The Zune joke [Update]

microsoftHa, I can’t believe it, just read this story. It’s about the “Zune” player, which will be sold by Microsoft to attack Apple’s iPod. The music and the battle for the customer is quite uninteresting for me since I do not have an iPod (and wouldn’t use it anyway, I prefer iAudio) and wouldn’t be able to run Windows or Apple software anyway.
However, the interesting part begins with Microsofts DRM system: Some while ago, Microsoft introduced “Play For Sure”, a dumb initiative to spread it’s Microsoft Media Player 10 and to fix the monopoly for DRM systems for audio players outside of the iPod world. The idea was that every player and every music selling service with this seal was guaranteed to cooperate. And, the real reason behind it, that the DRM system worked an that it was guaranteed that the customer was only able to do what the music industry wanted him to do.

And here is the joke: the new, shine player from Microsoft will not support “Play For Sure”. That means, all music you bought with other music services will not be able to work together with Zune. You will just not be able to copy it. In no way. So, if you want to listen to music you’ve bought before somewhere else in digital form, you will have to buy it again.

Now the question: is there *any* better proof that the whole DRM design which exists today is crap? If you cannot even play Microsoft secured music on Microsoft produced players?

The reasons why Microsoft did this are different – MS itself says they want an “integrated platform”. Well, could be. At least, if you look behind what it means: an integrated platform is nothing else than a copy of iTunes, with all it shortcomings. Also there will be no opportunity for competitors which atm sell “Play For Sure”. You can find more about the possible reasons here.

However, if you possess DRM secured music, be sure to remove the DRM as soon as possible – no one (!) guarantees you that the software, the keys or whatever needed to listen to that music will be available tomorrow as well. Especially when Microsoft should be successful with Zune, the “Play For Sure” initiative will be dead much earlier than you would like it.

Madness spreads its wings. It is unbelievable what Microsoft and the content industry are doing. This is not funny anymore, it is illegal: at least in Germany you are not allowed to set everyone under general suspicion. And that is *exactly* what Microsoft is doing. I can only hope that someone will step up to fight for the user rights in court…


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