The only CEO on the planet who seems to understand this is Steve Jobs. Yes, iTunes has various limits, but they are so wide that 95 per cent of the people don't give a damn because they never encounter them: If I want to share music with my kid sister, I can. So what if I can't share it with 200,000 other people on the Internet? This, not any clever usability stuff, is why iTunes has 80 per cent of the market. Just why is this so hard to understand? Is it something that happens to your perception of reality once you earn more than a million dollars a year?

    Oh sorry, I meant a million dollars a month, of course. Though Gates at least gives billions to charity.

    Anyway, this looks like another great idea from the people who brought you the talking paperclip and tried to force-feed us push technology. No wonder Apple is selling computers as fast as they can build them.

    • What exactly is the problem with all of these supposedly highly-intelligent but obviously completely brain-dead (not to say stupid) CEOs?

      Greed. "Too much" is never enough.

    • by DeanFox ( 729620 ) * <spam.myname@ g m a> on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:45AM (#13092288)

      Oh sorry, I meant a million dollars a month, of course. Though Gates at least gives billions to charity.

      In a month? From all his investments, interest, dividends, etc. I heard a number once that Bill Gates wakes up 12 million dollars richer then when he went to bed.

      Asked about his wealth he said once you reach a certin level, more money doesn't matter. Things only get so good and once you can afford the best that's it. In other words food only gets so good, cars only get so good, clothes can only be made so good and once you afford the best more money after that doesn't buy you anything better then what you can already afford.

      There are days I've pondered what that would be like.
      • But... (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You can always get more women...
      • Asked about his wealth he said once you reach a certin level, more money doesn't matter. Things only get so good and once you can afford the best that's it. In other words food only gets so good, cars only get so good, clothes can only be made so good and once you afford the best more money after that doesn't buy you anything better then what you can already afford.

        100 Million dollars. []

        That is the limit of physical wealth. Beyond that, you don't buy things, you make big events and buildings 'happen'.

  • by lheal ( 86013 ) <(lheal1999) (at) (> on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:16AM (#13092193) Journal
    Why not just come out and say it, Bill?

    "No one should make money but me!"

    Gates' problem is that he measures success by the stock value of MSFT. I guess that's all he could do, and I don't know him so I don't mean to judge him, but that's where his problem is.

    Ask if your customers are happy, not if your shareholders are.

    Ask how people want their online media, and see if you can make a dime or two selling them software to help. Don't ask how you can keep someone else from getting people their media.

    He seems to get it backwards, every time.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:18AM (#13092198)

    How's that effort to keep the citizens of China from reading about "freedom", "democracy", and "human rights" going, Bill?

  • by @madeus ( 24818 ) <> on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:18AM (#13092202)
    I fully expect Microsoft will take the same sort of route they have always taken, by focusing almost exclusively on selling their vision to content producers, rather than focusing on making a product that appeals to the market (and watching as the content producers hop on board).

    Apple have been successful with their music store because of course they have made it easy for novice users to access, purchase and manage content. The Microsoft media player is in stark contrast a hideously confusing application as far as most people are concerned, and is an excellent example of why Microsoft will not succeed unless they radically change their approach (which on past form, I do not expect they will).

    Getting buy-in from publishers is essential in the long run, but by pandering to them to the extent Microsoft have done (in an attempt to get them on-board), all semblance of a marketable product has been lost, because the focus has been on building a product they want to produce, rather than on one people actually want to buy.

    Even if all the major content production companies vow to get behind a Microsoft devised solution, consumers will just largely ignore it and continue to rely on established ways of getting content (either legal DVD's or illegal P2P downloads) until they are offered something they are actually comfortable using.

    You have to wonder what's wrong with Microsoft's corporate structure when, with their vast resources and many talented people, they can't even build a useable media player (let alone content delivery and management system). It's so tragic, it's funny.
  • ...kneel before Zod! Er... Bill!!
  • in the bedroom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:24AM (#13092219)
    is where it will fail. Right now i can pipe most things i watch onto the bedroom mini LCD. I dont imagine that an end to end DRM solution will like this much, never mind the video senders etc ppl use. how does this add up to an improved customer experence if i can only watch on approved hardware?
  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:41AM (#13092277)
    There won't be anything we won't say to people to try and convince them that our way is the way to go.
    In the decade ahead I can predict that we will provide over twice the productivity improvement that we provided in the '90s."
    Let's face it, the average computer user has the brain of a Spider Monkey.
    If you can't make it good, at least make it look good.
    Microsoft programs are generally bug-free. If you visit the Microsoft hotline, you'll literally have to wait weeks if not months until someone calls in with a bug in one of our programs. 99.99% of calls turn out to be user mistakes. I know not a single less irrelevant reason for an update than bugfixes.
    The reasons for updates are to present more new features.

