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

“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,


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