Okay, so you wanna know what I think? I don’t think MSFT is a bad company. Maybe I’m basing that only on my interactions with Scoble and Jim, Linda, Neil and James and others from MSFT that I’ve historically interacted with, but really I think that there’s some decency in there. Thomas told me that of the AGYM companies, MSFT employees seem to be the most open and willing to engage in honest conversations about the failings of their employer. Are there bad apples in the mix (maybe the wrong analogy to use, ehmm)? Of course. Has MSFT been arrogant, closed, anti-standards, proprietary and at times evil? Yeah, probably (though that last part is often in the eye of the beholder). Achieving the ol’ American dream doesn’t come without crushing some toes.
So here’s my beef (and Tara was totally right to push this issue with Jim): when it comes to certain, shall we say, “politically-charged” (and economically-impactful) issues, why doesn’t MSFT shore up on the side of democracy and freedom of information and expression and rally its allies against the intellectual police state? Ok, fine… scrap the hyperbole, here’s what I want: just let us use our media however we damn well please! Eff this DRM bullshit. You know it’s not good for your customers and it’s ultimately not good for your bottom line, either.
O o o wait. Ok. Call my bluff, go ahead. Well, see, I’m not that naive and Tara isn’t either. We know it all comes down to business (as usual).
We know that quote-unquote consumers are only part of your audience — that Hollywood is also one of your most well-endowed customers (I’m talking big feet, here); that they rely on you to lock down and handicap the technology and tools that you build so that they can maintain their stranglehold on eff-you-ectual property.
I git it, I git it. Duh.
But how about this? Who said I ever cared about bidness (as usual)? Now, I’m not down with making threats much (I mean, this is a personal blog, big friggin’ whoop what I have to say here), but it is obvious, at least to me and everyone I know, that you’re fighting a losing battle. I don’t even have to back it up. Time will tell. What the system can’t break down, it will route around. And DRM schemes are being broken so fast that the money you’re spending researching new ones is almost certainly costing you future allies in the Doomsday fight against Hollywood. So you’re losing in both respects: you’re certainly not getting points with your Media Center enthusiasts who just want to be able to play their legally purchased media anywhere and by not making a stand against the DRM that-turns-our-computers-against-us, it’s you that looks bad, even though you’re only pushing Hollywood’s agenda.
Oh, and about blaming it all on Apple and the iPod…. for a minute there you had me going… It did seem to make sense that geez, Apple’s the real offender here, keeping iTunes and the iPod all locked up and proprietary. But then hey, I realized that if your players were decent and you’d won the player war, you’d be doing the exact same thing that you accuse Apple of, which, by the way, is perpetuating their winning streak going and keeping you outta that business (hmm, didn’t you do this with the desktop? what comes around, goes around maybe?).
You can’t just say “well, they’ve found success with the iPod, they’re making boatloads of cash, they’re the ones that should fix the DRM problem and take on Hollywood.” That’s bullshit and now that I’ve thought about it, a bit insulting that you would suggest that MSFT has nothing to do with the problem.
But I’m jess sayin’, yoo kno?
Anyway, I’ve got nothing against you guys personally. That’s the beauty of working for a monolith: your individual actions have much less bite when it comes right down to it. So let’s call this an academic exercise: you all get F’s in my book for sticking up for the little guy and hell, I would’ve suspended Hollywood by now and sent it off for a remedial education in the importance of sharing ones trucks in the sandbox of life… but truly, I’m a peon in the scheme of things; you guys are the ones building your “open” DRM into our tools, into our media and into our computers. You do have the power to make a difference. So, uhm, sorry if I don’t buy your logic that Apple’s all to blame or that the problem is out of your hands. Personally, I can only choose not to buy your DRM’d crap and instead spend my money supporting causes that are working to dismantle the intellectual police state that you’re creating.
Ok, I’m done. Remember that this totally isn’t personal — hey, I like you guys — it’s just your and Hollywood’s big picture I ain’t too fond of! Kbai.