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Mars Report:

Windows Vista Set To Poison HD Video?

Published December 25th, 2006
A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection This is a very disturbing analysis of the underlying---and largely hidden from discussion thus far---content protection system for "premium content" from Blu-Ray and HD-DVD sources. The author argues that Microsoft's scheme will end up raising costs for everyone, even those who use Linux and Mac OS X, because it will drive up costs for HD content and players. Not only that, but it will effectively grant Microsoft a monopoly on HD content distribution since the HD content providers will be forced to adhere to Vista's system.

The "executive executive summary" of the study is "The Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history." My only question is, who will be killed in the end? I don't get the impression that the author thinks it will be Microsoft. Nor does he think this future is avoidable if Microsoft's desktop monopoly were reduced, either as a whole, or for just the Vista portion if Windows users refuse to upgrade.

It's also a shame that he thinks there's a parallel between Apple's success with iTunes/iPod and Microsoft's desktop monopoly. I totally reject any such comparison, since Apple's success was achieved against all odds and on the merit of its products and services, whereas Microsoft's monopoly was achieved largely by the fortunate accident of riding on IBM's coattails, as IBM's mainframe and typewriter monopoly was essentially transferred to Microsoft on corporate desktops. The merits of Microsoft's products had virtually nothing to do with it... nor were consumers ever really given a choice, since their employers ended up dictating their choice of a home computer.

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