Microsoft's Zune, supposedly their iPod killer has had plenty of problems. Beyond ignoring Microsoft's own (ironically named) "Plays for Sure" DRM and making the WiFi on the device effectively useless, Microsoft keeps focusing on playing up the "sharing" aspect of the device. Of course, they leave out just how limited the sharing is. You can share some songs with some people, but only in a very limited way. In fact, plenty of people today are discussing the fact that a very large percentage of songs that Microsoft offers in its own download store cannot be shared at all, as apparently Microsoft allowed the labels to block sharing on certain songs. This is ridiculous for a variety of reasons. First of all, the sharing isn't at all like typical file sharing, but is already so locked down as to be somewhat useless. It really is only good as a promotion the way Microsoft set it up (which might also explain why it doesn't get much usage). To then go and let the labels agree to block sharing on many, many songs just seems wrong. It's not clear why Microsoft has been so willing to roll over and play stupid to the recording industry's demands. It's also still not at all clear why Microsoft agreed to pay a dollar for every device sold to Univeral music, especially since Universal seems to be one of the labels that actively is stopping its songs from being shared via the Zune. It makes no sense from Universal Music's point of view. They actually get money from Zune sales. Shouldn't they be encouraging the features that might differentiate the Zune? Instead, they decide to make the device even more of a laughingstock.
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