Microsoft is proudly showing off its PlayReady technology at MWC, but woe betide anyone who describes it as a DRM platform.
PlayRead was announced at last year's conference, but this time it's demonstrable. It comes with a slew of deployment announcements from Zimbabwe to Spain and includes Omnifone's MusicStation, used by Vodafone for its unlimited-play service.
As well as Omnifone, Microsoft has announced that Telefonica, Telecom Italia and Weather Investments have all picked PlayReady as the technology for their respective music services. Only Telefonica is committing to a 2008 deployment, in Spain, but Weather is the holding company for the Wind and Orascom groups that operate in Italy, Greece, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. MusicStation has also committed to offering PlayReady content by the end of 2008.
PlayReady has some interesting features that might make the DRM pill an easier swallow. As well as being able to handle any type of file type, restrictions are based around the idea of domains: you sign up for a subscription service with someone such as MusicStation, and that subscription defines how many devices you may have in your "domain". Each of those devices is registered with MusicStation and media can be copied freely between them. If you buy a new device you just add it to your domain (by informing MusicStation, and perhaps removing one of your other devices), and all your media will play back on the new device.
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