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The Register: Welcome to .NET - how MS plans to dominate digital music sales

Feb 17, 2001, 17:32 (18 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Lettice)

"Once upon a time Microsoft discovered the Internet, and the browser wars ensued. More recently it's become apparent that the company sees music sales as the Next Big Thing, but so far, the extent, intricacy and all-encompassing nature of its plans for Digital Rights Management and secure content distribution haven't been widely grasped. When they are, the browser wars may look like a sideshow."

"Essentially, there are three major components to the plan. First, the ubiquitous platform - Windows Media Player is reprising Internet Explorer as an integrated part of the OS, so it will become the client of choice manque, and the associated technologies will become the standard technologies. Second, there's the music business. Presented with a near-universal (one might muse that Apple can expect another visit on the subject of MS Office shortly) platform and associated protection mechanisms, the record companies can surely be induced to adopt it. Especially if they still can't figure out an alternative mechanism for stopping their revenues escaping via the Net."

"Finally, there's the matter of securing the data itself. Get all of these steps right, ubquitous platform, near-universal adoption by the people who actually produce the data, and bullet-proof security, and Microsoft has a goldmine on its hands. And the mechanisms themselves can and will be applied to .NET, where - as Microsoft was saying just the other day - "the protection of digital content must accompany the facilitation of Internet services." It's surely no coincidence that the guy who's been closest to content, consumer group head Rick Belluzo, has just been kicked upstairs to COO. It's content, and controlling it, right?"

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