DRM has "huge problems" according to Gates

Microsoft recently held a get together for a small group of high-profile bloggers ahead of the Mix Conference. The bloggers has full access to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates in an hour-long Q&A session and were able to fire off any question under the sun that they wanted to ask.

With Microsoft's 30GB Zune player having been recently released to go head-to-head with Apple's ever-dominant iPod, a topic of discussion pointed towards Digital Rights Management (DRM). Surprisingly, Gates was quite frank on the situation and expressed his disappointment in the overall situation with DRM.

According to Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, Gates noted that DRM "causes too much pain for legitimate buyers" and overall is not an effective solution. He went on to say that "DRM is not where it should be, but you won’t get me to say that there should be usage models and different payment models for usage. At the end of the day, incentive systems do make a difference, but we don’t have it right with incentives or interoperability."

There’s also an overall disillusionment with consumers in regards to DRM media files. Music files purchased on iTunes can't be used on Windows Media “PlaysForSure” devices like the SanDisk's Sansa players or Creative's Zen lineup. Even more shocking to the system is that PlaysForSure music files and services won't work with Microsoft's own Zune players. Instead, Zune users have to purchase their content from Zune Marketplace.

When it comes to music files, Bill Gates simply had this to say in summary; “People should just buy a CD and rip it. You are legal then.”

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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