    (sources) ates.html [] tml []
  • Forced updgrades? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:56AM (#13092328) Homepage
    Is anyone else nervous of the prospect of being forced to upgrade?

    At least with video cards, (usually) you don't HAVE to have the newest DirectX capability. What if all of a sudden WMP decided that anything below 2GHz was too slow to play media and demanded that you upgrade?

    Microsoft could pull a lot of bullshit with that, since the own the operating system. They could just choose to disable various video/sound APIs until you upgrade. And it would be completely legal for them to do so, that is, if the EULA applies.
  • by Vodak ( 119225 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:58AM (#13092339)
    So what does this mean to all of us? Why do companies keep coming up with DRM technology that everyone says are doomed to failer? Why does slashdot and other 'tech' sites contiue to retread the same stories about DRM again and again and again?

    Well it could mean that there is a need for DRM technology in today's culture no matter how much I and alot of other people hate it.

    Companies like Microsoft and others to bring up this technology to fit a niche that everyone is wants. The masses are accepting digitial and downloaded content the way every 'techie' has said they would for years. So companies come up with the easiest solution of DRM. Is DRM good? No, but it's al we have right now.

    To many times I here the argument that DRM is doomed for failer because "it will be broken soon anway" or "Big Business is stupid and trying to control our lives"

    The open source community has an important mission and critical need at this moment to fix this DRM problem now. The only way we will get away from all this DRM talk to to come up with a different solution to the problem.

    DRM is here to stay until there is a better option.
    • by Alsee ( 515537 )
      This isn't about DRM, or about technology. No, this is about the law. This is about bad law. Bad law that shackles the free market and distorts and defeats natural free market forces. Natural free market forces that will mitigate and repair and problems involving DRM, once innocent noninfringing people no longer face prison. Then Microsoft and the content industries and anyone else is free to use any and all the DRM they like, any system they like, and natural market forces will be free to mitgate and repai
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @07:58AM (#13092341) Homepage

    So Gatesy is cosying up to the folks at HD DVD, all the more reason for the Slashdot crowd to get behind Blu-Ray who have chose the Java platform for their interactive content, and built ontop of the MHP standard.

    What Gatesy really wants is people to choose HIS standard, rather than electing for something more open that lots of other companies support.

  • by Puls4r ( 724907 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:01AM (#13092356)
    Hey, you've got DRM on your DVD's and MOST people barely notice it.

    Except of course when they reach the FBI warning and can't fast forward past it. And as much as my wife bitched about the annoyance of having 8-10 tracks prior to the movie, she's come to accept it because.... EVERY DVD has it.

    So down the road, when we're force to buy a new monitor with our new computer, well, we won't think much more about it than we do when we get a new phone with our cell plan.

    The only way this is going to fail is if the companies can't hack out a good standard. If it becomes too much of a hassle, THEN it will fail. If my new monitor won't work on a different computer that's also new, or if I'm severely limited by monitor choice, that MIGHT make enough of a difference for me to choose another alternative. But I doubt it.
    • You aren't always FORCED to get a new phone with your cell plan. I'm sure you're right and most people won't notice after the initial break-in period, but I will... and it will PISS ME OFF! ... unless of course said new monitor offers 5x the image quality and all sorts of other fluff. Then, the geek in me will will be too excited to get P-O'ed.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:03AM (#13092364)
    No one wants to buy into a crippled system and consumers are getting more savvy to these type of things. I hear enough complaints about the regional encoding in DVDs and players and the market found a way aroud that (region 0).

    Sadly, while people are too lazy to vote/voice against things like DMCA, they still vote with their dollars.

    iTunes is an example of a system that provides assurance to the music industry while being flexible enough for consumers to use - like being able to share music with friends.

    Napster on the other hand is a more inflexible model and also seems like a traitor in some respects: []

    The thing also with HD DVDs is that right now the DVD is an entrenched market that's good enough for most people. Most people don't even own the right TVs to make use of the enhanced resolution. So what is the incentive to move away from DVDs? Hell, VCR's had good enough resolution but the killer was the ability to go anywhere in the movie like a CD (and the smaller size of discs).

