Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Empire tightens its grip

You have to admire the balls that Microsoft has when it makes a statement like this:
"We don't want this technology to be available to every hobbyist. We need to keep the number of licensees down to a manageable number. We charge a license fee to keep the number of people we have to deal with down to a level we can handle."
What is Amir Majidimehr, Corporate VP at Microsoft's Windows Digital Media Division, talking about? Microsoft's version of Digital Rights Management.

It's interesting how history repeats itself. High licensing and developer fees were what caused the Unix vendors to falter and fail in the late 80s, because Microsoft was standing right there offering the same essential functionality with nearly zero cost of entry compared to Unix. The high cost of developing for the Microsoft environment has reached levels only seen in the heyday of Unix. It's a tax on innovation, a tax that many can't afford to pay. Right now Linux stands on the side lines offering the same essential functionality with nearly zero cost of entry, and that won't change. The only thing stopping Linux from truly taking off is the ongoing furious FUD fight in the SCOG vs IBM lawsuit, in which Microsoft has, at least indirectly, helped finance.

If we let Microsoft monopolize content control and delivery to the same extent they have the desktop, then we'll pay ever higher fees for everything from listening to music to watching movies. And in the process provide yet another cash platform for Microsoft to use in its attacks on other emerging technologies and future markets. How does it feel to be paying for the chains that limit your freedoms?

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