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Microsoft Roundup: New DRM Crack; Ask.com Partnership; Search Gains

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Amongst a mixed bag of Microsoft news, the Redmond, Wash. company is facing another DRM attack. The new version of software that cracks DRM on Microsoft’s WMA audio and WMV video files reportedly also breaks the locks on the BBC’s forthcoming iPlayer content. Microsoft had made modifications to tackle two previous versions of FairUse4M and it is pledging further dynamic software updates will again render the cracker useless.

A BBC statement (via ZDNet) says the release “won’t delay the launch of BBC iPlayer” and invoked respect for program producers: “Their future depends on distributing it outside the seven-day rights window. We will, of course, be taking what steps we can to make sure that the rights arrangements we have agreed with talent are respected.” The forthcoming internet TV catch-up software is a version of Kontiki software that depends on Windows DRM to comply with independent program-makers’ licenses.

Ask.com: A curious deal with Ask.com encourages users of its Office Live adManager to place search advertising ads using the upstart search engine. Although Ask.com rivals Microsoft on search and ads, users of the beta adManager offering are now being shown how to purchase Ask.com sponsored listings. The platform also allows customers to place such listings via an interface to Microsoft’s own adCenter search marketing, platform, however. (Release).

Search gains: A crafty collection of web-based games has apparently helped the company grow its share of the search engine market to 13 percent from 10 percent at the start of the year, FT reports. The word games at Live Search Club, which were developed by the search marketing team, depend on players carrying out Microsoft Live search queries to find answers.