    If people percieve that HD DVD's or PAIDFOR online downloads are severely restricted, what incentive do they have to move away from DVD?

    Resolution they can't take advantage of/notice in most cases? 1 hour wait times until the hour long FBI warning goes away because it stops all those pirates? Compulsory previews?
  • by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:05AM (#13092369) Homepage
    Bill Gates realizes that he made a bunch of hugely arrogant mistakes that sabotaged his efforts with the content providers, but has humbled himself, turned over a new leaf, and is now ready to make a bunch of hugely arrogant mistakes that will sabotage his efforts with the content buyers.

    What's the old saying? Something about it being impossible for a Microsoft product to not suck before version 3.0? It sounds like Gates has a whole new series of lessons to learn before Microsoft gets this right.
  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Evro ( 18923 ) * <evandhoffman&gmail,com> on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:13AM (#13092391) Homepage Journal
    Several people have already posted about the irony of Bill Gates complaining about another company's monopoly. But I find it amusing that after years of attempts to sell music online, by companies from all over the spectrum, people seem to have chosen Apple's iTunes for its sheer end-to-end simplicity without introducing annoying DRM that gets in the user's way. Because of that, the market has rewarded them with most of the business. In other words, if they are now a monopoly, it's due to customers choosing their product, unlike Microsoft's monopoly, which was created through exclusive deals with hardware manufacturers and technological lock-in.
  • by theolein ( 316044 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:13AM (#13092393) Journal
    While Bill Gates is thrashing about in frustration because the online music market didn't bend over and do the usual market submissive act to Microsoft, I'm pretty sure he's going to lose the next market, video, as well. Bill Gates' biggest problem is that he hasn't realised, in 10 years of OS dominance, what ease of use is. Sit Mac OSX and WindowsXP next to one another, and note the difference after a short while. He just doesn't get it.

    The same thing with DRMed WMP files and the really bad interface on WMP, where Microsoft thinks it is doing the users a favour by allowing all sorts of skins to be used. Compare that with iTunes' simplicity.

    Steve Jobs may be an arrogant prick who deserves a kick in the balls by all the people he's insulted over the years, but he's right on the money when it comes to understanding what the market and above all, the consumer, likes: simplicity.

    99% of the world neither cares nor knows what DRM is or how their phone or iPod works. All they really want to do is simply put some songs on the device and press play. They don't care about wireless, bluetooth or whatever. The iPod's simplicity is why it stole the market from Creative, not because of features, and Creative's executive are still moaning about how their devices have more features.

    The video device from Apple will be the same, and will fit in just as easily with Apple's online store as the iPod does.

    And Microsoft will still be flapping about like a fish out of water, and Bill Gates will still be promising to defeat Apple.
    • It looks unobstrusive. It run QuickTime in 1080i and iTunes. Its absolutely brilliant.

      Option 1.) You can 'Tivo' your TV shows, strip out the ads, burn 'em to DVD and then watch at your leisure.

      Option 2.) You can just buy he content on iTunes. And no friggin' lead-in ads either.

      Case closed...
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:16AM (#13092400) Homepage
    How about an end-to-end experience in which I "buy" a video, I "own" it, it is then "mine" to use as I wish, I can "keep" it as long as I like, I can "play" it over and over again, I can "fast forward" or "rewind" to any portion of it it at any time, I can use any player I like from any manufacturer, and I can "lend" it to a friend... know, just like VHS?

    Doesn't seem hard to grasp or difficult to implement.

    Unless (gasp!) he's lying about the end-to-end user experience really begin their main concern.
  • Fat chance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by djupedal ( 584558 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:17AM (#13092407)
    "They're trying to learn lessons from their failure on the music side, where Apple blew them out of the water."

    Remember now, this is the company head that penned a not-so-best seller titled 'The Road Ahead'. Billy missed the mark on all predictions, and there is no reason to see that changing any time soon.

    Being run down by Apple shows they're nothing more than a deer in the headlights. Where's Bob? Isn't Clippy impressive? Remember the home video system named Tiger? How do you like being asked where you want to go today, instead of being given interesting options up front?

    Gates and company want more out of consumer pockets, that's all. They're business model is finally being seen what it is by the masses, and the masses are moving on down the road...without Bob's help, by the way.
  • He's already lost. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGood Food ( 1179 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:19AM (#13092423)
    As soon as the pipes get thick enough, the cable companies and the FTTH telcos will just expand their "on-demand" services exponentially and slash prices. No need to update your PC. No need to activate or de-activate movies. Just aim the remote at your set-top box, rent the movie for a buck or two, and watch, and watch it again for as long as you want to keep it in the DVR part of your set-top box. Cheaper and more convenient than Netflix.

