In one of the more puzzling moves we’ve seen recently, Microsoft just rebranded their ailing PlaysForSure music format standard. It’s now called “Certified for Windows Vista.”
PlaysForSure was Microsoft’s first attempt at portable MP3 music copy protection. Lots of otherwise-fine MP3 players from Creative, iriver, and other brands supported it, but the standard didn’t always work well. Microsoft eventually gave up and created a brand new copy-protection standard for their prized iPod competitor, the Zune–which isn’t doing all that well on the market either. Is it any wonder why we think DRM should disappear from the earth entirely?
Anyway, as Gizmodo correctly points out, this new move is going to make things worse, not simpler. “Cue confused customers wondering whether newly certified-for-Vista media players will work on XP and why tracks loaded up with FairPlay DRM don’t work on their ‘certified’ gear. ‘Does iTunes not work with Vista?’ Sigh.”