MICROSOFT JUST SCREWED its music customers. In doing so, it proved what we have said all along, if you buy DRM'd anything, you are an idiot, Piracy is the Better Choice(R)(TM)(C).
The firm has arbitrarily decided that all the music you bought from it is now worthless because it can't be bothered to live up to its end of the bargain. It goes something like this, MS came up with a DRM infection and attached it to its music downloads. When the Zune came out, it decided it wanted a bigger piece of the pie, so it cut out all its partners.
The new toy, the Zune has a completely different DRM infection making any of the things you bought from Microsoft saddled by the old way incompatible with the new way. All the partners that made devices compatible with the old way, and all of the people who bought infected music, well, MS has your money, so you're dumped.
This was about a year and a half ago. Today, MS is saying that come August 31, a week or four shy of the two-year anniversary of the night of long knives, you will not be able to re-authorise your music. That means that the music is yours to keep. On one PC. As long as it doesn't crash. Or you don't update your OS. Or something doesn't just decide to stop the music playing. If you do any of these things, you just lost your music permanently.
Basically, MS is stealing from you. It has your money, but you can't have access the services you bought any more. So they are stopping, and legally, you are screwed. Microsoft has got your money though.
We have been saying for years that ANY sort of DRM is unacceptable, and this goes to show you exactly what we mean. Anyone who bought music from MS just got screwed, period, without recourse. It also proves what we have said for almost the same amount of time, Piracy is the Better Choice (R)(TM)(C).
MS has once again proven that if you steal the music, legality aside, you get a better product. Legally purchased music is demonstrably worse than pirated music. There has never been a case that I am aware of of a pirated copy deciding not to play any more because someone in Redmond decided it was inconvenient. You just get a better product, cheaper too, but also illegal.
MS laughing at customers is only part of the problem though. Think about this. You know about the activation in XP and office, along with the malware called MS Genuine Advantage? You know, the stuff that you have to call in or it cripples your paid for and legal software in the name of catching pirates.
It is laughably easy to get around, even in Vista, but it makes things very hard or impossible for people like me who want to stay legal. Basically if you pay, you are hurt, if you pirate, you avoid the hassle, making Piracy the Better Choice (R)(TM)(C) once again.
Back to the point, what do you think will happen to those XP installs once MS decides they are inconvenient? I'll bet you didn't think about that one, that your OS can go away if MS wants it to, remotely, and without you being able to do anything about it. Read the fine print and weep.
It used to be the case that once activated, you were fine, but the WGA malware changed that, and SP3 looks to change it more. With the Broken OS, the malware and spyware is built in, and clings tenaciously to your rights like a blood sucking tick. If you don't phone home every 90 or so days, it helpfully turns off for you. Like Beijing during the Olympics, you may have bought a condo with a beautiful vista, but as soon as the eyes of the world are off and money intervenes, the smog comes back and your vista is gone.
MS has demonstrated that your rights and purchases are secondary to its cash flow. Now the firm has unashamedly screwed everyone, partners and customers, who touched their DRM infected music schemes. And the people just bent over and smiled. They inflicted spyware on paying XP customers, and are only a watchful eye away from shutting you down.
With the Broken OS, they upped the ante on the backs of the legit customers. More than anything else, that is a reason to avoid it like the plague. If you buy anything with a DRM infection, you are a fool. If you buy any MS product with a DRM infection, you are a fool that has been warned many times.
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