Friday, August 27, 2004

A MOTLEY FOOL INDEED: There's a near-hysterical piece on Motley Fool which stands as an interesting reminder of the sort of people record companies are ultimately working for: men in brightly coloured blazers shouting on stock exchange floors. The Fool is outraged that the EU has the temerity to be worried that if Microsoft is allowed to swallow Contentguard and its DRM technology, it might wind up dominating the market. The Fool waves its bladder on a stick and suggests that this is ridiculous - isn't Apple the leader in DRM anyway? Isn't this punishing Microsoft for something it might do?

The trouble is, of course, they're seeing DRM as if it was a distinct thing, like a type of lawnmower or a flavour of fizzy drink, totally disconected from any other product. Instead, of course, it's a part of a wider product, and, since Microsoft currently control the Operating System market, still throttle the browser market and are attempting to dominate the media player market, it's salutary for the EU to get involved before the problem develops. Surely it makes sense for the regulators to act before Miscorsoft are again allowed to build up a monopoly and squeeze competitors totally out the market. As the people who control the desktops, Microsoft have to be treated differently, especially as they've been proven time and time again to be untrustworthy - or, rather, very Trust-worthy.

Fool says the EU's early intervention is akin to the arrest of people for crimes they would commit in the future, a la Minority Report, but it isnt. It's more the equivalent of having a past offender signing some sort of register, so when they try to get in a position where it might re-offend, the risk is flagged up. I love being a European.

[Thanks to Jana K for the link]

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