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Microsoft Brings Back DRM

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the perhaps-skydiving-is-not-for-you dept.

Media 414

Barence writes "Microsoft yesterday unveiled its MSN Mobile Music service — and a surprise return to digital rights management (DRM). While companies such as Apple and Amazon have finally moved to music download services free of copy protection, MSN Mobile locks tracks to the mobile handset they are downloaded to. It also charges more than the other services per track, and offers no way to transfer your tracks to your new phone when you upgrade. The company's Head of Mobile UK spoke to PC Pro about the launch, but his answers are almost as baffling as the service itself. Best quote: Q: 'If I buy these songs on your service — and they're locked to my phone — what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months' time?' A: 'Well, I think you know the answer to that.'"

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Clueless (5, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564277)

So many great quotes from a certain Hugh Griffiths, Head of Mobile at Microsoft UK:

We'll be looking to enhance the service if we get some interest from consumers

PR101: Don't tell journalists that no one cares about your product.

At the moment we don't have the functionality in-house to provide a mechanism for transferring between mobile phones and PC

CS101: Microsoft doesn't have the technology in-house to do a simple file transfer?

I didn't realise phones were churning that quickly in the marketplace these days

How clueless can you be? This guy almost makes me feel good about the other news of the day (Microsoft to laying off 5,000).

I suspect a Microsoft conspiracy to reassure their shareholders that indeed, getting rid of deadwood will not hurt business, on the contrary! He is a living proof (assuming he is one of the "chosen").

--
FairSoftware.net [fairsoftware.net] -- where geeks are their own boss

Re:Clueless (4, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564521)

Actually I read it as more arrogant than clueless, or perhaps hostile would be the word. He definately didn't defend as much as say "Yeah, we don't care" to most of the questions.

Re:Clueless (4, Funny)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564837)

He definately didn't defend as much as say "Yeah, we don't care" to most of the questions.

To my ears it sounded a little different. It was more like, "We don't know what we're doing, we're semi-incompetent, and I'm generally unprepared for your questions, but maybe we'll figure this out before the project gets abandoned."

Re:Clueless (2, Insightful)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565105)

I personally read it more as
"We're just trying something new here. We don't have all the bugs worked out... we don't have all the questions answered, now quit pestering me."

Re:Clueless (2, Insightful)

m509272 (1286764) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564527)

They mistakenly missed this guy.....

Re:Clueless (3, Insightful)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564747)

This dipshit probably has a golden parachute clause in his contract somewhere. They always do. Maybe he's the idiot nephew of someone high-up in Redmond, that's why he's with Microsoft Mobile UK, they sent him off where they thought he couldn't do any real harm. Woops.

Re:Clueless (5, Funny)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564657)

All I can say is... Wow... What the heck? Was this a joke or did he really say those things?
This sounds like something you would see on Futurama.

A reporter talking to Mom talking about Moms Music Network.
"If I buy these songs on your service - and they're locked to my phone - what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months' time?"

Mom: "Well, I think you know the answer to that."

Bender; "Your boned!"

Re:Clueless (3, Insightful)

evilkasper (1292798) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564787)

I see this service being less popular than the Zune.

Re:Clueless (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565145)

This makes the purchase of a Zune look like a purchase of Microsoft stock in 1986.

Re:Clueless (4, Interesting)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564811)

">I didn't realise phones were churning that quickly in the marketplace these days

How clueless can you be? This guy almost makes me feel good about the other news of the day (Microsoft to laying off 5,000)."
----

This jumped out at me as well. I suspect he was being both sarcastic and a little clueless. That was one of the last questions that was asked, many of them questioning the business model, pricing, DRM. This guy was looking for the "gee, what an exciting service!" kind of non-question. I suspect he was fed up with the questioner by this point.

I'm assuming he must understand the churn rate for phone, right? It's probably more than a year, less than two. But I can't imagine he would expect people to pay about $3.50 (1.79 pounds) for songs to throw away; at least he couldn't expect people to buy many songs at this price.

Perhaps he's counting on the phones being so locked down that you must buy the songs from MS?

Re:Clueless (4, Interesting)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564875)

Man it really is as bad as the summary makes it.

With the likes of iTunes and Amazon offering DRM-free music that you can play on any device, why would anyone choose the MSN Mobile service?

There may well be people who just want to listen to the track on their mobile alone.

Yeah and there may well be people with severe OCD who purchase music from your store and then immediately delete it because the bits didn't download in the right order, but I wouldn't bet the farm on chasing that demographic.

Jesus, they seem to be basing the whole thing on the hope that they can trick people into thinking they have to buy music from the MSN store if they have a Windows Mobile device. What the hell is that shit about "loyal to MSN". What? If anyone uses MSN it's because it came up by default in IE and they're too stupid to figure out how to change it. My mom might use MSN, but you can be damn sure she's not going to be buying music for her mobile phone anytime soon. Way to know your audience there pal.

