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October 05, 2004

Steve Ballmer pontificates on convergence and DRM

Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer discussed his views on convergence technology and DRM technology in a press briefing in London.

There isn't much newsworthy about his comments but it's pretty clear the MS strategy is to use the DRM (digital rights management) technology they've created to build partnerships with the RIAA (music) and MPAA (movies) and then leverage this technology and partnerships to become the standard on devices. Having standards help consumers by allowing devices to play together nicely, and having a MS license on each device would be nice from Microsoft's perspective as well.

There are some problems with both the demand and supply side of that strategy. On the demand side, if the restrictions are too great, people will bypass it to fulfill their needs via some sort of open standard. Consumer electronics is a difficult market and companies look to provide niches, and likely, there will be providers who will provide products that support the open standard.

On the supply side, some partners like the MPAA are more willing to partner with Microsoft, but there are other large players that are unlikely to want to play ball like satellite and cable operators who view Microsoft as a threat. Those guys might be just as likely to throw their weight behind behind a different standard, or partner with some company that isn't as threatening like Apple.

(Hat Tip: eHomeUpgrade)

Posted on October 05, 2004

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