PDA

View Full Version : Balmer: Zune's DRM is Microsoft's Future


Damion Chaplin
01-19-2007, 12:30 AM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1628' target='_blank'>http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1628</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>&quot;Until now, Microsoft has tried to downplay the fact that the Zune digital-rights-management system nixes the Windows Media PlaysForSure one that the company was championing until late last year. However, in an interview this week with Knowledge@Wharton, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer finally admits on the record that the Zune DRM system is the one in which Microsoft's putting its future eggs. &quot;We thought that (PlaysForSure) was a brilliant strategy &mdash; [develop] an open ecosystem, get a lot of people [to support it].&quot; What happened? As Ballmer puts it, &quot;In this particular case, the whole was not bigger than the sum of the parts.&quot; And, as a result, &quot;Apple &mdash; with one model that was simple and consistent &mdash; wound up taking 75%-80% of the market.&quot;.. &quot;Some of our partners will say 'This wasn't partner-friendly.' But having our partners only have 20% of a market share between them is also not very partner-friendly. One of the key things &hellip; that I have learned about business partners is that business partners are your partners because they make money with you, they succeed with you. And if you don't succeed, eventually you don't have any partners.&quot;&quot;</em></p><p>A very good point, and kind of one we were expecting: The PlaysForSure program just didn't work they way they wanted it to. So they looked at Apple's program and said &quot;Hey, they're making a profit from it, so should we.&quot; So they orphaned a promising system in favor of a more restrictive one. Gee, thanks guys. Really, what they should have done (IMO) is change PFS slightly so that the existing players can still use it in the future, but the Zune also uses it. There really wasn't a reason why they needed to dump one in favor of the other. In any case, they can still pull it out of the gutter if they just change the Marketplace slightly so any PFS player can use it. Then they wouldn't be alienating any existing customers. Oh wait, this is Microsoft we're talking about... Nevermind. </p>

NPrtmn4evr
01-19-2007, 12:53 AM
Well the only other mp3 player I have experience with is the iPod, so I never used or even really heard of PlayForSure. I like how the Zune marketplace was similar to iTunes, it made the transition easy for me, and I really think that's what Microsoft was going for.

Damion Chaplin
01-19-2007, 01:13 AM
Well, I actually never thought of it that way... They're trying to lure Apple customers by offering a system similar to what they were already used to. I guess it makes sense in a if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em kind of way.

It still doesn't excuse abandoning a system they never really gave a chance to... They still could have used PFS and created a marketplace similar to ITMS. New Zune (and ex-iPod) owners would never need to know it wasn't limited to the Zune Marketplace...

MarxMarvelous
01-19-2007, 04:09 AM
Really, what they should have done (IMO) is change PFS slightly so that the existing players can still use it in the future, but the Zune also uses it. There really wasn't a reason why they needed to dump one in favor of the other.

If they were going that route, why would they change PFS at all? And in that case people could then hook their Zune player up to X random music store, which was the whole problem in the first place because its hard to guarantee a great experience that way.

grommet
01-19-2007, 04:36 AM
Just a FYI, in case you aren't aware: Zune Marketplace is technically not locked to Zune devices. The WMA DRM content can be used with any PlaysForSure device, using the same license restrictions. WMP 11 will happily work with the Marketplace content, as well as all portable devices that work with WMP 11 and PlaysForSure. Streaming devices work, too: Sonos, Roku SoundBridge, etc.

But as we all know, the Zune device is lightly "locked" to the Zune Marketplace by design.