Down Right Mean

There's little doubt that Microsoft has made great inroads in getting its digital rights management supported by the content industry, but recent moves throw into question exactly what the chaps in Redmond are up to.

First of all Wm DRM was cracked and cracked again; then Microsoft's iPod competitor Zune turned out to have its own DRM. Then Bill Gates announced that DRM was a bad idea and that people were better off buying CD-ROMs. Finally there's the growing controversy over the DRM built into Windows's new Vista operating system which means that the quality of the video can be downgraded - allegedly this is just for the new HD format DVDs.

I'm at a loss to explain what all of this means, but it is fuelling the growing rejection of digital rights management by the marketplace outside of 'closed wall' systems such as iTunes.