We chalked up MTV's decision to drop Microsoft for RealNetworks
in its online music store efforts to MTV's typical internet bumbling. However, there is another interesting possibility. MTV dumped Microsoft to punish the company for pulling the rug out from under them
when it killed off "PlaysForSure" DRM. You may recall that Microsoft used to have its own DRM that it tried to get pushed as an industry standard. The company called it "PlaysForSure" in a bit of marketing hubris to try to make sure people felt comfortable with it. There was just one teensy problem. When Microsoft decided to get into the business of selling its own digital music players, it wouldn't support PlaysForSure
, making the name that much more ironic. When your own digital music players won't play your own PlaysForSure DRM files, you have a problem. Not only did it screw over all the users who had been buying PlaysForSure files, it hurt all the different music stores, including MTV's, that had bet on PlaysForSure. So, with that in mind, it's no wonder that MTV decided to find someone else to partner with. Of course, you can still point out that MTV should have known better than to trust in Microsoft's DRM, but that's an issue for another day.