Good grief, someone needs to post a 24 hour guard by this guy, Ballmer is going to disappear his ass posthaste.

Re:Clueless (2, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565001)

Good grief, someone needs to post a 24 hour guard by this guy, Ballmer is going to disappear his ass posthaste.

Well, you are making the assumption that this arrogance does not exist in the higher ranks. I personally feel that Microsoft is occupied by too many people out of touch with reality. Mind you there are departments that seem to slowly be seeing the light outside of their ivory tower, some of these including those working on IE8 and Microsoft office.

Re:Clueless (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565175)

I agree. Given the mentality of the higher levels there, I wouldn't assume Ballmer doesn't think this is a great idea. Lock people in to MSN music. Perhaps later, "graciously" allow the files to be transferred off the device (while still DRMed of course)

Re:Clueless (4, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564921)

How clueless can you be? This guy almost makes me feel good about the other news of the day (Microsoft to laying off 5,000).

What you lack is perspective. You see, the whole time the individual was thinking "fuck you." But he managed to come up with different answers. See? There's a marked improvement if you understand all the variables in play.

Re:Clueless (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564965)

I may be wrong but I've heard that Microsoft was replacing its UK head. To be sure our contact with them at work got some remarkably frank answers.
If this is the same guy, it may be that he's about to get the push and no longer gives a damn.

Re:Clueless - Including Ballmer (2, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565075)

Here are some of Ballmer's comments from a conference call with analysts:

        * "We think we have taken the right degree of action in terms of reducing the cost base."
        * "We are taking out somewhere between 5 percent and 15 percent of the cost line... which we think, in this environment relative to the reset in the economy, is probably the right level."
        * "Our model is not for a quick rebound (in PC sales)."
        * "If the economy stays down and then builds slowly, we are probably at about the expense base... You can't tell. The economy could also get a whole lot worse."

They also said they are no longer going to provide earnings/profit estimates.

In other words, they have no clue how bad they are going down.

This is a good thing.

Re:Clueless (1)

AdamPee (1243018) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565225)

How clueless can you be? This guy almost makes me feel good about the other news of the day (Microsoft to laying off 5,000).

I am sure they can push it to 5001 for this champ.

!surprise (3, Insightful)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564283)

seriously, who is really surprised microsoft did this? sure other companies (itunes/amazon) got smart and are moving away from the DRMs, but it's not surprising at all to see MS stick with it.

Re:!surprise (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564481)

Lock-in has worked pretty well for Microsoft so far. They have no motivation to change strategies. They will have to suffer a near-death experience before they will actually pay attention to what the user wants and what the market is delivering.

Re:!surprise (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564705)

[Microsoft] will have to suffer a near-death experience before they will actually pay attention to what the user wants and what the market is delivering.

Year of the Linux Desktop, anyone? C'mon, let's get this thing off the ground!

Re:!surprise (2, Informative)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564917)

Unfortunately (for the customer), Microsoft's relationship with music provides one of the single best examples of why DRM simply does not work: PlaysForSure.

Here's hoping... (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565215)

> They will have to suffer a near-death experience before they will actually pay attention to what the user wants and what the market is delivering.

Here's to hoping they never suffer a near-death experience.

Another Bomb Here to Stay (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564299)

Apple and Amazon have finally moved to music download services free of copy protection

I'm sorry, I was under the impression that Amazon's music service has always been DRM free. Could you please point me to a source showing that their service was ever under DRM? Did they offer a music service before Amazon MP3 [businesswire.com] ?

I don't know why everyone got excited when Apple went DRM-free, I've been buying DRM free MP3 singles from Amazon for over a year.

I don't think Microsoft is alone in their cling-to-DRM mentality. I think this will bomb but does it really even matter? It's just going to be another Zune/XBox bomb all over again offset by their other divisions so it's here to stay whether the market & investors say it should be or not. Oh well, if they want to lose money, let 'em. It does take more work for me to put my MP3s on my phone, maybe joe consumer won't put up with that and live with the DRM? We'll see after an upgrade though ...

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (2, Informative)

Phoenixhawk (1188721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564419)

Blah, Soon enough people will go out of their way to pirate the DRM version. After all look what DRM did for Spore.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564529)

Xbox bomb? The XBox and 360 are actually doing pretty well. Now the Zune... Well now that ITunes is going DRM free the Zune is even less interesting.
Too bad really. Competition is usually a good thing.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564589)

Well now that ITunes is going DRM free the Zune is even less interesting.

