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Microsoft's mangled music manifesto

Oh Microsoft. Contrary to how it may sometimes seem, I do not hate you.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Oh Microsoft. Contrary to how it may sometimes seem, I do not hate you. I think you do a lot of good work. Windows 7 is tickling my fancy somewhat. But... then... you say things like... this...

In a stunningly gormless interview with PC Pro, Microsoft UK's mobile chief Hugh Griffiths assumes the unenviable task of defending the company's new mobile music strategy. I say strategy; I mean joke.

Tracks will cost £1.50 each. They will be so DRM-ridden that they will only ever be able to play on the device to which they are downloaded when bought. This, at a time when even Apple has finally cast aside the digirights chains.

Answering a question that I imagine was expressed more as a splutter, Griffiths defends Microsoft's increasingly isolated adherence to DRM as being for "people who just want to listen to the track on their mobile alone".

"They certainly tell us that they like listening to music while they are out and about, on their mobile phones," he says, sounding a little like the middle-aged aunt who insists she's down with the kids. Then comes this corker, in response to the question, "Can you really expect people to buy music that's locked to a device they upgrade every 12 to 18 months?"

"I didn't realise phones were churning that quickly in the marketplace these days."

What, seriously? Do you actually own a mobile phone? Jeez, good job you're not some senior mobile guy within Microsoft. Oh, wait.

Add to that gems such as "At the moment, to be honest with you, we don't have the functionality in-house to provide a mechanism for transferring between mobile phones and PC", and I think we have a pretty good idea where Microsoft is in this whole handheld telephony shindig. Nowhere near where the broader consumer market is, that's for sure.

So, bring on Mobile World Congress, and bring on Stevie B, who's going to tell us everything's OK and Microsoft has finally figured it all out. Right, Steve? You're not just trying to target clueless customers who have more money than sense, right? Steve?

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