August 30, 2005

Gambling That Monopoly & Inertia Win Out [12:00 pm]

Will the customer swallow DRM and easy access to Hollywood in exchange for being under the thumb of the OS? Is Microsoft really guessing that the era of the personal, general-purpose computer is already over? Or is this a trial balloon to get the backlash that MS needs to get Hollywood to back off? Hollywood, Microsoft align on new Windows

For the first time, the Windows operating system will wall off some audio and video processes almost completely from users and outside programmers, in hopes of making them harder for hackers to reach. The company is establishing digital security checks that could even shut off a computer’s connections to some monitors or televisions if antipiracy procedures that stop high-quality video copying aren’t in place.

In short, the company is bending over backward–and investing considerable technological resources–to make sure Hollywood studios are happy with the next version of Windows, which is expected to ship on new PCs by late 2006. Microsoft believes it has to make nice with the entertainment industry if the PC is going to form the center of new digital home networks, which could allow such new features as streaming high-definition movies around the home.

[...] “There is a concern that there is a tendency to lock down parts of the design to protect the flanks of the copy-protection system,” said Princeton University computer science professor Edward Felten, who has been an outspoken critic of rigid copy-protection rules. “That makes it harder for everyone, including Microsoft, to adapt to new uses.”

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