Why? I think the Zune is more interesting now that iTunes is DRM-free. Now you can buy songs from iTunes and play them on your Zune.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

No Grand Plan (975972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564739)

Until Microsoft decides to send out a Zune software 'update' to stop that...

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (2, Funny)

feldicus (1367687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565021)

That seems roughly analogous to buying the top-tier, premium gas for a third-hand 1972 Pinto.

feldicus

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564647)

Xbox bomb? The XBox and 360 are actually doing pretty well. Now the Zune... Well now that ITunes is going DRM free the Zune is even less interesting. Too bad really. Competition is usually a good thing.

I was talking about how if any other company had entered the console market in the fashion that Microsoft did, they would have sank faster than the Titanic. Microsoft threw it's weight around and took losses heavily. You may argue that all console makers do but not on this level [bbc.co.uk] . Let me quote the BBC for you:

For the first time Microsoft is revealing how much money it is losing on its Xbox game console.

Documents filed with the US financial watchdog show that Microsoft's Home and Entertainment division, which includes the Xbox, lost $177m in the three months to 30 September.

Since the Xbox was launched Microsoft has been forced to cut its price twice to boost sales.

The documents also reveal that four of the seven divisions of the company are operating at a loss.

For a while they were just burning money there. I'm not saying it's a bad or inferior console, I am impressed with the Xbox360 but I will stand by my statement that the initial offering of the Xbox was a horrible move that lost them hundreds of millions--almost instantly! And for what? Entrance into another market, that's what. And they'll muscle their bullheaded ideas into this market too and shove it down your throat just like the Zune and Xbox. Wait long enough and the Zune will be forced to be part of the market just like the Xbox.

It's the one Microsoft way.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564941)

The 360 is only doing well because Microsoft actually has a very good product. Of course the did a lot of the ground work with the original XBox.
1. They have the best online system. Sony's is a bad joke and Nintendo's is very limited.
2. They made very good Developer tools.
3. They made a great game franchise "Halo"
4. Now they are embracing Netflix for movie downloads which is frankly brilliant and so not like Microsoft.
5. They now have the lowest entry point with the Arcade.
Even then they are in second place to Nintendo. Frankly the 360 beats the Wii in power, and online. The Wii is doing so well because of the controls and the great first party software from Nintendo.
If any thing Microsoft showed a large chunk of effort, humility, and innovation in the game console market.
The exact opposite of their standard business practices.

Halo makes me cry (3, Informative)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565011)

It was originally a PC title that had been under development for 3+ years (I was following a lot of articles about it) that was meant to be something close to planetside in scope. It was going to be the Ultimate pc multiplayer shooter and you can see the potential with the vehicle combat and really well balanced weapons. Then it got stuck on a console forever when bungee ran out of money and MS swooped in seeing the potential of the franchise.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564769)

Xbox has sold a lot, but it hasn't turned a profit- in fact it's billions of dollars into the red. So yes, that's a bomb.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564929)

Yeah, I don't know the numbers, but consoles often sell at a loss for several years in the hopes of making money in the long run. Any hopes of turning profitable must have been set off a while by the extremely high defective-rate for 360s (at one point, I heard the number 16%), which has caused them to spend buttloads of money replacing defective units.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564971)

How much are they making on XBox live?

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565047)

They made 151 Million [google.com] last quarter, and 375 Million a year earlier in their Entertainment and Devices Division (which also includes the zune I guess), so while they're not turning huge profits, they are profitable.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (2, Insightful)

feldicus (1367687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565119)

So it's popular, has a reasonably good catalog of titles, and is a bomb because the manufacturer is operating at a loss? I'm pretty sure the fact that developers consider it a viable platform (due to the number owned) means that it's been pretty successful. There is an unusual disparity in that its success in the market (re: sales and title availability) has not equated to profit on the part of Microsoft, but that doesn't invalidate the platform itself.

feldicus

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565013)

Well now that ITunes is going DRM free the Zune is even less interesting.
Too bad really. Competition is usually a good thing.

Do you think Apple would have pushed so hard for unlocking iTunes if their player was the only one on the market?

Even longer (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564533)

I don't know why everyone got excited when Apple went DRM-free, I've been buying DRM free MP3 singles from Amazon for over a year.

Well since Apple was actually selling DRM free music from major labels with iTunes Plus even BEFORE the Amazon store opened, I agree with your surprise.

When EMI finally broke the stranglehold on DRM by agreeing to a DRM free iTunes presence, the other studios decided to try and break Apple by agreeing to all be in the Amazon store. It didn't really work out for them but eventually it worked out for the rest of us, in a way that companies like eMusic had not managed prior.

I don't think Microsoft is alone in their cling-to-DRM mentality.

The real question is, how much are labels still clinging to DRM? They are the only ones that really matter in the end. The agreement for all of them to sell DRM free music in more than one store was a watershed moment, but is this weird Microsoft arrangement something that had already been in the works or is it some new backsliding?

