Is there any doubt that Microsoft is not only poised to repeat its successful Windows formula, but that that success will, over the long run, actually dwarf the company’s success with Windows?
No single company has circled its technology wagons around the digital media universe the way Microsoft has. It’s just a question of when the world finally realizes that Microsoft has already gone in for the kill. This week’s announcement from Philips wasn’t just a stake in the ground. It was just another part of a foundation on which Microsoft’s media skyscraper will rest.
Although it isn’t perfect, Microsoft’s PlaysForSure program was really a defining moment in Microsoft’s Media/DRM history. The secret sauce that turned the iPod/iTunes combination into a drug was how easy it was and the fact that finally, we could all buy one song at a time. But now, not only do PlaysForSure-based devices do the synchronization thing as well as the iPod and iTunes do, but Microsoft has created an ecosystem where device manufacturers like iRiver and Creative are competing over how sick a device they can make at the same time that that online music stores can compete to deliver Microsoft DRM-managed
audio into those devices. Now, with the Philips deal, the number of devices are going to shoot into the stratosphere. On top of that, the days of buying one song at a time for 99 cents are over. At first Napster and Real appeared on to something with their $15 per month all-you-can eat programs. But now, at $7 per month for the same thing, Yahoo saw to it and we haven’t seen bottom yet.