This is my response to a post over at TheInquirer:
I think you’ve got it wrong. Microsoft has always taken the position that DRM is a bad idea. I say this with confidence because I am good friends with a developer in the DRM group at MS and have had in-depth conversations regarding Microsoft’s stand on DRM with him and the manager of his department. This was a few years ago and they had been saying it for a long time before that.
Everyone who knows technology knows DRM defeats the purpose of distributing media. The people who know technology at Microsoft are just like the rest of us. Unfortunately they have to answer to people who don’t know technology. The people who negotiate contracts with the recording industry had to assure the labels that their intellectual property would be secured. Without that assurance they would never have allowed Microsoft to distribute their property.
I think the stance Microsoft is taking could have been planned from the start: Get your foot in the door with the labels by offering DRM security, then when they start to realize it’s a bad idea you just lift the technical limitations and continue providing the service. Microsoft has the service contracts already in place. They don’t care if they serve DRM content or open content. If they can prove to the labels that open content will bring in more customers then by all means they will push for open content. It’s just good business.