Re:Even longer (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26565025)

The real question is, how much are labels still clinging to DRM? They are the only ones that really matter in the end. The agreement for all of them to sell DRM free music in more than one store was a watershed moment, but is this weird Microsoft arrangement something that had already been in the works or is it some new backsliding?

I wonder how much of this is down to Microsoft's future strategies.. They totally changed the way the audio & video drivers work in Vista/DX10 to support their DRM/TC strategies. Even though the labels are mostly supporting DRM-free music, Microsoft cant abandon all the stuff they spent so much time & money on.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (4, Informative)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564539)

Apple and Amazon have finally moved to music download services free of copy protection

I'm sorry, I was under the impression that Amazon's music service has always been DRM free.

Well if you want to pick nits, nobody explicitly said Amazon ever had DRM on their music download store. You could argue that Amazon has "moved to music download services free of copy protection" in that they moved into music download services, and those services don't use DRM.

I don't know why everyone got excited when Apple went DRM-free, I've been buying DRM free MP3 singles from Amazon for over a year.

Is it possible that you're just a bit touchy about people hyping Apple? I mean, we could debate the importance of iTunes dropping DRM on all songs, but they are the biggest music retailer in the US (including brick&mortar stores). That alone seems enough to make the transition noteworthy.

Anyway, you're right that DRM isn't dead yet. Amazon, Apple, and Netflix are still using DRM on video, AFAIK. Also, Microsoft *needs* DRM to stay alive in order to keep WMA alive. Ignoring issues related to DRM, what's the point of using WMA when you have the option of AAC or MP3?

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564857)

Well if you want to pick nits, nobody explicitly said Amazon ever had DRM on their music download store. You could argue that Amazon has "moved to music download services free of copy protection" in that they moved into music download services, and those services don't use DRM.

Are you serious? That would be like if I was introduced to my friend's new girlfriend and I said "Hey, Al, I see Peter and you have moved to dating girls that don't have herpes!"

Oh, if anyone wanted to nitpick I could just say that I mean Al is now dating women and Peter is the one who used to date someone with herpes. Ridiculous. That sentence makes it sound like Amazon used to have DRM and they got smart and moved away from it. To my knowledge, they've always offered me DRM free MP3s. I don't even think you can have DRM on MP3s making Amazon MP3 DRM free!

Is it possible that you're just a bit touchy about people hyping Apple?

Is it possible that I have a personal bias against iTunes? Yes. Yes it is. No Linux support (Amazon runs fine on it), a bloated program that makes me install QuickTime, it reindexes, doesn't let me transfer songs on iPods, wastes CPU, installs a Windows Service, etc. I could go on for hours. And then a family member calls me wondering why her computer runs so damned slow and why she can't have 1000+ songs in iTunes.

iTunes is horrible in my opinion and it gets all the press and love and there are other options out there (like Amazon + Amarok). Yeah, sorry about the bitchy rant but you asked me about it.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (2, Interesting)

BMonger (68213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564553)

I use a Mac at home and one day finally remembered that Amazon had a service. So I decided to go their first as I knew they were cheaper. I went to go fill up my cart with some albums but as far as I could tell you could only buy one album per purchase. Even worse if I went to buy singles I had to make a new transaction per song. Has the service improved since then? After I bought one single I went back to my DRM laden and slightly more expensive iTunes store. Although maybe there is an easier way to do it on a Windows machine. I'm actually just curious, not trying to be secretly inflammatory.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564561)

"I was under the impression that Amazon's music service has always been DRM free."

i think you're right, actually (not entirely sure, though).
Now if only Amazon's "Audible" service would ditch DRM we'd be in good shape.

Microsoft Mobile DRM, eh? Maybe they're planning to cough up a "Zune Phone" after all...

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (5, Funny)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564805)

Cough up? I think you mean "squirt out"?

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564727)

Some might say that while Amazon never moved their music service away from DRM (since it never had DRM in the first place), their opening of a music service without DRM could be considered a move away from DRM from Amazon since Unbox (Their movie service) has (or at least had) some pretty nasty DRM and existed for at least a year or two before Amazon MP3.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (2, Informative)

sanyacid (768747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564843)

I don't know why everyone got excited when Apple went DRM-free, I've been buying DRM free MP3 singles from Amazon for over a year.

Well, you probably didn't know that Amazon MP3 store is not available for "The rest of the world".
Amazon MP3 store means nothing to people outside the USA (that's a bounch of people!).

I happen to live outside the USA and that's the reason why I am very excited about iTunes going DRM free.

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (1)

jbb999 (758019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565123)

It's been available in the UK too for a little while now

Re:Another Bomb Here to Stay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564899)

before you poo-poo Apple keep in mind that without pressure over iTunes the music industry would have never agreed to Amazon's DRM-free service.

