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Microsoft Acknowledges NBC's Wish is Its Command 417

theodp writes "Responding to questions about why some users of Windows Vista Media Center were prevented from recording the NBC Universal TV shows 'American Gladiator' and 'Medium,' Microsoft has acknowledged that Windows Media Centers will block users from recording TV shows at the request of a broadcaster. 'Microsoft included technologies in Windows based on rules set forth by the (Federal Communications Commission),' wrote a Microsoft spokeswoman, apparently referring to an FCC proposal that the courts struck down in 2005. 'Microsoft has put the requirements of broadcasters above what consumers want,' said the EFF's Danny O'Brien. 'They've imposed restrictions way beyond what the law requires. Customers need to know who Microsoft is listening to and how that affects their equipment. Right now, the only way customers know what Microsoft has agreed to is when the technology they've bought suddenly stops working. Microsoft needs to come clean and tell its customers what deals it has made.'"
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Microsoft Acknowledges NBC's Wish is Its Command

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  • by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:23AM (#23460938)
    Last I checked... Tivo supports the broadcast flag as well, yet those of us (I have 2) with Tivo's had no issues... So I guess the question is, why is Tivo ignoring the broadcast flag (not that I am complaining mind you, I hate the broadcast flag), but I am curious..
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ArcherB ( 796902 )

      Last I checked... Tivo supports the broadcast flag as well, yet those of us (I have 2) with Tivo's had no issues... So I guess the question is, why is Tivo ignoring the broadcast flag (not that I am complaining mind you, I hate the broadcast flag), but I am curious..
      I don't know if my Time-Warner provided box blocked it or not. Still, I'm surprised this got noticed at all; Does anyone watch these shows?
    • by Kamokazi ( 1080091 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:44AM (#23461120) tried to record American Gladiators.
      • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @12:23PM (#23463706)
        Two /. news stories:

        Google helps the Indian government make a man eat from the same bowl he craps in.

        Microsoft saves users from recording American Gladiators.

        As part of their competition with Google strategy, I think Microsoft just stole the right to the "Do no evil" slogan.
    • by Ice Tiger ( 10883 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:55AM (#23461204)
      They remembered who their customers were perhaps?
      • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @10:28AM (#23462252) Homepage
        Actually, that brings up an interesting point. TiVo, unlike Microsoft, is currently seeing subscription revenue for their services - they actually have something to lose if they start screwing with their customers. With MS-based media center machines, it's a one-off license deal as far as I'm aware - though I expect a company the size of Microsoft is forward-thinking enough to realize that pissing off people who paid once isn't a great way to get them to pay again, especially with what people are saying about Vista.

        It really makes you wonder what MS had to gain by doing this. Were they paid? Was it some sort of weird deal to get content providers annoyed at everyone BUT MS for not respecting the broadcast flag thus far? Why is a multi-billion dollar company bending over and taking it from tripe like American Gladiators?
        • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @11:31AM (#23463084) Homepage Journal

          I expect a company the size of Microsoft is forward-thinking enough to realize that pissing off people who paid once isn't a great way to get them to pay again
          You must be new here.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by yuna49 ( 905461 )
          I've said this before here on Slashdot, but I think it's worth repeating.

          I, for one, don't think Microsoft implemented DRM controls in Vista because Hollywood threatened to attack Redmond with the entire array of Marvel superheroes. Microsoft is already quite well established in the content industry and, I expect, sees future opportunities there as well. I expect Microsoft will continue its ventures in the audiovisual industries, either by buying a studio outright, or entering into some type of joint vent
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Locutus ( 9039 )

        They remembered who their customers were perhaps?

        Exactly and Microsoft's customers are content providers. It is often thought that PC purchasers are their customers but they are just the pawns since the mid 90s when Microsoft locked in the PC desktop OEMs to Windows. They only a couple of billion a year keeping that lockin and have for a few years now tried to use those pawns to extract revenue from advertisers who rely on content. Microsoft is not yet a content provider so they must satisfy they large content providers.

