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Old 25-Apr-2012, 15:07   #1
Shifty Geezer
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Default Microsoft's content platform and business strategy

This warrants a thread seeing as MS are matching Sony toe-to-toe, at least regards music.

MS to preview Zune replacement, cross-platform music service at E3.

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Microsoft will offer a sneak peak at its Zune replacement during E3 2012, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. The new music service, codenamed Woodstock, will continue Microsoft's shift away from the Zune brand towards the well known Xbox one. Insiders have revealed to us that Woodstock will be a cross-platform play, available to Windows 8, Android, iOS, and Xbox users playable from a browser
This is their direct competitor to Music Unlimited. Do they have anything in the works to rival Video Unlimited?
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Old 25-Apr-2012, 16:36   #2
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Last I heard (a few months back), Zune was the largest digital marketplace for music and videos second only to iTunes.

I don't think they're competing with Sony here, Shifty. They're competing with Apple.
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Old 25-Apr-2012, 17:32   #3
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Originally Posted by RancidLunchmeat View Post
I don't think they're competing with Sony here, Shifty. They're competing with Apple.
It could be argued that by transitioning to a multi-platform service, Microsoft's content services are competing with Sony to be the Itunes-equivalent for non-Apple platforms.
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Old 25-Apr-2012, 17:56   #4
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Now they just have to support sharing playlists on all the devices I use. I really like the all you can eat Zune Music Pass that they've had for a while now, but the only reason I don't use it and use Spotify instead is because you make a playlist on one computer, and it won't appear on another computer which is too limiting. Once they fix that I'll switch back.
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Old 25-Apr-2012, 19:08   #5
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Originally Posted by RancidLunchmeat View Post
Last I heard (a few months back), Zune was the largest digital marketplace for music and videos second only to iTunes.
In the US maybe, but it's not available anywhere else.

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I don't think they're competing with Sony here, Shifty. They're competing with Apple.
Apple isn't cross-platform. Sony and MS are both going to be serving up the same content across device. Up to now, I would never have considered buying into the MS ecosystem because you'd have to have Windows flavours of tablets and phones to have access. This move changes that, and MS are just as valid (assuming video follows suit).
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Old 26-Apr-2012, 00:55   #6
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Originally Posted by Shifty Geezer View Post
In the US maybe, but it's not available anywhere else.


Apple isn't cross-platform. Sony and MS are both going to be serving up the same content across device. Up to now, I would never have considered buying into the MS ecosystem because you'd have to have Windows flavours of tablets and phones to have access. This move changes that, and MS are just as valid (assuming video follows suit).
Eh? What is iTunes for windows then?

You're telling me I can't download iTunes and then watch the movies I bought or listen to the music I paid for on my PC?
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Old 26-Apr-2012, 04:10   #7
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Eh? What is iTunes for windows then?

You're telling me I can't download iTunes and then watch the movies I bought or listen to the music I paid for on my PC?
I think he means that you can't use it on Anrdoid and other devices (Blackberry, etc).
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Old 26-Apr-2012, 09:47   #8
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I think he means that you can't use it on Anrdoid and other devices (Blackberry, etc).
Exactly. The ideal content platform will run on all your devices no matter what OS, rather than just a few. This media move by MS will see MS content running on almost everything you could buy. As it's web based, it might even run on PlayStation, although not on PS3 as its browser would be too crappy, I'm sure.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 07:46   #9
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Exactly. The ideal content platform will run on all your devices no matter what OS, rather than just a few. This media move by MS will see MS content running on almost everything you could buy. As it's web based, it might even run on PlayStation, although not on PS3 as its browser would be too crappy, I'm sure.
Nope. Content platforms based around DRM will never be ideal. The moment a content platform falls out of favor with consumers or content owners is the moment you will start to see newly launched devices that dont support your content platform of choice.

DRM removal tools are the key and already allow things like making itunes movies playable on android devices.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 13:51   #10
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The fact that Apple has stuck with aac, DRM'ed or not, is the reason why Amazon does a decent business with their mp3 music sales. That's why I get all my music from them, these days.

I do buy DRM'ed books for the Kindle app from them, but I'd be much happier if they went to epub and dropped the DRM.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 17:20   #11
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Isn't the whole drm issue moot now with stuff like Zune Music pass or Spotify, where for $10/mt you get all the music you want on pc, portable, etc?
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 19:47   #12
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Nope. Content platforms based around DRM will never be ideal.
Content platforms without DRM won't exist, so the realistic ideal we can hope for is that your bought-and-paid-for content is always with you across all devices.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 21:50   #13
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Content platforms without DRM won't exist, so the realistic ideal we can hope for is that your bought-and-paid-for content is always with you across all devices.
Content platforms with DRM guarantee the existence of tools that will allow you to strip your content of DRM.

