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iPod owners very honest, not thieves at all, says MS

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How swiftly thought evolves in the wonderful world of Ballmer! First, iPods are full of "stolen" music, next he forgets what he said, but suggests that it might be anything that isn't a Windows Media Player that's full of stolen music, and now iPod owners turn out to be the most law-abiding people in the world.

We're sure iPod owners will regard being called law-abiding by an exec from a company with Microsoft's legal experience as a high point to end the week on. But, you ask, how the blazes did we get to this one? We have Ged Carrol's blog to thank. Mightily offended by Ballmer's original comments, Ged used the feedback system at microsoft.com to demand an apology, and he got one. The possibility of feedback systems of this ilk actually working had never occurred to The Register, so we've never bothered trying, but if you want your very own grovel, insert your outraged howls here.

The grovel itself is particularly interesting because of the way you can feel the truth shifting under your feet as you read it. "We would like to assure you that when Steve Ballmer implied that most of the music on iPods were stolen, he absolutely did not intend to single out iPod owners for criticism. [this implying would be when he whooped "STOLEN! STOLEN! STOLEN!] In fact, given that they have access to their very own - and very popular - online music store, they are likely among the most law-abiding consumers of digital music."

Notice the sneaky bit of dissing there? If you weren't paying attention you might run away with the view that the Apple music store only worked with iPods, and entirely miss the fact that Apple has extremely capable player software in both Mac and Windows formats. But back to the apology. Or maybe the commercial:

"Microsoft Windows Media digital rights management (DRM) is a great way to limit piracy, and the main point Steve was trying to convey was that it requires a coordinated effort among many industry partners to do it right. More information on this platform is found on this page: http://www dot microsoft dot com/windows/windowsmedia/drm/faq.aspx" Get a load of those dots in the URL - what on earth could be going on here?*

It is however impressive how the power of dotnet seems to have described a broad-ranging industry partnership in just the words "STOLEN! STOLEN! STOLEN!" This must be why Steve is so successful and the rest of us are so not. We have however been able to find what appears to be a list of the "many industry partners" engaged in the coordinated effort, and you'll find that here. More details on the kind of players Steve seems to have in mind can be found here.

But we fear our newly honest iPod owners are poised to become arch-criminals again, considering iPods don't actually run any of this stuff. Oh well... ®

* An email from Anonymoose explains: "From the Blog you linked to : 'Note: I put the dots in the MS URL so as not to increase the Google Page Ranking of their 'great way to limit privacy' but still allow those interested to get the web address for their own interest.'

"Reading to the bottom of the page is a wonderful thing ;)" On the Internet? Is that allowed? But thank you anyway, Mr Moose.

Related links

Ged Carroll's Renaissance Chambara blog
Love DRM or my family starves: why Steve Ballmer doesn't Get It

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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