        Tivo still makes most of their mon

    • by v(*_*)vvvv ( 233078 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:00AM (#23461240)
      Has anyone using Tivo ever been able to go back to regular TV? If they took a look at the viewing habits of Tivo-ed users, they would be forced to remove the flag if Tivo had enforced it.

      Ever since I got Tivo, I *never* watch programs in real-time. If I can't record it, I am not watching it.
    • by rasper99 ( 247555 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:05AM (#23461292)
      From what I remember the way Tivo series 2 works with the broadcast flag is that it will record it but you can't use Tivo2go to transfer the recording to your computer.

      You can watch it on the Tivo all you want but that is all you can do with it. If you look at the information about a program recorded with the broadcast flag it should tell you that.

      I believe I recorded a show with a broadcast flag a long time ago and it said that. Guess I'll have to record one of these shows just to double check.

      Not sure what the Tivo series 3 and Tivo HD do with it. Should be the same.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:05AM (#23461298)
      "They've imposed restrictions way beyond what the law requires." -- Wrong and ignorant.

      Microsoft has to program for more then one country you know. There is a wide range a laws and regulations that end up going into the media center programming - and yes, some of the programming will bleed over into the American version.

      In Canada we see shows being blocked from recording using that flag all the time. Yes, its ok for a broadcaster here to stop us from recording a program.

      I'm not saying i agree with it, but it's not as if Microsoft was screwing around with Americans just because they wanted to be a jerk.

      I would put more blame on the broadcaster for playing around with the flag when they shouldn't.

      In the meantime... Microsoft should release a patch that stops the DRM for those in America. It won't happen, but hey.
      • by schon ( 31600 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:40AM (#23461730)
        "Microsoft has to program for more then one country you know."

        And it's *SO* difficult to write code to conditionalize behaviour based on locale, right? It's not like there's something in the OS that tells the computer which country it's in.

        "In Canada we see shows being blocked from recording using that flag all the time. Yes, its ok for a broadcaster here to stop us from recording a program."

        Reference please, or I'm gonna have to call bullshit.

        Google returns a ton of old references about Canada *thinking* about talking about it, but not a single instance that it's actually in use, but no reference to any law that was passed regarding it.

        Your MS apologism suggests that the US is on the lenient side of what's required, when in fact it's on the strict side.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:30AM (#23461604)
      Most likely because no Tivo users in the affected broadcast area bothered to complain or have seen this often enough that they're busy pursuing the only effective resolution -- complaining to their cable company and/or local broadcaster. [] []

      There are too many steps along the broadcast path where a stupid user can accidentally reset the flag and they unfortunately do so far too often.

      None of the alarm-ringing "articles" on this have offered reason to believe that NBC-qua-NBC set this flag vs. it having been set by a local affiliate station or local cable provider.

      FURTHERMORE, the CNet reporters have failed to understand the distinction between the broadcast flag the FCC was not allowed to impose and the broadcast flag that CableLabs is allowed to impose on anybody making a system capable of using a CableCard (which both Tivo and MS do).
    • Do they? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Junta ( 36770 )
      I could see Tivo in the past implementing it as they thought it was inevitable, but probably once it was determined as not inevitable, a company in a competitive marketplace can't afford to screw their customers. The networks probably offered Tivo some money to honor the flag and Tivo may have decided the better business move would be that the money wouldn't be worth the lost sales.

      Meanwhile MS is not accustomed to such a situation. To them, the end-users have been a foregone conclusion, MS expects to get
      • by Anonymous Coward
        (apologies for the bad Indy joke)

        I don't know how your post got modded to "5, Insightful" when it should have been "0, Flamebait".

        Read a little and learn something Informative, junior:

        The terms [] of just one of the licenses necessary for selling a Uni-Directional Cable Product (better known to you as "CableCard support") requires the vendors to obey these copy-control flags (including the flag that says not to make even an initial recording). Ti
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mkraft ( 200694 )
      TiVo doesn't support the OTA antenna broadcast flag. TiVo does support the DRM flags for cable, but that is required in order to become a cableCARD certified device. On a side note, it is also illegal for a cable company to set DRM for a rebroadcast OTA channel.

