Sunday, December 16, 2007

Microsoft's Confusing DRM Antics

I was recently musing about Microsoft's weird double-standards with regards to consumer-punishing digital rights management (DRM), but after reading this item it occurred to me that they've actually stumbled into an hat trick of contradictions.

As the linked article discusses, M$ has a pair of incompatible DRM schemes for their own Zune and players designed to run the previous PlaysForSure-protected content. Now they've rebranded both schemes into something even more confusing and likely to lead to customer dissatisfaction. Real f*cking bright, Redmond.

That stupidity has been going on for a year now, but where it gets weird is that the Fall Update for the Xbox 360 has added the capability to play back DivX and Xvid compressed files. So what? Well, the main source of these files are movies and TV shows being trading online. Isn't it contradictory to be so wrapped up in providing onerous DRM crap that you screw your former partners and the people who buy your hardware with incompatible schemes then turn around and make your game and media console work with pirated content?

I've watched "The Simpsons Movie", some anime and an episode of "Pushing Daisies"that my g/f and I missed viewing live, but I didn't want to watch on washed-out tape. A few hours after it had aired, I was able to pull it down off BitTorrent with the commercials chopped out and everything. While it didn't look as good as the HD broadcast would've, it was fine. Thanks to the update from DRM-crazed Microsoft, more "pirated" content will surely flow thru their system.

How is it that with such boneheaded moves on M$'s part, Apple is still sucking wind in comparison? Easy. As bad as M$ is, Apple is far worse in abusing their battered customers and those who aren't caught in the reality distortion field of Lord Jobs take one look at their pretty, but vacant, claptrap and flee.

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