Apple's pushed them for years to go DRM-free, we all owe them a heartfelt "thank you."

Great business model. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564319)

I'm sure their subscribers will enjoy paying for the same thing multiple times.

At least they're honest (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564403)

Glad they're not trying to market this as "plays for sure (except when we release a new device and want to sell you music again)"

Enough already (1, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564411)

Slashdot is a Microsoft shill....

Re:Enough already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564905)

Slashdot is a Microsoft shill....

Shut your trap, you fucking Microsoft fanboi retard!

Summary (5, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564427)

"We're looking to gouge customers who are too stupid to look elsewhere."

Re:Summary (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564459)

"We're looking to gouge customers who are too stupid to look elsewhere."

Well someone has to look after them ;)

OMG (4, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564451)

I'm trying to think of something witty to put here but I can't stop laughing long enough to breathe. Almost everything I come up with starts with In Soviet Russia.....

Re:OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564599)

I'm trying to think of something witty to put here but I can't stop laughing long enough to breathe. Almost everything I come up with starts with In Soviet Russia.....

Lolz... best quote I have heard all day! (I know I probably havn't been trolling enough)

On the day Microsoft announces layoffs..... (3, Interesting)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564453)

....you get morons sitting around a conference table convincing themselves that this is a good a idea. Microsoft reports revenue shortfalls because of wasteful, stupid ideas like this.

Re:On the day Microsoft announces layoffs..... (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564861)

How did these Microsoft Managers with ideas like this keep their jobs and not get laid off?

Hahaha hahahahaaa surreal !!! (0, Redundant)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564455)

just as some people were saying 'they are starting to listen to customers now' due to windows 7, this happens.

boy. talk about 'twilight zone' kind of surreal.

Re:Hahaha hahahahaaa surreal !!! (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564531)

can you die of laughter cause i hurt right now...

Re:Hahaha hahahahaaa surreal !!! (1)

Frequency Domain (601421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564585)

MS is not some giant monolith, any more than any company is. It's comprised of individuals, some of whom are more clueless than others. This is not meant as a defense of them, just an observation that managers on one project may have started listening to consumer feedback while managers on another project are continuing business as usual.

I think you know the answer to that. (1)

ForrestFire439 (1458475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564485)

" "Well, I think you know the answer to that."" What I condescending prick...

Re:I think you know the answer to that. (1)

irving47 (73147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564887)

It takes every misgiving and paranoid delusion I have about "Big Business" and amplifies them by 100. I'm a pretty conservative "Free-market" kinda guy, but hearing this sort of thing makes me hope the Obama administration and their DOJ take the gloves off when it comes to monopolies and breaking them up.

And you know what.. (0, Offtopic)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564493)

I had a friend who bought a eBook from CourseSmart (hint: DONT BUY from them).

He's not that smart in computers, but bought this ebook and then found out you can only print 10 pages and it disables itself after 6 months. He paid 50$ less than the real textbook. I said WTF...

Anyways, he's stuck with some god awful cripple-book... until I un-fucked it. Well, what did I do?

1.The book was reminiscent of a PDF reader, however, rotation options are not present. So, I tell the screen driver (running on the eeeclone from acer) to flip 90 degrees.
2.I tell the cripplebook reader to go full screen, which it does. It turns out, you can turn pages by pressing left and right.
3.I found a GPL MSWindows screenshot tool that formats pngs via name_0001 I set it up to save to ./book/
4.I do prtscn/right 812 times for those images.

Hooray, you have unDRMed images of cripplebook.

Now for cleaning:
5.Use gimp to determine crop area (use mogrify to mass crop). We need a rect region with offset. Then use mogrify to mass crop.
6.Use convert to convert all sequential images to 1 pdf.

You now have an unfucked PDF that would have "deleted" itself otherwise.

Re:And you know what.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564569)

Your ideas intrigue me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:And you know what.. (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564845)

Sweet! Next time, if you want to make it a little easier, you could just go buy the real book, scan every page with your all-in-one printer, then take the book back.

Sorry, I just needed to show off my tech savvy-ness.

DRM revival or delayed service release? (1)

Narnie (1349029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564495)

So is Hugh Griffiths (Microsoft) trying to revive DRM or is their development cycle about 2 years late?

So... (2, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564517)

This is the kinder, gentler Microsoft we heard about just yesterday?

Bye bye (1)

DLPierson (8772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564519)

Well now we know who had better be one of the first layoffs. If they keep this moron around it says a lot about the future of Microsoft.

Hilarious... (4, Interesting)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564523)

This guy's answers are hilarious. They only make sense in a universe where everything is inherently locked down, and your customers are idiots to be abused.