      As far as the TiVo is concerned though cable and OTA antenna are completely separate and have nothing to do with each other. OTA channels can always be recorded on a TiVo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:25AM (#23460954)

    I just want it to work!
  • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:25AM (#23460956)
    shows just who the real "customer" here is... not you... you are the product, delivered to the media conglomerates...
    • Parent is right, it's the commoditization of the consumer.
    • Yeah. It makes you wonder why they bother with delivering TV shows or the OSes.
      • by nahdude812 ( 88157 ) * on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:52AM (#23461880) Homepage
        I can't tell if you're being rhetorical or not.

        Yeah. It makes you wonder why they bother with delivering TV shows or the OSes.
        For the same reason manufacturing companies provide raw materials to their factories. These are the goods from which the final product (the money in your pocket) is produced.

        The interesting thing about manufacturing is that there are many companies whose product is another company's raw material.

        To media companies, your eyeballs are their product. They cultivate and fertilize it just like industrial farming. And just like industrial farming, they don't really care what's good for the product as long as it has sufficient yield.

        To advertisers, your eyeballs are the raw material which they cook and add some yeast to, then let you ferment for a while, and in the end they hopefully produce a rich full-bodied pocketbook.

        Don't mistake your place in the chain - if television was beer production, you'd be the malt or the hops growing in the field. Your only purpose is to be distilled and have all of your value drained away before being discarded as animal feed - after all, feces is an important fertilizer for growing malt and hops!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just another example of why they don't want public documentation of how their stuff works. The EU has been demanding only the protocols for years, maybe they should require more.
    • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:59AM (#23461228) Homepage
      That's old news.

      Douglas Adams is often quoted with something along this line:

      "Most TV stations are in the business to deliver customers to advertisers. The BBC is in the business to deliver TV programmes to people."
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kmac06 ( 608921 )
        The BBC isn't a business, so you can't really say it's in the business of anything.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Commercial TV companies work for the people who pay their wages - the advertisers.

        The BBC also works for the people who their wages - the government.

        I know some people view the BBC as some kind of utopian ideal, but ultimately they are as compromised as any other form of corporate media.

        Don't mistake subtlety for neutrality.
      • by rs232 ( 849320 )
        "The BBC is in the business to deliver TV programmes to people"

        May true once, but lately it's been in the habit of regularly interrupting programs with pretend adverts for programs on its other channels. It's news has also gone the way of Faux News especially since X/XX. No attempt at analysis just various supposedly independent commentators regurgitating the official line.

        "International police agency Interpol says Colombian officials did not tamper with computers which they claim provide proof [] Venez
    • Wow, I really wanted to buy Vista before, what with all the glitches and problems. Now I REALLY want it.
  • Damned either way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eggman9713 ( 714915 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:28AM (#23460976)
    If Microsoft doesn't disclose what is going on, customers will be angry that they can't do what they thought they paid to be able to do, and in the future, will not give them anymore money If they do disclose upfront, many customers will not give them money in the first place. Damned if you do, damned if you don't when it comes to our friend DRM.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:40AM (#23461086)
      BS I call it. They've been doing it for YEARS and still customers go like sheep.

      You seriously underestimate powers of monopoly and lack of knowledge of substitutes.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Some people are sheep. No way around it. But I'm not so sure it doesn't matter. People do change, and MS is getting hit, albeit slowly. Google has them even if they buy Yahoo. Linux continues to get better, although the arrogantness of certain distributions needs to back off. They no longer rule the browser to most. They don't have a good gaming platform. The list goes on--they're second in everything and bloated and eating themselves to stay alive.

        I was a Mac user. Who went to Win98 and XP. Who s
    • by urcreepyneighbor ( 1171755 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:49AM (#23461162)

      and in the future, will not give them anymore money

      The majority of the proles will bitch and complain, but they will still come home to Daddy - in this case, Microsoft - when it comes time to upgrade.

