September 6, 2004 | By Fred von Lohmann

MSFT About-Face on "Freedom of Music Choice"

As we reported last week, Microsoft's new music download store, MSN Music, advised its frustrated iPod-toting customers to simply burn their purchases to CD, then rip them to an open format like MP3. That way, they could play their MSN Music downloads on their iPod (or any other device) without having to worry about the incompatibilities created by Microsoft's platform-specific DRM restrictions.

Of course, that was too good to last. According to Salon, senior Microsoft honchos decided to have that bit of tech support advice pulled off the website.

I don't know whether Microsoft did it under pressure from the record labels, or out of a desire to maximize platform lock-in, but I do know it wasn't to benefit Microsoft's customers, the people actually expected to be paying for the MSN Music downloads. Chalk this up as another anti-competitive, anti-consumer use of DRM.

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