Why has Microsoft gone back to DRM ...? It's a first step. ... We'll be looking to enhance the service if we get some interest from consumers. ... At the moment, to be honest with you, we don't have the functionality in-house to provide a mechanism for transferring between mobile phones and PC.

You don't really have to provide a "mechanism" if you just left the system open. If the files were non-DRM and the phone had an open interface (e.g. you plug in a USB cable and can browse/transfer files on it), then the transferring step is trivial.

With the likes of iTunes and Amazon offering DRM-free music that you can play on any device, why would anyone choose the MSN Mobile service?
There may well be people who just want to listen to the track on their mobile alone

Which, again, would be trivially easy with an open system. If the phone were open, I could download a track from Amazon and put it on my phone. So the only reason to use the MSN service is "because of lock-in."

And in response to the question:

What is your message to consumers - why should I come to you instead of Amazon or iTunes? What do you offer that none of your competitors do?

...his answer actually doesn't contain an answer. He just mentions that some people are using the service. Without being explicit, he's basically saying "some users won't know any better."

Can you really expect people to buy music that's locked to a device they upgrade every 12 to 18 months?
I didn't realise phones were churning that quickly in the marketplace these days. ...

Wow. Just... wow. That's impressive market research on their part. They are not sure how long people keep their cellphones. And they see no issue with requiring digital files to expire whenever the hardware does.

This overpriced and highly restricted product has a clear future ahead...

Re:Hilarious... (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564751)

You don't really have to provide a "mechanism" if you just left the system open. If the files were non-DRM and the phone had an open interface (e.g. you plug in a USB cable and can browse/transfer files on it), then the transferring step is trivial.

Not only that, but you're talking about Microsoft-- the company that makes the desktop OS on most PCs as well as the OS on a good percentage of smartphones. If they can't make a mechanism work on to sync between their own desktop OS and their own phone OS, they're pretty well f*#$ed.

Wow. Just... wow. That's impressive market research on their part. They are not sure how long people keep their cellphones. And they see no issue with requiring digital files to expire whenever the hardware does.

That's they don't know that people sometimes replace their phone within a year isn't the part that bothers me about that question. Hell, let's suppose that 12-18 months is too short an estimate of how long people hold onto their phones. Let's say, instead, that it's 5 years, which is a pretty high number. Still, let's go with that for the sake of argument. It still doesn't address the question-- "Can you really expect people to buy music that's locked to a device they upgrade every 5 years?"

Re:Hilarious... (2, Interesting)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565031)

For higher end phones people might keep them for a few years, but in the UK a normal mobile phone contract (with a free phone) is 12 or 18 months. At the end of that I would expect (if they are anything like their US counterparts) they offer you another free phone if you'll sign for another 12 or 18 month contract.

People who get an iphone or whatever and probably pay upfront for part of the phone might just keep the one they have, but almost everyone who got the freeby (well embedded in the monthly charges) will take the new phone if they are happy with the service, or go elsewhere (and get a new phone from them) if they aren't.

Re:Hilarious... (5, Funny)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564913)

This just in. Microsoft will now be laying off "5001" workers.

BBH

Re:Hilarious... (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564943)

This guy's answers are hilarious. They only make sense in a universe where everything is inherently locked down, and your customers are idiots to be abused.

Don't know if you've noticed, but that is the MSN universe, in a nutshell. For that matter, it's a lot of the Microsoft universe. And it's big.

Re:Hilarious... (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565195)

Wow. Just... wow. That's impressive market research on their part. They are not sure how long people keep their cellphones. And they see no issue with requiring digital files to expire whenever the hardware does.

Well, I kept my last phone around for around four years or so! Of course, that was due to me not really having much need for new features on my phone at the time. Plus a lack of money to get a new one until relatively recently. Which also meant I lacked money to buy things like, say, $3.50 music tracks.

So look on the bright side, that's one hell of a market they're aiming for! People who either don't need a massive media player phone and thus probably wouldn't buy songs specifically for it even if they had one, or who can't afford to buy a new phone and also can't afford music tracks at a huge markup! Glad SOMEBODY'S tapping that market! :-)

another spin on a vague quote (3, Funny)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564545)

Q: "If I buy these songs on your service â" and they're locked to my phone â" what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months' time?"
A: "Well, I think you know the answer to that."

I know its microsoft we're dealing with here, and the default way to fill in the blanks is by assuming they will screw you; but, is there a possibility that there is an easy walk-around to this DRM, (sort of like the one in itunes) and he's being vague about it at the moment to keep the media companies happy?

i can't imagine MS would be THAT stupid to ignore such obvious common sense in the face of such steep competition. can they really be that out of touch? are they intentionally trying to fail?