      The handful of people with enough brains to see this sort of shit coming aren't suffering.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by IBBoard ( 1128019 )

      Damned if you do, damned if you don't when it comes to our friend DRM.

      Would that be Damned Restrictions Management?
  • Great News! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:29AM (#23460986)
    This is great news. Look, Microsoft has a vendor first / user second approach. The more stupid shit like this they do the more the users will catch on that they are simply taken for granted.

    • Re:Great News! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bobetov ( 448774 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:44AM (#23461114) Homepage
      Don't be an ass. The best outcome would be Microsoft taking great care of its customers, so that millions of people aren't hassled and inconvenienced.

      It's a pathetic second best to have lots of people getting shafted, just so a company can be "punished".

      The end goal is great technology and happy people. How we get there is much less important. Don't put politics before the people we're supposedly trying to help.
      • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
        The end goal is great technology and happy people. How we get there is much less important.

              OK, but we have determined that the optimal path includes you giving me all your assets and equity, and you being executed. Please report to the nearest clearing station.

              Oh wait, now suddenly the way we do it seems more important doesn't it? There's such a thing as ethics, you know.
      • Re:Great News! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by somersault ( 912633 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:28AM (#23461582) Homepage Journal

        The end goal is great technology and happy people. How we get there is much less important. Don't put politics before the people we're supposedly trying to help.
        Microsoft have had pretty limited success in creating 'great technology' over the years. You can tell by looking at the alternatives that are out there, and the crappy products that they have produced when they try to get into new market segments - witness the RROD fiasco with the 360 (though people seem to be stupid enough to keep getting replacements or buying another one more for some reason..), and the pathetic sales of Zunes. Then there's the joke that Windows has become by being infused with plenty of DRM, just when things were starting to head in the right direction with 2000/XP and Windows Server, etc. Microsoft just try to get away with whatever they think the market will take up its ass. Some companies out there, believe it or not, try to benefit their customers - while still looking to make a profit of course. But when you put profits ahead of your customers, your profits are going to suffer in the long run anyway, aren't they? I don't think I'm too naieve in saying that.
    • Re:Great News! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rundgren ( 550942 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:46AM (#23461132) Homepage

      This is great news. Look, Microsoft has a vendor first / user second approach.
      ..and so does every other company that uses DRM.
  • I'm all about multinational billion dollar corporates deciding for me about what I can and can't record legally. It's hell sweet! Before you know it, we'll have pay-per-view on every single broadcast!
  • Brought to you by WeSaySo Corporation [], ooops, MSNBC and Microsoft.

  • Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I used to think MSNBC meant Must See NBC, as part of their "Must See" advertising. Thank you for unlocking this mysterious tie to Microsoft.

    I say let them drag each other into the ground. I can't recall the last time I watched any of the NBC networks. OK, I briefly watched some of the Olympics last time around, but that was about all. Even if there were anything decent to watch when I was away, I always have my VCR.

    As for Microsoft, they do make some darn good keyboards and mice.
  • "Technologies" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:38AM (#23461074) Journal

    Microsoft included technologies in Windows based on...

    What is it with Microsoft and the word "technologies"?

    Heeding a fucking bit is "technologies"?

    [Clicks fingers] Oh, sorry, that's marketdoublespeak to hide the fact that they're selling stuff that takes its orders from someone other than the customer who bought it.

  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:40AM (#23461088) Homepage
    Microsoft has never been about the customer. Microsoft will gladly screw over their customers to get a few bucks or gain marketshare.

    Here's an old but great example. Back when Win95 was released you could not natively use long file names with 16-bit apps. However, there was a product called "Name-It!" which did allow that function. In other words it was possible and quite easy to enable the function, but Microsoft chose NOT to implement it. Why? Because long file names was a well liked feature among customers and denying it to customers would give incentive to upgrade to new 32-bit programs.

    Another great example is Messenger, the chat program not the service. Microsoft originally made it nearly impossible to get rid of. Even if you edited your sysoc.inf file and uninstalled Messenger, it'll suddenly come back. Even if you deleted the subfolder under Program Files, it would mysteriously come back. Obviously Microsoft considered its chat war against AOL more important than ease of use for its customers.

