Microsoft Research DRM talk


Cory Doctorow, one of our fav sci-fi authors amongst other things spoke at Microsoft's Research Group and other interested parties from within the company at their Redmond offices on June 17, 2004. The talk was all about DRM (Digital Rights Management).

Full text here. It's a great read…

Cory really nails the current state of Sony..

...But then Sony acquired a relatively tiny entertainment company and it started to massively screw up. When MP3 rolled around and Sony's walkman customers were clamoring for a solid-state MP3 player, Sony let its music business-unit run its show: instead of making a high-capacity MP3 walkman, Sony shipped its Music Clips, low-capacity devices that played brain-damaged DRM formats like Real and OpenAG. They spent good money engineering "features" into these devices that kept their customers from freely moving their music back and forth between their devices. Customers stayed away in droves.

Today, Sony is dead in the water when it comes to walkmen. The market leaders are poky Singaporean outfits like Creative Labs —the kind of company that Sony used to crush like a bug, back before it got borged by its entertainment unit — and PC companies like Apple.

That's because Sony shipped a product that there was no market demand for. No Sony customer woke up one morning and said, "Damn, I wish Sony would devote some expensive engineering effort in order that I may do less with my music." Presented with an alternative, Sony's customers enthusiastically jumped ship.

We've talked about a lot of the topics he mentions with some of our articles and how-tos, so it's good to hear someone like Cory banging this drum.

Ya know, Microsoft Research is like the uber cool kids at Microsoft that are always doing things but all the people we know at Microsoft rarely have any idea what they're up to. Maybe they'd do a blog, getting someone like Cory in front of a lot of MS peeps sounds like a good idea to us.