Premises don't support their conclusion (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564597)

While companies such as Apple and Amazon have finally moved to music download services free of copy protection, MSN Mobile locks tracks to the mobile handset they are downloaded to. It also charges more than the other services per track, and offers no way to transfer your tracks to your new phone when you upgrade.

This is why it contradicts itself. If [A] piracy is a problem (represents lost sales, etc.) and [B] DRM is the correct response to this problem, then it does not follow that a system using a rather strict form of DRM would charge more per track. If anything, this should make their prices cheaper, especially considering that the non-transferrability would cause some repeat purchases with no additional expenses incurred by the seller.

The company's Head of Mobile UK spoke to PC Pro about the launch, but his answers are almost as baffling as the service itself. Best quote: Q: "If I buy these songs on your service â" and they're locked to my phone â" what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months' time?" A: "Well, I think you know the answer to that.""

He is being unusually honest about this, although I don't think that's courage on his part but rather a reliance on the apathy of the average customer.

An even more interesting quote to me (1)

kipin (981566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564617)

Q: Can you really expect people to buy music that's locked to a device they upgrade every 12 to 18 months?

A: I didn't realise phones were churning that quickly in the marketplace these days. I'm sure there are some users who change their phone every year.

This answer is coming from the head of the Microsoft mobile division in the UK! How is it possible that he could be unaware that many individuals replace their phone every 12-18 months? This is completely mind baffling to me.

My Guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564637)

Q: "If I buy these songs on your service and they're locked to my phone what happens when I upgrade my phone in six months' time?"

A: "Well, I think you know the answer to that.""

My Guess: "Steel bolts spring out and plunge straight through both cheeks."

Well, something like that anyway, based on the track record.

Sell MSFT (1)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564663)

This news proves that Microsoft is weak.

SELL SELL SELL!!!1! (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564755)

I don't think you emphasized SELL enough. ;)

Re:Sell MSFT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564835)

not as weak as those chumps over at sourceforge.

advertising for al jazeera shows how far they've fallen.

Let me fix that for you... (5, Funny)

FriendSite.com (1208220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564697)

Answer... We'll be looking to enhance the service if we get some interest from consumers

Real Answer... We've hurriedly acquired some third party that provides a service that we kind of want and we're keeping our fingers crossed that it's profitable and works.

Answer... At the moment we don't have the functionality in-house to provide a mechanism for transferring between mobile phones and PC

Real Answer... We've blindly bought this company on a me-too whim - I have no idea what they do, and we're kind of regretting it that customers haven't thrown a ticker tape party for us, people do that for Apple when they release something cool.. WHHHHHHYYYY can't they do that for us :-(

Answer... I didn't realise phones were churning that quickly in the marketplace these days

Real Answer... I'm used to working in a big corporation where my incompetence and lack of on-the-trigger knowledge is drowned out by the number of people who work there. It means I have no idea about the product, where it'll go, how it will perform or how it works. I've just been told by my director to "Go do something like Apple or Amazon and we'll sort it all out later" ...

There.. fixed it for you Mr Griffiths

What's so surprising about that? (1)

BBandCMKRNL (1061768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564741)

"Microsoft yesterday unveiled its MSN Mobile Music service -- and a surprise return to digital rights management (DRM).

What's so surprising about that given how much Microsoft has invested in DRM on all its platforms?

DRM is not a racial slur... (-1, Troll)

hendrix2k (1099161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564763)

[a bunch of slashdotters and end users run into Microsoft and see the "interspecies erotica"]

End user: What the fuck?

[the donkey brays as the slashdotters see Hugh Griffiths' "DRM 4 Life" shirt]

Slashdotters: [shouting] DRM??

Hugh Griffiths: Oh, no no, it's cool, I'm taking it back.

Here are his answers (0, Redundant)

CSHARP123 (904951) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564767)

Why has Microsoft gone back to DRM when the vast majority of music services have ditched it?
A: It's a first step. We are looking for some idiots who do not look elsewhere on the web and we will make profit off of them.
With the likes of iTunes and Amazon offering DRM-free music that you can play on any device, why would anyone choose the MSN Mobile service?
A: There may well be people who are just idiots who buy whatever we throw at them.
The fee for downloading tracks - £1.50 - is relatively high compared to 79p on iTunes and less than that on certain Amazon tracks. Why is that?
A: Yes. We are not looking for people who are savvy enough to shop around. You are asking too many good questions. This service is not for you.

i guess (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564865)

I guess, none of the DRM guys were among 5000 that will be fired in the next 18 months.

Surprising how? (1)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564877)

I mean, sure it's surprising that people would do something like this, but it's also probably been in the works since before Apple made their announcement.