    And of course there's product activation. We were told it was to stop piracy, but that was bull-shit. You can easy obtain pirated copies of XP and Vista. Let's face it, if piracy has been decreased, then why is Vista Microsoft's most expensive OS? Why aren't they passing the savings back to us? Clearly product activation is not stopping piracy at all. Once again, the real purpose of product activation is to screw over the paying customer who wants to install the OS he paid for on both of his systems.

    And lets not forget how Microsoft's Office products are constantly screwing with file formats to make the later versions incompatible with earlier versions. Once again, this is NOT done to make it easier for paying customers. It's merely leverage to get those customer paying again and again.

    It'd be really hard to be passionate for Microsoft's products. It's hard to be passionate for anything that nickel and dimes you at every turn. That treats you like a criminal. And sees you merely as a cash cow to be milked at every chance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gsslay ( 807818 )

      Back when Win95 was released you could not natively use long file names with 16-bit apps. However, there was a product called "Name-It!" which did allow that function. In other words it was possible and quite easy to enable the function, but Microsoft chose NOT to implement it. Why? Because long file names was a well liked feature among customers and denying it to customers would give incentive to upgrade to new 32-bit programs.

      Rubbish example and an even worse conclusion. The issue with long file names was related to old 3.x application that were developed prior to long names using the old 8.3 format. Unilaterally hooking into their file operation dialogs to update them to long file names could easily have unforeseen complications.

      The over-riding principle, and something that MS would always concentrate on (sometimes too much), would have been backwards compatibility. Users require it, but they do not want an upgrade of their

  • by YeeHaW_Jelte ( 451855 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:41AM (#23461094) Homepage
    Sooo, it seems Microsoft has set itself up for a PR disaster and given the remote control to any content-provider that knows how to use the broadcast flags.

    There is no better way to illustrate what restrictions DRM will have on the users day-to-day life, and Vista users will not like these demonstrations of Microsofts built-in Big Brother TM.
  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <> on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:42AM (#23461098)

    Is this the place where those of us who loathe Vista as a bloated, DRM-ridden piece of crap that just can't wait to rat on its owners come for an apology from all those people who accused us of spreading FUD about it?

    Just wondering...

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:48AM (#23461150)
    Let's see, how many different competing sources of videos are there today? And NBC thinks it's got the best ones out there and wants to restrict their dissemination with the broadcast flag?

    I don't really care if Vista respects the flag or not. NBC, by putting it in the stream, thwarts its use, legitimate or not. In the YouTube/Tube world, they have *so* scratched themselves off the list.

    Let's see-- was that good for marketshare, branding, asset value, shareholder value, or compennsation? Hullo?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hansamurai ( 907719 )
      Agreed, everyone here seems focused on Microsoft but they were only respecting some crazy law that seemed to be in existence at one small point of time, NBC were the ones that triggered the broadcast bit in the first place. It doesn't really matter if this was an experiment or an accident or even completely intended; they turned the bit on and this was the result. Hopefully they'll wake up and realize how pissed this makes their viewers, but maybe not.
  • I am starting to think that the customer is about to decide.

    Why buy MS when you can get something that works. The reason MS is not working for the consumer is because it's not getting its money from the consumer.

    Computers are becoming a commodity. By the time, if not already, the next windows/office comes out computers will be so cheap there will be little room for MS. Solid state multi capable CPUs should dramatically drop the cost.

    I'd say paradigm shift to the rescue.

  • I just glanced over the channel lineup for my area (I honestly didn't know what NBC was offering), and I'm in favor crappy TV networks self regulating themselves further out of my view.

    It isn't much a surprise, given the lack of NBC on the chart [].
    /half-joking, half-not
  • by J_DarkElf ( 602111 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:11AM (#23461348) Journal
    I think we should be grateful to Microsoft in a way. By fully exposing people to the whim of the content mafiaa (in this case NBC) it will finally become clear to a large enough crowd that DRM and like measures, like this 'broadcast flag', are taking away rights we took for granted.

