Good Microsoft wins one

Good Microsoft wins one

Summary: Back in April, I contrasted Good Microsoft, which released its Live Mesh service for public consumption, with Bad Microsoft, which decided to pull the plug on its MSN Music customers who had purchased DRM-protected music files from its store. It took a couple months, but it looks like Good Microsoft won that battle after a lengthy internal debate.

TOPICS: Security, Microsoft

Back in April, I contrasted Good Microsoft, which released its Live Mesh service for public consumption, with Bad Microsoft, which decided to pull the plug on its MSN Music customers who had purchased DRM-protected music files from its store.

It took a couple months, but it looks like Good Microsoft won that battle after a lengthy internal debate. Ars Technica reports:

Thankfully, it appears as if Microsoft heard the outcries of its users and decided to do something about it. "After careful consideration, Microsoft has decided to continue to support the authorization of new computers and devices, and delivery of new license keys for MSN Music customers through at least the end of 2011," the company said in its e-mail (the authenticity of which has been confirmed by a Microsoft spokesperson). "This means you will continue to be able to listen to your purchased music and transfer your music to new PCs and devices beyond the previously announced August 31, 2008 date."

Better late than never, I guess. And meanwhile, the Live Mesh folks continue to push out updates. The most recent Live Mesh update allows the client software to work on Vista systems that have UAC disabled. I've been impressed by the performance and stability of Live Mesh, which has quickly become an essential part of my working setup. More on that later.

Topics: Security, Microsoft

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  • A more economical solution?

    Just the maintenance part of this program will cost a lot of money, such as it already has. Maybe you (with your network of contacts) should convince them it might be more economical, free up resources and maybe in PR if they did the following?

    1) Offer to replace any applicable song from Amazon where they exist (I suspect Amazon would be willing to volume discount)
    2) Teach users how to remove DRM themselves using CD burners, offer a free 20 pack of CDs from Best Buyt via coupon.
    3) Take a week, remove the DRM from all their catalog on their servers, allow old customers to log in and replace their content with DRM free versions. (Tell the RIAA to go p*ss up a rope, they got MS into this mess in the first place).

    • Economy drive

      The problem with offending the RIAA is that the organization's members control not just music but access to other content. Microsoft makes money from content and from the RIAA companies' willingness to purchase other products from Microsoft.

      Then there's Microsoft's ultimate goal, wma to replace mp3 and wmv to be the default for video.

      Microsoft lost on the HD format choice because of Sony's willingness to buy success. Ingratiating is probably important now.
      Anton Philidor
      • I think MS knows that ship has sailed.

        It is way too late to replace MP3s with WMA files. MS gave it a good go as the default, but Apple got in the way, and every player in existence today universally supports MP3. In the HD video market, I don't see MS as being a player (nobody is a player right now) so there really is no point in throwing good money after bad to keep the RIAA happy. Especially now that most everything for sale is DRM free now anyway. A couple of years ago, I would have said you were completely right.

    • *GASP!!* HORRORS TripleII !!

      You're suggesting that [b]Microsoft work WITH a company THEY [i]DON'T[/i] OWN[/b] (Amazon) ????!!!!!

      You're suggesting that Microsoft describe a way for users to [b]END RUN PRECIOUS DIGITAL RIGHTS OF RICH MEDIA COMPANIES[/b] ?????

      You're suggesting [b]Microsoft allow its users to do [i]anything[/i] for [i]FREE[/i][/b] ?????

      My Gawd, man! Keep that up and MonkeyFatBoy Stevie will be calling YOU a communist just like he calls ALL open source people!

      (BTW, this box did an automatic Windows update and reboot when I was about halfway through this post. FireFox 3 allowed me to save the tabs before it quit, and when I launched it after the reboot, it brought me right back to where I was ... I hadn't lost anything that I already had typed in but hadn't yet posted. How's THAT for a great feature!)
      • Good one!

        I was jsut suggesting that allowing it's users (old users) to get the content free might cost less than continuing the key service, etc. It isn't like this problem can ever really go away until/unless MS finds a way to replace the DRM infected copy with non infected.

        This should be a lesson to those who implement DRM.

      • The update obviously failed

        One of the DLL's was supposed to screw firefox up.
      • RE: *GASP!!* Horrors TripleII!!

        There is a word winding its way around the halls of Micro$oft for people who espouse such values.

        It is:


        as an alternative:

    • They're not going to removing any DRM...

      ...or advising anyone on how to do so. From all appearances, Steve Ballmer is firmly committed to DRM and will do nothing that calls it into question. Expect very heavy furniture to be thrown at any MS insider that suggests it as long as Ballmer remains in charge.
      John L. Ries
      • Look a little closer

        The Zune Music Store (the only one Microsoft operates now) sells tracks in MP3 format for any artist or label that allows it. That's an ever-increasing percentage.

        DRM exists because some record labels insist on it. To try to blame it on Steve Ballmer is just plain blind Microsoft-bashing.
        Ed Bott
        • I stand partially corrected

          I still think that part of the reason why MS backtracked on the MSN-Music issue was to keep from giving credence to the single most compelling argument against DRM.

          I was giving my honest assessment of the situation, rather than trying to bash Ballmer or MS. I don't like either one, but that's really beside the point. I think you've seen enough of my posts to know that I'll give MS credit when I think they deserve it and side with them when I think they're in the right. I just wish it happened more often.
          John L. Ries
  • Good cop vs. Bad Cop...

    No one except <80 IQ criminals falls for the Good Cop vs.
    Bad Cop routine.

    MSFT has angered so many for so long, so intensely that it is
    doing this for simple business reasons: it does not want to
    alienate yet another group of (soon to be former?) users.

    One ought better to assume that Redmond was simply
    looking out for Redmond not some fanciful good cop/bad
    cop story.
    Jeremy W
  • What a tangled web MS weaves

    Another day, another MS joke. This time the giants past
    music strategy in tatters.

    Where does all that R&D funding go, USD8 billion a year;-)

    Where are the MS fanboys that a few years were saying MS
    was going to give Apple a hiding. Wait guess they're now

    Well done MS.

    BTW Thanks MS Reps for the Sharepoint presentation the
    other day. The joke that is your integrated search still has
    me laughing.
    Richard Flude
    • Sharepoint integrated search

      YOU WILL use MS search. YOU WILL pay for it. WE WILL use that money to "pay" people to use our search. WE WILL use your money to KILL Google. THERE WILL be no competition.
  • No such thing as "Good Microsoft"

    Nice try though Ed.
    • Large corporations can be very complex

      I'm not sure I buy the Jekyll and Hyde hypothesis either, but all kinds of ideas float around any large corporation and the left hand doesn't always know what the right hand does. It's also the case that companies do the right things out of naked self-interest, which is what I think happened here: MS cannot afford to be seen as less than absolutely committed to DRM or as doing anything that calls it into question or deters the sale of DRM-protected materials.
      John L. Ries
  • For what should it profit a corporation?

    If they win a battle, BUT LOSE THE WAR!

    Answer: Many loyal losers (and lots of loot hidden away).
    Ole Man
  • Google doesn't have paid search?

  • RE: Good Microsoft wins one

    We should see a lot of this "good" side to MS now that Ray Ozzie is on the team - new people bring a new approach to old issues.

    I would be very keen to share insights on Live Mesh with you

    as an old time Groove user we have enjoyed most of the benefits of collaboration that Mesh will extend, but not replace. There is much advantage to the P2P LAN aware approach especially when working with large files > 10 MB on a typical internet connectrion.

    I tend to see Mesh as 'Groove in the Cloud"
    ashok hingorani