Otherwise, MS has made it clear they are trying to protect the 'rights' of the companies producing content by tying in protection with their OS. Trying to prevent unencrypted content from being sent over video connections or such. I'm not a video/audiophile, so I don't recall the specifics, but I'm sure someone can list them if needed.

They HAVE TO include DRM because... (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564883)

... Their future downloadable software business models depend on it!
They would hate to have in place that you can actually purchase a single purchase and NOT have it locked to certain hardware.
For example, I have a single copy of WinXP Pro on a 300GB Raptor HDD.
I enjoy removing said drive and inserting in one of three computers with DIFFERENT HARDWARE depending on what I want to do.
Sure, it might be easier to pirate another copy of WinXP, but since I PAID FOR IT RETAIL (and it was NOT the Upgrade version) I believe I should be able to run said purchased code on any device I see fit to run it on. (so long as only that single installation copy is ever used at any given time no matter what PC is fits into..)
Sure, I get to have WGA the DRM fun every week or two, but who cares? I jsut call the number on speaker phone after the Internet activations fail and get the pweson on the other end of the phone to unlock it.
For some reason I ask to PAY FULL PRICE for another copy of WinXP Pro which DOES NOT use WGA (the corporate versions are like this) and I was flat told NO YOU CANNOT. I sadi ok, fine, I will call you every time your DRM locks my PC down and Microsoft can lose money every time you are forced to unlock its DRM "feature" (And NOT gain another sale and hopefully lose money for the trouble of the over 10 calls I have had to make so far...
So, I follow the stupid rules legitimately and use them against the DRM machine...

I believe MS is planning on using the DRM they are using in the MSN Music store as a sort of 'trial run' for what they hope to have as downloadable OS and Office apps very soon... (And the it will be a matter of time before said apps expire and they enforce a time-based subscription service like SlySoft.com just did when they took their licenses from eligible for updates to said software forever to only one year for the free updates.)

fuddles should be charged with (soft)war crimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564891)

vista nearly doomed the already deteriorating pc 'business'. all that freakish greed/fear/ego based gangster behavior is so last failed regime.

What do they call it this time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26564897)

They already used "PlaysForSure". Is it "FooledYouTwice" this time?

Re:What do they call it this time? (1)

farlukar (225243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565005)

"PlaysForAwhile"

I'm shocked! (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564931)

No... wait... Im sorry, that was just gas....

Another question for them... (1)

Androclese (627848) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564939)

Fake Q: "Do you really expect me to buy your product when I can get DRM-free music that I won't lose upon upgrade, cheaper, elsewhere?"

Real A: "Well, I think you know the answer to that."

Some day, this will happen... (3, Funny)

cephah (1244770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564977)

MS Worker: "Sir, I hear you've decided to reintroduce DRM. Is this true?"
MS Head of Mobile: "Yep, I'm bringin' it back! Hurr!" *clicks on remote, turning on Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back*

Justin Timberlake: I'm bringin' seeexy bac-- **DRM AUTHORIZATION FAILURE, PLEASE CONTACT VENDOR FOR SUPPORT OR REPURCHASE ONLINE. THANK YOU FOR USING MSN MUSIC**

MS Head of Mobile: "Ah damn it all."
MS Worker: "So I'm guessing we're dropping the idea after all?"
MS Head of Mobile: "Nonsense! Call a press conference, I'll just use my cunning wit and charm to sell this idea to the masses. They'll love it!"
MS Worker: "*sigh* Yes, Sir."

Simple advice for Microsoft (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26564995)

Cut the bullshit with things like DRM. Your customers want speed and reliability from your products. Rip the DRM out of Windows Vista and Windows 7 completely. Focus all of your efforts on fixing the hardware compatibility issues and performance. You are in potentially very dangerous waters now with Apple's new Snow Leopard release coming in the near future, a release that is almost entirely focused on longterm performance enhancements.

Hollywood wants you to piss off your customers. Hollywood doesn't give a shit about your future. Stop listening to Hollywood, and start aggressively giving your customers want they want from a desktop OS.

Congratulations (1)

MattW (97290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565081)

I'd like to congratulate Microsoft on finding yet another way to strangle the life out of any goodwill remaining in its brand.

No surprise, (2, Funny)

houtianze (1410459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565091)

Microsoft is always being innovative and a great visionary, especially after Bill G. retired.

What about leveraging that monopoly? (1)

Schuthrax (682718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565133)

Surely Microsoft must have some idea to include a music/media portal in Windows and/or media player so that users don't have to think about running something "scary" like iTunes or a browser in order to buy music.

sweet (1)

token_username (1415329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26565161)

So you're basically paying full price to rent a digital song from MS. The term is determined by how long MS wants to stick with a given technology and the bonus is that the music you're renting isn't even CD quality. I believe I've already gotten screwed over by MS DRM on some of my older music. never again.
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