The one thing that has been learned over the last decade is no DRM is foolproof. Unless DRM free media becomes illegal to own and gov't makes a concerted effort to punishes users for owning DRM free media, its better to use a content platform whose DRM is easily defeated than relying on content platform that promises ubiquity.

There exists no DRM platform that has 100% cross platform and 100% content provider support.

Lets look at UltraViolet.

http://www.uvvu.com/uv-offer-details.php.

Read that and tell me there doesn't exist issues for you.

Free streaming out of your locker is only guaranteed for a year after the initial purchase as UV retailers reserve the right to stick you with additional charges to maintain access if they choose.

There are a bunch of complaints like UltraViolet isn't supported by Disney. UltraViolet based Paramount specific titles don't support Android devices. Even downloaded content requires your mobile device to be connected to the internet.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 22:18   #14
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Originally Posted by dobwal View Post
Content platforms with DRM guarantee the existence of tools that will allow you to strip your content of DRM.
But Joe Consumer isn't up to ripping content en masse and stripping DRM. Or putting it another way, if MS's approach of a hardware-platform independent, web-based service, is not ideal, what should they do instead? Host a website of free downloads with a link for people to pay if they use it?

Within the limitations of the whole content business and human nature and a massive sociological discussion about what rights people do or don't have to access the works of other people for any or no renumeration, consumers are largely better off with a hardware independent service like this or UV than they are a limited service like iTunes where you have to buy from the selections of hardware that'll they'll support.
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Old 27-Apr-2012, 23:13   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shifty Geezer View Post
But Joe Consumer isn't up to ripping content en masse and stripping DRM. Or putting it another way, if MS's approach of a hardware-platform independent, web-based service, is not ideal, what should they do instead? Host a website of free downloads with a link for people to pay if they use it?

Within the limitations of the whole content business and human nature and a massive sociological discussion about what rights people do or don't have to access the works of other people for any or no renumeration, consumers are largely better off with a hardware independent service like this or UV than they are a limited service like iTunes where you have to buy from the selections of hardware that'll they'll support.
Who cares about Joe Consumer because Joe Consumer isn't likely to want to build an all digital library. Joe Consumer is more likely to accept a DRM based content platform regardless of the restriction because Joe Consumer is likely to be ignorant of what DRM entails.

If you looking to build out a digital library that plays across all your devices including your TV, PC, tablet and mobile phones and yet are oblivious to ripping DVDs and Blurays than your a rather rare consumer.

And UV isn't hardware or software independent. You can believe what UV touts all you want but in practice and in the fine print, UV content is control by the content providers and retailers. If you buy a paramount movie with UV DRM without a hard copy it can only be viewed on iOS devices in SD and only through Safari through paramountmovies.com. They won't work on Android, Blackberry or Winphones and it doesn't work offline.

Good luck using Flixster on Android because for some reason Flixster only officially supports HoneyComb and above while almost 90% of Android devices uses GingerBread and below. Flixster is now owned by WB and WB throws in restriction like you can stream all you want but you can only download your movie up to 5 times.

And you know whats one of biggest complaints coming from Joe Consumer when it comes to UV? Its that it is not compatible with itunes.

Whatever MS release, it probably won't be pretty because unless you have a big giant ecosystem like Apple, you don't have the leverage to eliminate some of the ridiculous demands of movie studios.

Last edited by dobwal; 28-Apr-2012 at 00:07.
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Old 02-May-2012, 08:00   #16
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Originally Posted by dobwal View Post
Content platforms with DRM guarantee the existence of tools that will allow you to strip your content of DRM.

The one thing that has been learned over the last decade is no DRM is foolproof. Unless DRM free media becomes illegal to own and gov't makes a concerted effort to punishes users for owning DRM free media, its better to use a content platform whose DRM is easily defeated than relying on content platform that promises ubiquity.
It depends on what you consider fool proof. WMV DRM hasn't been cracked in well over 3 or 4 years now despite quite a few people attempting to do just that. According to people that have tried, you'd have either get really lucky or spend multiple 10's of years trying to brute force it.

Up until late last year you could still use older versions of WMP on XP to get blackbox keys to rip DRM from video's from certain sites but MS has closed that loophole. So any XP box that hasn't already been individualized will in the future be updated to an unrippable indiv key.

So, the only current way without an XP box that was indiv'd prior to late last year is to record the video stream.

