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Bill Gates: DRM 'causes pain' for users

updated 06:35 pm EST, Fri December 15, 2006

Gates: DRM 'causes pain'

Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has said that he objects to current applications of digital rights management (DRM). The comment comes in spite of Microsoft's inclusion of DRM measures in the Zune and Windows Vista, however. Speaking at the Microsoft campus, Gates recently told a bloggers' convention that DRM restrictions "cause too much pain for legitimate users," hampering devices with arbitrary limits, and imposing usage rights that might not be understood. Gates further noted that he would rather consumers buy and rip music CDs for the time being, though he does believe that alternate business models are possible -- one suggestion was paying for unlimited access to an artist's songs, according to Electronista.

by MacNN Staff




  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Gates doesn't get it

    What a fool. People prefer downloads to CDs because of the added value of DRM. I'll show him; I'll never buy any more M$ music CDs.

  1. lockhartt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    of course he says that...

    No one is buying Zune and its DRM, so recommending that folks buy their music on CD only has the potential of hurting the competition (i.e. mostly Apple).

  1. smitch

    Joined: Dec 1969


    if DRM causes pain...

    ...why don't they take it out of Windows Vista?

    What's good for the goose would be better for the gander I mean!

  1. migs647

    Joined: Dec 1969


    For once, I agree!

    I think music models as they are now are a little screwed up. I for one WILL NEVER BUY digital music with current restrictions again! The quality is poorer than cd, backing it up is difficult, and validation is obviously messed up.

    I have had to validate the SAME SONG on the SAME COMPUTER 3 times. I purchased a Mitch Hedberg cd. Harddrive died 8 days later, and apple would not let me redownload the SAME album that I had paid for.

    There have been a number of times where if I didn't OWN the CD I would have lost my digital music forever. For some people this works, but for me it doesn't. I imagine this only getting worse with the video.

    I could burn them to cd as soon as I get them, but the quality would be MUCH MUCH worse than cd

  1. darkelf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    go bill

    can't be anything but good when Allchin talks about buying a mac, can't be anything but good when Gates talks about DRM sucking.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dear Santa

    I don't want anything for Christmas, but what I do want is that you grant a wish in 2007: Please let Windows OS X... er, Vista be a huge bomb, and please let millions of PC users decide that it's a good time to switch to a Mac.

  1. dsteinman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Let me see..

    I buy a couple of songs on iTunes for $1.98, or I pay $16 for a CD with the same two songs plus a bunch of bad filler songs.. Where's the pain Bill ? I'll take Apple's DRM thank you very much..

  1. durian

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I only buy from eMusic. No DRM and lots of great gems. Otherwise, I buy music CDs.

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good comments

    I agree that Bill sees he is not making money off the DRM downloads and he sees it is also one of a myriad of factors in bad zune sales (although he's putting a bit too much weight on it).

    If he really means to be sympathetic about causing trouble for users, he wouldn't allow Windows to be so restrictive that it often keeps legitimate users from using it!

    To add to intelligent comments made by some, this is a first in the many fingers to be pointed regarding bad zune sales. Once again, I give credit to Dell for admitting defeat in the music player market. This is something MS will never do. They will spend billions pushing this and will find some twisted way to call it successful or sweep in under the rug.

    An example of each... Xbox lost money for the longest time. It is finally making money and I'll bet they call it successful, even though it likely isn't close to making back the money it cost.

    An example of sweeping under the rug... remember how MS Movie Maker was going to be the best movie making experience and kill iMovie? what happened to that? Sweep, sweep...

    Which way will the zune go? $$, $$, sweep, sweep...

  1. chadpengar

    Joined: Dec 1969



    considering Windows has restrictive DRM built in and microsoft pushes Windows Media as the ideal DRM solution to studios. And that Vista has even worse DRM built in and they have strange and hard to understand licenses and multiple versions that confuse the customers. And strange arbitrary license restrictions such as not running most versions of Vista inside a VM solution hosted on Vista (yes, that is what the license actually says, M$ protestations not withstanding). Bill talks out both sides of his mouth.

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