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Why Won’t The Zune PlayForSure?

In the Yet-another-bad-Zune-decision department, it turns out the Zune won’t play music or video sold under Microsoft’s own PlaysForSure program, which includes music from Napster, Rhapsody, Yahoo! Unlimited, Movielink, Cinemanow, MTV URGE, or any other form of DRM. Zune will use its one music store with its own DRM format, completely incompatible with the other DRM format Microsoft has been pushing for years.

Seems kind of boneheaded. There are so many problems this will cause:

  • Microsoft becomes a hypocrite, after years of knocking the iPod for only working with iTunes, doing the same damn thing.
  • Microsoft is making things harder for the Zune, removing a possible selling point.
  • Microsoft is making things harder for PlaysForSure stores, since they don’t work with what is predicted to be a very popular device.
  • Microsoft is making things more confusing for consumers, who now need to understand there are two types of protected WMA files, one from Microsoft for Microsoft, and one from Microsoft for everybody else.

Once again, here we’ve got DRM making music even less valuable, in ways that are completely unnecessary.

Coverage at:
PaidContent
EFF
Boing Boing

One thing to note: You could always use a program to rip out the copy protection from DRM files, like FairUse4WM. Even though Microsoft found a way to disable the first version, it seems like it only took days to circumvent that patch as well. And iTunes files have long been able to be cracked.

UPDATE: Boing Boing says Microsoft is sending takedown notices to sites hosting FairUse4Wm. They also point out that Microsoft’s notices are not legally accurate. Read on.

September 15th, 2006 Posted by | General, Law, Windows Media, Zune | 3 comments



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3 Comments »

  1. This pretty much means PlaysForSure is dead. The likely outcome of this seems rather obvious. Microsoft appears to have a good, but not great, offering in Zune. They are probably unlikely to make any significant dent in Apple’s market share as things stand today. Instead, it is likely that Zune’s market share will be at the expense of the iPod competitors/the iPod killers/the PlaysForSure license holders. While Zune may not be an iPod killer, it is likely to become an iPod-killer killer. Microsoft has just shafted not only its music store and music player manufacturer partners, but also customers who have invested in PlaysForSure players and music. We are covering this in Zune: the iPod-killer killer

    Comment by 10layers | September 16, 2006

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