Feeds

Europe pauses Microsoft DRM probe

Ponders options as ContentGuard gains third owner

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The European Commission has halted its investigation into Microsoft's attempt to control DRM software company ContentGuard after it emerged that Thomson is also to take a share in the anti-piracy technology provider.

Thomson's purchase was announced last week. It is to buy 33 per cent of ContentGuard, until now owned almost 50:50 by Microsoft and Time Warner after they, in turn, bought it off Xerox in April. The Thomson deal allows the European company to name two ContentGuard board members.

Microsoft's decision to take a stake in ContentGuard prompted the EC to look into the deal, leading to a formal investigation being initiated in August. The EC takes a close interest in technologies such as DRM, which it believes could be used to exert undue influence on the developing digital content download market.

At this stage its not entirely clear why that probe has been suspended. "There is information still missing, so we stopped the clock for the moment,'' an antitrust spokesman told the Associated Press. Presumably, the EC needs time to ponder the impact of the Thomson deal on its investigation, though the spokesman would not confirm what effect the French consumer electronics firm's move might have.

ContentGuard's technology, Extensible Rights Markup Language (XrML), is an XML-derived scheme for content protection that its developer is pitching as a possible basis for a standard DRM system. Its technology has already been adopted by Microsoft as a component of its own DRM system. Sony is the company's other key signing - the Japanese giant licensed ContentGuard's technology in December 2002. ®

Related stories

Thomson takes 33% stake in MS-backed DRM developer
EC objects to MS - Time Warner ContentGuard takeover
EC launches Microsoft DRM probe
EC mulls MS DRM monopoly trawl
Time Warner invests in ContentGuard
Digital music download coin-op to offer 'all formats, all DRMs'
EMI looks to digital as download sales quadruple
France rules Apple's DRM denial not anti-competition

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.