    Hopefully with awareness finally spreading beyond the minority of hobbyists, enough of a voice can be made to stop the big companies before it is too late.
  • My VCR Still Works (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:11AM (#23461358) Homepage

    As long as there is analog out, I'll be able to record my favorite shows. Just retarded you have to go through all that.

    Is it really any surprise MSFT puts business interests ahead of user interests? It's been that way a long time.

  • by theurge14 ( 820596 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:13AM (#23461376)
    15 July 1996: Microsoft and NBC form MSNBC.
    31 Aug 2007: NBC pulls all content from iTunes Store.
    6 May 2008: NBC puts content on Zune Store.
    Now: NBC has Microsoft block Windows Media Center from recording certain shows.

    What other wonderful developments can we expect?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by initialE ( 758110 )
      There's a problem with your time scale there, buddy. You're trying to piece together events that happened across over 10 years as a natural consequence of a single management goal, when it is obvious that it really isn't. NBC puts content on iTunes, as it was at the time the only store around. Why would they wait a whole 9 months to transit from iTunes to the Zune store? how about the sales lost during that period of time?
  • The Last Straw. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kiwioddBall ( 646813 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:24AM (#23461534) Homepage
    I've been a pretty loyal Microsoft user since Win3.1, and I'm a senior I.T. professional. I'm not particularly radical, I use Vista, and its OK.

    However, Microsofts recent performance has been pretty disgraceful, enough to force change for me. I point to three incidents - This one with the broadcast flag, the recent shutdown of the Microsoft Music Validation servers, and the release of the emails where it showed that senior management had no idea how to treat customers or partners during the months leading up to the release of Vista.

    How hard is it for Microsoft to treat their customers OK? I mean, the broadcast flag incident shows they bend over for the broadcast networks, even though the networks business model doesn't even require this. Why do they do this to their customers? Obviously, the networks are paying Microsoft, but surely they can't be paying as much as customers pay for licenses to use Vista/XP. Why treat your greatest revenue stream like a POS - like they're stupid?

    With regard to the Music Server incident, a number of customers have paid for music, these are valuable customers again, and they are having their servers shut down so they can't play their music beyond their next upgrade/reinstall. How low is that. I mean, how much more poorly can you treat your customers. How hard is it for Microsoft to keep a few servers running to validate that music, to say to the customers, look, we'll keep this going as a sign that we give a .... - you're our customers after all. Being an IT professional, I can see perhaps there might be an issue keeping it going through system upgrades, or server upgrades? Well, how hard would it be supply music on the current store? Or perhaps there aren't enough customers to make this cost effective? I don't know, then you don't have to keep many DRM servers running to keep them happy.

    As for the emails, I don't know where to begin. They treated HP like .... after they made them bend over to develop new hardware for the Vista Capable logo, and then redefined the conditions so HP wasted their time and money. And then they were surprised when Vendors weren't developing drivers for Vista. To quote the MS executives, the hardware vendors 'didn't trust us'.

    It really pains me to use Vista after reading this stuff. This isn't a complaint about Vista or whatever, its an OK operating system, its a lot easier to use than any Linux variant, and I find it stable now. But I can't keep using it beyond my current hardware iteration. I'll keep using it at work, but from a moral point of view, I just can't keep using it personally. You just can't keep treating people like that, and I feel like a gullible fool giving Microsoft more money. I am pleased that there are alternatives at last, be it Apple or a future Linux that will be more innovative and user friendly by the time my current hardware dies.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:29AM (#23461590) Homepage
    Long ago when cable TV was new, part of the draw of cable TV was "commercial free!" and signal clarity. Well, there was nothing wrong with the signals we got over the air until cable lobbied to have the RF power of TV stations lowered and the commercial-free thing didn't last long either.

    Of course, the internet was not created to be yet another form of advertising media, but that is what it has become and somehow people actually believe that is what it's there for -- they don't see it as a corruption of its original intent.

    I bought some DVDs over the weekend only to find that the first 5, unskippable, minutes were advertisements for other things.

