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Media companies aim to kill the PC

Scott Wasson
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You knew it was coming. Sharp-eyed TR reader Rand sent in a link to this story at the Register about the ongoing, behind-the-scenes effort by media companies to essentially kill the desktop PC as we know it. Media moguls know full well a modern PC can process, transmit, and modify anything from a three-minute song to a full-length feature film in DVD format. Why not eliminate the threat by posioning the water in the PC market?

The Reg reprints correspondence from a member of a key standards committee overseeing digital copy control mechanisms in PC storage devices:

Basically your “general purpose personal computer”, aka “home computer”, is history. This should not surprise anyone since Microsoft has done everything in its power to convert the home computer into an Internet appliance. And Intel still thinks it can convert home computer into the central house and consumer electronics “control center”. But I think both Intel and Microsoft will find they can’t fight the entertainment industry either. They too will end up doing anything so they can continue to sell hardware and software to the “home computer” market. But we probably should start talking about
the “computer enhanced consumer electronics” market.

If this guy’s vision becomes reality over the next 12-24 months, I’ll say “forget it” and jump to Linux, where we can modify the OS and program code to avoid this mess. But then I think he’s being alarmist here. The PC market has more depth and strength than he thinks. Just ask Intel how easy it is to force a standard like RDRAM on us when Via’s there to pick up the slack. MS, IBM, and Intel can all take a flying leap over this stuff, and we’ll be fine.

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