zobie's blog I create software, I like music, and I'm mildly(?) OCD.

22Jan/09

Seriously? Microsoft defends return to DRM

When I read "Microsoft defends return to DRM" I honestly thought the article was going to be a parody. As far as I'm concerned there are only two possible outcomes when sticking DRM on music:

  1. Your customers understand DRM and are frustrated because they have to waste time getting around the "protection."
  2. Your customers don't understand DRM and are mad because their music doesn't work the way it should.

But as far as I can tell the article is legit. The answers were given by Hugh Griffiths, Head of Mobile at Microsoft UK. In retrospect he probably wishes that he had referred the interviewer to someone in the PR department.

Most surprisingly, Mr. Griffiths makes absolutely no attempt to spin DRM as being beneficial or to try to justify its use. You might want to read the full article, these are just a few things that jumped out at me.

Why has Microsoft gone back to DRM when the vast majority of music services have ditched it?

It's a first step.

Translation: We've always been extremely forthright about our intentions to gain monopoly power over every aspect of your digital life. This plays a small part in that larger initiative.

[Customers] certainly tell us that they like listening to music while they are out and about, on their mobile phones.

Translation: Everyone listens to music on iPods and we're not making any money from that.

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?

There's a whole bunch of people who are very loyal to MSN on the web...

Translation: Being a monopoly has provided us with a butt-load of customers, most of whom aren't savvy enough to realize that there are options.

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?

We're constantly reviewing our pricing and if we feel this price point is incorrect, we'll look to amend it.

Translation: I just told you, our customers are du-umb! I'm pretty sure that we're going to raise the price to £3.00 after the first couple of weeks. We'll just explain that we need to charge more to cover the cost of... something. Our customers genuinely appreciate the opportunity to pay a premium.

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?

Well, I think you know the answer to that.

Translation: Yeah, we're screwing our customers. So what? I buy all my music from Amazon so it really doesn't affect me.

Seriously Microsoft? Seriously?