And you can't transfer that invidualization key to another box. Each key is individualized to the machine it is one. Only the ownership key is transferable across machines, but that doesn't decrypt the video, it only allows it to be decrypted and played on machines that have been individualized.

But that doesn't get around the DRM as you won't have a bit for bit copy. DIVX hasn't been compromised either, but I'd say that one is almost irrelevant as there is almost nothing relevant released in that DRM format.

Regards,
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Old 03-May-2012, 17:52   #17
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Are they really limiting these new services to Windows 8 only for the PC? Wouldn't that effectively kill any uptake on the PC user side? It's obvious consumers are quite taken with Windows 7 given the shift from XP and many who waited past Vista, but they couldn't possibly expect consumers to all go to Windows 8 as well?
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Old 07-May-2012, 13:37   #18
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I guess this fits here, but it would seem during the GT's E3 Bonus Round this weekend, Pachter mentioned that MS told him they plan to mostly concentrate on services over games this E3:

Quote:
(On visiting MS in a few weeks) Pachter: "They told me don't expect a lot of game stuff, expect a lot of dashboard, interface, multimedia."
Originally I had hoped MS would have more to interest me than Halo 4, but now that doesn't look like it'll be the case.

What do you guys think about this? It can be seen as a smart business move, but in a way this is the second time MS has all but abandoned their core userbase late in the generation. Does this mean we'll have to wait until next gen before MS puts more of an effort on gaming again?
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Old 07-May-2012, 17:24   #19
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I suspect that if any manufacturer is looking at a 2013 release for a next-gen console, their top-tier teams will already be well underway with next gen titles.

Having said that I wouldn't say concentrating on Media and Dashboard at E3 constitues abandoning their core user base. There will certainly be plenty of game titles through 2013 and beyond. It's more where they feel they can most differentiate in a 2 hour press conference.
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Old 07-May-2012, 18:46   #20
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I suspect that if any manufacturer is looking at a 2013 release for a next-gen console, their top-tier teams will already be well underway with next gen titles.

Having said that I wouldn't say concentrating on Media and Dashboard at E3 constitues abandoning their core user base. There will certainly be plenty of game titles through 2013 and beyond. It's more where they feel they can most differentiate in a 2 hour press conference.
That's my sense as well. What first-party development resources they have are probably largely occupied with next-gen development and what's left (aside from 343 with Halo 4) is probably doing Kinect stuff. I'd further suspect that any efforts to secure 3rd party exclusives are being focused towards the next Xbox. Especially if they are expecting to have to launch head to head with PS4.

With Nintendo launching new hardware and Sony likely to be pushing Vita really hard, it would be difficult for MS to differentiate on games. So Kinect games and XBL services are their best chance to not be completely outshone at E3. With those circumstances in mind, how impactful would a conference focused around, "You know that system you've been playing games on for 7 years? It's getting more games!" be at this point?
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Old 08-May-2012, 02:27   #21
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I would take the lack of a large release schdule of games for the 360 as an indication that those titles are probably being held for next gen which points to a release sooner than later.
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Old 08-May-2012, 18:12   #22
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I seriously doubt the 720 is comming in 2013. It'll get revealed to help build massive hype for 2014.

The 360 has so much going for it right now with lower price and the opportunity to explore kinect. Microsoft has to recall the PS2 sales numbers when the XB360 launched.
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Old 08-May-2012, 21:46   #23
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Let the E3 leaks begin?

http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/8/300...itor-accessory

I think it would be an interesting addition to the system software. It should make it easier to quantify your Kinect activity so you can integrate it into a more comprehensive fitness program.
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Old 09-May-2012, 00:06   #24
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I seriously doubt the 720 is comming in 2013. It'll get revealed to help build massive hype for 2014.

The 360 has so much going for it right now with lower price and the opportunity to explore kinect. Microsoft has to recall the PS2 sales numbers when the XB360 launched.
Quite possibly, but I also don't think think MS has to do a "typical" reveal schedule oriented around things like E3.

They can just do a live one-hour event any time they want with a channel like Spike TV and get as much, if not more press than announcing anything at a "traditional" event.

So I think looking at windows of opportunity where announcements have been previously made isn't necessarily something that would be required for their next reveal.
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Old 10-May-2012, 20:51   #25
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I know I'm probably jumping the gun by saying abandoned and we'll see how it all turns out over the next 2 years, but I just have a feeling that the xbox will have a better last year than the 360 and that's kind of sad considering how fast MS was eager to kill off the last system.

It all depends if they have more than Halo 4 and Forza Horizon this gen.
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