MTV punishes Microsoft for abandoning PlaysForSure

MTV punishes Microsoft for abandoning PlaysForSure

Summary: I'm pretty sure that MTV's decision to dump Urge is a way to punish Microsoft for abandoning PlaysForSure.

TOPICS: Microsoft

I'm pretty sure that MTV's decision to dump Urge is a way to punish Microsoft for abandoning PlaysForSure.

It's hardly surprising that MTV has dumped its 'Urge' music partnership with Microsoft and hooked up with RealNetworks and Verizon. What would you do if you got stabbed in the back?

Paul McDougall goes on to say:

The bigger question is this: How can Microsoft ever again ask partners in the increasingly important online entertainment space to take its promises of ongoing support and compatibility seriously?

This is a very good question. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice ... well, you know the rest. Microsoft's overwhelming desire to create a hardware/software/store symbiotic ecosystem at the expense of its PlaysForSure partners (maybe because the writing was on the wall for the PlaysForSure DRM mechanism).

Microsoft's decision to cut PlaysForSure adrift as far as the Zune was concerned was a silly move, not just from a business perspective but also from a consumer choice point of view too. Microsoft might have been able to get away with this kind of stunt maybe five years ago, and then only if it had the dominance that Apple enjoys with the iPod and iTunes. The Zune was starting from scratch in an already crowded market that was dominated by the iPod. While I'm not particularly thrilled by the iTunes component of the iPod, I wouldn't bother with the Zune even if I was given a stack of them for free. I might change my mind if Rockbox came out with replacement firmware for the Zune, but for now I'm not interested in the least.

Microsoft's decision to abandon PlaysForSure on what seemed like a whim makes me wary of recommending that anyone buy audio and video from it.


Topic: Microsoft

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  • It could be simple economics

    [B]It?s hardly surprising that MTV has dumped its ?Urge? music partnership with Microsoft and hooked up with RealNetworks and Verizon. What would you do if you got stabbed in the back?[/B]

    It could be simple economics, they stand to make more money off the more popular services. They make take a lot of glee in sticking it to MS, but I doubt they would still lose revenue to switch (unless long term they see the revenue upside).

    When at a computer store, I never say a single person stop and look at the shrinking Zune display. It started out as about 20 feet of shelf space, it is down to about 4 feet now. The brown player, what were they thinking?

    I think PFS was always intended to be a stop gap for MS. Something to stifle the iTunes growth until MS's longer term iPod/iTunes killer was available. Even if wildly successful, they would have started working on a way to draw customers away from their partners.

    • Don't underestimate MS.

      MS is famous for not getting things right until version 3.0. Yes the current ZUNE is a loser but it's ver 1.0. MS is also known for hanging in there until they succeed and they have the deep pockets to follow through on that.

      I wouldn't discount the ZUNE just yet.
      • Nope, never do.

        They have so many fronts though. I don't see anything dethroning the iPod ecosystem for a long while though. It doesn't play ogg or operate as a USB mass storage device, so I never even considered it.

      • Why not?

        MS is also famous for getting things wrong even after version 3:
        Tablet PC, Origami, MSN TV (WebTV), MSN Butterfly, MSN Music (shut down), Portable Media Center (shut down), Windows Media Center (has it been a success yet?) Spot etc.
      • They need to move fast though

        hangin in there is not a option. The whole industry can change over night. What popular today can old new the next.
      • "MS is famous for not getting things right until v3.0"

        Still waiting for them to get it right!
        • I was being kind OK?

          And "right" for MS is good enough to squash the competition not necessarily technically right.
  • Trying to catch up with Apple, et al.

    If they used PlaysForSure in the Zune, then you could have used purchased media from sources other than Microsoft. (Yes, I know you can do it anyway with either DRM free or DRM cleaned media files.)

    By cutting loose PFS and going with an entirely different DRM scheme that was used only at the Zune Marketplace, they were apparently trying to use the DRM in the Zune to lock users into using, and only using, the Zune online store.

    Doesn't look like that idea has worked out all that well.
    Hallowed are the Ori
  • Not such a wise strategy (Ballmer!)

    They must have really been frightened by Apple's fast moving dominance; so much so that they lost patients in their 'partners' and PFS. Imagine if they would have stuck it out with PFS and added more partners, Apple's lead would have been diminished somewhat by now. Strength in numbers they say? This was a bonehead move only Ballmer could have made.

    Today the digital music field is changing (slowly) to DRM-Free music. The move to follow Apple with a their own proprietary DRM looks even more foolish. Unless they develop the Zune to be a must have device (i.e. iPod), they will go nowhere.

    Unless another company releases a true killer to the iPod, nothing will affect the iPod+iTunes dominance. There's no money on the 'Digital music software' front currently, which is why we are seeing mergers and closures (URGE). Have any other company boast about how many songs they've sold? It's like a company opening up a new gas station claiming to be in direct competition with Ford. Unless that company have a special car that everyone wants, and works best with that station, it will be no threat to Ford or any other car manufacture. Any other car can pull up to that new gas station and fill their tank.

    It's the hardware stupid!
  • Burning bridges.

    Having a monopoly for so long Microsoft has started to become arrogant. This can be seen in the Enterprise and software assurance. It seems that Microsoft thinks it is such a big player it can afford to burn its bridges. However, sooner or later it will have burnt enough bridges that it will find itself an island.
  • PlaysForSure didn't play for sure anyway

    It sucked the big one! Wny MTV would care one way or another is beyond me. Why would they back a broken horse anyway.
  • I still don't buy music anymore.

    And no, I don't pirate it either. I'm happy with the legal library I have from my CD's thank you very much.

    But I did stop buying any more CD's when DRM hit the stage. Haven't bought one since. Yes, it's been a while. Plays for Sure is a simple example of why I don't EVER buy music online. Difficult to get working? Check! Barely works on its native hardware? Check! RIAA putting another gun to my head telling me what I can and can't do with the music? Hmmm... it's a shotgun so it's a Double Check!

    My one recent venture into online music and DRM failed miserably when I 'won' a track from a CD from my bag of MandM's. The DRM was so hokey and hosed I never did receive the license and deleted the track in frustration. Never again. Ever. And it was microsoft's media player that was giving me the fits too.

    It surprises me that people whine so much about DRM like PlaysForSure then go slathering to the next merchant to get their music fix like a Meth addict. If you don't like the way something's being done, DON'T support them by buying their stuff. In ANY form. Until they change. Let their bottom line be their guide, since it's all that they listen to anyway.

    Microsoft is apparently learning this lesson with PFS, albeit very slowly.