DRM – Microsoft hedges its bets

So Microsoft announced that they have new and shiny DRM tools for mobile phones and O2, Telefonica, at&t & Bouguyes lined up support. New features:

  • supports non-MS codec like AAC, H.264
  • supports other types of content like games & pictures

This is interesting from a number of angles:

  • recent debate about DRM after Steve Jobs’ post about DRM
  • Microsoft offering tools to the mobile industry independent of the Windows Mobile. Music playback is becoming a checklist feature for most mobile phones and their numbers dward total iPod shipments any day.
  • Zune – what if it fails and/or perhaps music on mobiles become a bigger thing

Net-net it keeps Microsoft in the game and this is an interesting bet that music and other content on mobiles will become even bigger than it already is. Pretty significant operator support as well which likely means that these operators will support this technology.

The challenge as with all things DRM is making the DRM invisible. That is something that Jobs brought up but that I don’t think is really possible unless a standard emerges and everyone uses it. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will happen and even if it did, making it completely transparent to consumers is even more daunting.


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