Blog Post

The Real Subscription Music Winner? Microsoft

We’ve written about it but not with this much intensity. Napster, Rhapsody and Yahoo Music Unlimited are all using Microsoft’s Plays For Sure/Janus codec DRM, giving them nearly a dozen compatible portable devices right off the bat. (Almost typed “Pays For Sure,” which also would be true.) Microsoft keeps dabbling in hardware — anyone need an Ultimate DVR or a Microsoft wireless router? — but it’s real bread and butter is the software, the gift that keeps on giving. The DRM is inextricably tied into Microsoft Media Player; it only works with Internet Explorer, etc. Ditto for Xbox 360, the newest Microsoft Media Center. Pick a service based on MS DRM and the binds tying you to Redmond only get tighter.
Mobile evangelist Russ Beattie works for Yahoo (not in the music area) but makes the case for being paranoid about Microsoft. His take on Apple: “Yes, Apple has lock in right now for their 10 million iPod users. Big Woop. It’s such a small piece of the pie it’s not funny and they’re going to get crushed like a bug. The thing is, by holding the only competitor to the Janus codec (FairPlay) so close to their chest, Apple is not only bringing about their eventual demise in the media market, but also everyone else as well.” Agree or not, interesting reading.