Microsoft says it will drop DRM, too


— 12:08 AM on April 9, 2007

Barely a week ago, Apple and EMI announced that EMI's music catalog (Beatles excluded) would become available free of digital rights management protection on the iTunes Store next month. Computerworld now quotes Microsoft as saying that it, too, will soon sell DRM-free music—presumably from its Zune Marketplace online music store.

"The EMI announcement on Monday was not exclusive to Apple," said Katy Asher, a Microsoft spokeswoman on the Zune team, in an e-mail to the IDG News Service today. She said Microsoft has been talking with EMI and other record labels "for some time now" about offering unprotected music on its Zune players in an effort to meet the needs of its customers.

"Consumers have made it clear that unprotected music is something they want," Asher said. "We plan on offering it to them as soon as our label partners are comfortable with it."

Interestingly, Computerworld notes that Microsoft responded harshly to Apple CEO Steve Jobs' open letter advocating the death of DRM in February. "A Zune spokesman called [the letter] naive and irresponsible," the site says.
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