Paul Thurrott: Microsoft Confirms Move to DRM-Free Music

Following EMI's (and Apple's) announcement last week regarding their decision to sell digital music without digital rights management restrictions, Microsoft admitted that it too, would offer music without DRM. Microsoft says it has been working with EMI and other record labels for quite some time, and will offer DRM-free music via the Zune Marketplace, as soon as possible. "The EMI announcement is not exclusive to Apple. Consumers have made it clear that unprotected music is something they want. We plan on offering it to them as soon as our label partners are comfortable with it," said a Microsoft spokesperson.

Microsoft currently sells songs on Zune Marketplace in the Windows Media Audio format, which suggest that it will continue to do so, but without DRM. On the other hand, EMI has specified that services are free to use whatever format they'd like, including industry-standard MP3, which would be the most interoperable option. Anyone can see that the latter is the likelier to deal a blow to Apple, but will Microsoft really go through with ditching their own format, or maybe they'll offer both DRM-free WMA and MP3?

News source: WindowsITPro

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