    Why should I have to pay for advertisements being shoved in my face?

    I once worked for a weekly news rag and we fought spam hard. Meanwhile, our own sales people were constantly pushing and stepping over the line when it came to their own email behaviors. As a company that is all about advertisement, you'd think they'd be more sympathetic to the "needs of the other marketers" out there. But in their defense, I suppose, they published a paper and didn't shove it down anyone's throat... and it was a free paper too, so no one actually paid to see these ads. (This is about as legitimate as it can get) Eve so, I couldn't stand working there any longer so I don't. I hate marketing. It simply corrupts everything it touches.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:41AM (#23461740)
    This issue has already been settled in SONY CORP. OF AMER. v. UNIVERSAL CITY STUDIOS, INC., 464 U.S. 417 (1984) ( Fred Rogers made a profound and compelling argument for the personal recording of television programs:

    "Some public stations, as well as commercial stations, program the 'Neighborhood' at hours when some children cannot use it. I think that it's a real service to families to be able to record such programs and show them at appropriate times. I have always felt that with the advent of all of this new technology that allows people to tape the 'Neighborhood' off-the-air, and I'm speaking for the 'Neighborhood' because that's what I produce, that they then become much more active in the programming of their family's television life. Very frankly, I am opposed to people being programmed by others. My whole approach in broadcasting has always been 'You are an important person just the way you are. You can make healthy decisions.' Maybe I'm going on too long, but I just feel that anything that allows a person to be more active in the control of his or her life, in a healthy way, is important."
  • by FurtiveGlancer ( 1274746 ) <AdHocTechGuy AT aol DOT com> on Monday May 19, 2008 @09:59AM (#23461944) Journal
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence. Apologies to Nick Diamos []. So the proposed FCC rule was not enacted. At least M$ was leaning forward on something.
  • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @10:37AM (#23462372)
    The fact that Microsoft will do this "to" its customers is proof that there is practically no competition in the market place.

    If there were competition, a vendor would be terrified if their product did do what it was supposed to and would not side AGAINST the wishes of their paying customers. If there were laws that limited what their products would do, they would fight those laws to improve their products.

    No, Microsoft has illegally protected its monopoly for too long. Almost all these abusive problems we see are a direct result of it. If there were real and thriving competition, none of this could happen because it would be the death of a vendor.

  • by random coward ( 527722 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @11:26AM (#23463024)
    Microsoft has come clean with its customers. Its customers are, of course, Dell, HP, NBC, and other computer and entertainment business plus the rest of the Fortune 500. Any home user is NOT a customer of Microsoft, or at least not one Microsoft wishes to have as a customer. Assuming the end user is Microsoft's customer leads to all kinds of logical dilemas. When you realize they are not then Microsoft's actions appear much more logical and customer focused and supporting.
  • Don't fool youreself (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @11:28AM (#23463046)
    Yes, MS says they will use the broadcast flag if asked, and as others pointed out, Tivo etc hasn't. It's probably because they haven't been asked. MythTv doesn't, but it is an open source project with no one commercial owner. If it was made by a company that made a distro and they were asked... they probably would. No one, not Jobs, not Gates and not Shuttleworth is going to do a perp walk so you can record shows. That's really between you and your government and the entertainment industry. I have media centre as part of my OS, but I use BeyondTV... They too would recognize the flag if they were told to, and an update would ensure it (I avoid a lot of updates after reading their notes). Maybe in some eyes, MS is the devil here, but I doubt you will ind many CEOs making a stand for you in such an instance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Enigma2175 ( 179646 )

      No one, not Jobs, not Gates and not Shuttleworth is going to do a perp walk so you can record shows.

      That's the crux of the issue. The broadcast flag IS NOT THE LAW. The FCC did make a rule requiring it but the US Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to make such a rule and struck it down. Nobody is going to have to do a perp walk for not implementing the flag even if they are asked. Most likely what happened is that MS made a deal with the networks to recognize the flag. They don't have to, but they WANT to.

Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. -- F.M. Hubbard