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February 07, 2007


Harry L

I think an important point to remember is that the vast majority of music is still sold in cd form without any DRM (Hi Sony!). So digital music is at a competitive disadvantage as long as DRM is used.
I think Jobs and Gates are right in that adding DRM to digital music is like plugging just one hole in a leaky roof. From their viewpoint, recorded music is just a commodity to be used to sell their hardware, so the cheaper and easier it is to use, the better.
The record companies have been fighting a losing battle against technological progress
for a while now. There's no indication that they will ever change. I wonder how long it will be before they are asking for a government handout a la the steel industry!


The reason of Microsoft's reaction (from the Zune guy) is that DRM-free music will render all the DRM work Microsoft has done with "the industry" worthless. Micsosoft will lose control over this aspect.

The RIIA's only raison d'être is to perpetuate their current business model and control over music distribution. That is why they'd never let DRM-free music be sold online. Therefore their only goal will now to force Apple to license Fairplay.

Apple is playing a tough game against the RIIA (mainly the Big Four club). Let us hope they get support from govs and consumers. So far these are playing into RIIA hands.

Steve Morsa

Regardless of how one feels about DRM when it comes to music (up next, video), it's pretty humorous to see so many (most? all?) European countries so up in arms over Apple's proprietary and "closed" iPod/iTunes system.

The way they're (over)reacting, you'd think the Russians were rationing their oil supply.

Come on, pond neighbors...it's only music, after all.

Let the marketplace decide.


Check out this article reguarding the iPhone and DRM

Brent Schlender is getting paid far too much.


Lloyd Budd

Bill Gates agreement that DRM is broken makes Vista being crippled by DRM particularly unfortunate. This will be the OS for the next 3-6 years?

Reviews I have read invariably bring this up. A PC running Vista can't be connected to a stereo!

David Finkle

Hey Don,

MS actually LIKES DRM!




Don Dodge

Gates says DRM is broken and not user friendly. Robbie Bach said he feels DRM is important...not that he likes it. The Forbes headline writer created that.

Here is what Bach actually said "We think DRM is important, and you can decide if you want to do it in the clear, that would be fine with us. You can decide you want to do it with a certain set of restrictions. Our job is to provide the technology you need for that. It's not just for music players--it's for phones, it's for other devices, because all that kind of media is going to flow through the ecosystem. It was an interesting letter, but I don't think it's anything that's particularly surprising."

Bach is essentially saying the same thing as Jobs. The music and video content owners require DRM so we have provided it.

The difference is that Microsoft makes its "Play for Sure" DRM available to lots of device manufacturers, while Apple does not.

The European countries are asking Apple to "open up" their DRM, meaning, make it widely available to lots of manufacturers so there is no "lock-in" to Apple.

The headlines always obscure the fundamental issues.

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