Jan 9, 2006

notice to customers, we hate you

I'm scanning the CNet news items in my aggregator today. There's about 10 stories there. Three of them stick out.

MySpace (acquired by News Corp) is banning references to Revver (a video sharing service) probably because it's viewed as competition. Not surprisingly they've done this before.

British Film Academy screeners could not view the movie Munich because the DVD DRM and DVD player DRM weren't compatible.

If you sign up for Verizon's music download service, they seem to be turning off the phone's ability to play the mp3 format. There's also a great quote - "We don't view this as restricting user's functionality." Priceless.

There's two clear things going on here. One, many companies hate and distrust their customers. In some cases they probably have good reason to distrust them. Two, they don't think their customers will retaliate against them for this. Surprisingly on the second point they might be right. For example, Sony had that rootkit DRM fiasco a few weeks ago. Do I now not purchase anything from Sony? What if I'm looking for a camera and Sony offers the best product at the best price. Do I not buy it on principle? A part of me says yes. Then again a part of me is probably going to say, "screw that, that's the best camera and I want it." To do otherwise means you are making a bad economic decision for yourself. The best way to retaliate against a company is always with your wallet. If a company screws me with one hand but offers up a good valued product with the other it's tough to make a vote against the company. I can retaliate against the bad product (not buy any Sony DRM'd CDs) but do I continue to retaliate if they revoke that approach to DRM? If so, for how long? I think I'm going to have to struggle with these types of questions more and more in the future.

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