    The market for watching movies "on the go," be it on a Notebook or PMP, is pretty small, actually. Apple's not interested in it, despite the instant market dominance they'd get from it were they to put a "Video iPod" on the market.

    SoupIsGood Food
    • Like locking it to the set-top box HD wouldn't be equally hard and/or equally invasive to your rights? What about when your kids, in the other room, wants to watch the movie? Move the box around or... *shugger* transmit it over a LAN? (If that's allowed, won't they "need" DRM to "protect" it?)
  • Network externalities is what made Windows take off. Since everyone else (geeks excluded) was using windows with Office, etc. you also needid it so that you could share your documents, etc. with them. This is why Gates want's his chosen, closed, DRM'd standards to take off, and in a BIG way. The problem is, if his standard doesn't represent a LARGE majority of the "installations", then network externalities won't truely exist. Also, users are getting more savvy with regards to circumventing such method
  • Microsoft Strategy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @08:41AM (#13092545)
    One thing I notice that most posters haven't got is the fact that Microsoft doesn't just provide functionality for end users, they are also in to provide functionality to corporations that can ensure that they make more money.

    Take DRM, Microsoft isn't probably that interested in it, however the music and film industries are and Microsoft sees the fact that getting them on board will help to ultimately boost it's bottom line.

    These music and film companies want to sell content to customers over the internet and to their PC, but they don't want any chance of potential piracy. Microsoft is activily courting their requirement, not because customers want to do less with their content, but because MS can turn to those companies and say "hey, you complained that computers were insecure, but Longhorn means you can sell secure content and we are here to help you achieve that".

    Microsoft's biggest advantage is that when Longhorn comes out, it will be pre-loaded onto computers and when Bob gets downloadable video content for his PC, Frank will want some of that too although he'll find that XP just doesn't cut it and he has to upgrade.

    Look to the money. There are huge amounts to be made in music and video downloads, however Microsoft has to include functionality (DRM) into their computers to be able to persuade those companies that their content isn't copyable otherwise they'll never dip their toes into that market. When they do (through the assurances of Microsoft that the PC can ensure secure content stays secure) I can only assume that they'll also have to use a MS subscription based service to serve that content and all the associated licence fees for wrapping their content into the MS DRM.

    In short, including DRM in Longhorn opens up another market for Microsoft to dominate. They'll force people who want to have downloadable video to upgrade and also gain licencing fees from their DRM solution used by the content providers under the illusion that their content really is secure.

  • by BaudKarma ( 868193 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @09:03AM (#13092685) Journal
    We control the vertical.

    Who knew they were talking about markets?
  • Ignore Gates (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @11:38AM (#13094120) Homepage Journal
    He's talking himself into obsolence anyways. A year ago, I'd have said "fuck gates", but it's not even important anymore.

    See, he's just talking big. Whatever scheme he comes up with will most likely suck, and the users, used to simplicity, will just ignore it and use something else. If some DRM scheme gets inbetween them and the music or videos they want, there are plenty of magazines out there telling them exactly how to use emule, bittorrent, or whatever the hype will be in 2012, when Longhorn and it's built-in DRM finally hit the market.

    Users are becoming a market force, and if they don't like DRM, it will fall flat. The music industry doesn't control half as much as they like. The mainstream is all theirs, but there's so much music out there, if Britney isn't available, there's 500 others who are just as good.
    It's not the same with movies, but there are already a ton of good indy movies, and besides you still have the cinemas where screeners are made to be posted online.

    Gates is, once again, clawing at an emerging market he missed, hoping that with strong words and another vaporware announcement, he can stop the world moving for long enough so he can still hop aboard.

    It's just that it ain't 1995 anymore, and even grandma down the street isn't so sure that Gates is a visionary anymore. Lots of people still look at him, but few stop for him anymore.
  • Video is different (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Monday July 18, 2005 @11:40AM (#13094144)
    Why do people assume the next big thing is video-on-the-move? a.k.a son-of-iPod.

    Who wants to watch movies on itty-bitty 5" screens? Whereas you can jog, work, eat & commute (not all at the same time) while listening to music, watching a movie is best done at home on a big screen.

    Good luck to Microsoft, if they are in charge, at least the first iteration of any upcoming product will be an excellent lesson on how not to do things, if history is any guide.

Forty two.