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Ballmer Says iPod Users are Thieves 1108

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hurting-my-feelings dept.
A 'music thief' (apparently) writes "According to Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft: "The most common format of music on an iPod is 'stolen'." He appears convinced Microsoft will lead the way in Digital Rights Management and also believes Microsoft will steal a march on Apple in making the digital home a reality because Apple "doesn't have the volumes". "There is no way that you can get there with Apple. The critical mass has to come from the PC, or a next-generation video device," he said."
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Ballmer Says iPod Users are Thieves

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:17AM (#10427814)
    They stolds it frums us.
    • by turnstyle (588788) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:27AM (#10427944) Homepage
      Ok, Slashdotters!

      1) Roughly what percent of your music collection is unauthorized files from P2P like Kazaa, FTP, etc.?

      2) Roughly what percent of your music collection comes from sources like iTunes Music Store, eMusic, etc?

      3) Roughly what percent of your music collection comes from shareable sources like Creative Commons-licensed music?

      4) Roughly what percent of your music collection comes from rips of your own CDs?

      5) Roughly what percent of your music collection comes from rips of friends' CDs?

      (and what am I missing?)

      • by Sique (173459) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:33AM (#10428033) Homepage
        Your are missing

        6) Roughly what percent of your music collection is your own music?

        7) Roughly what percent of your music collection is your friends own music?

        So for me this comes down to:

        5) 75% (6 MP3s, sent to my by friends, because they wanted me to hear those songs.)
        7) 25% (2 MP3s, the one was mixed by a friend of mine who is sound engineer, the other one was performed by another friend of mine)

        Ok, this boils down to eight pieces of music stored on my computer :)
      • by Stephan Schulz (948) <schulz@informatik.tu-muenchen.de> on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:42AM (#10428125) Homepage
        1) 0% (to lazy to figure things out under Linux/Solaris)
        2) 0% (iTunes store only just opened in Germany)
        3) 1% (The OpenBSD songs, + RMS Free Software Song)
        4) 95% (most of it classic and Jazz)
        5) 4% (note that this is legal in Germany, and AFAIK, Canada)
        • by DeeKayWon (155842) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:59AM (#10429079)
          5) 4% (note that this is legal in Germany, and AFAIK, Canada)

          To clarify things in Canada's case, here's section 80 from the Copyright Act [justice.gc.ca]:

          80. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the act of reproducing all or any substantial part of

          (a) a musical work embodied in a sound recording,
          (b) a performer's performance of a musical work embodied in a sound recording, or
          (c) a sound recording in which a musical work, or a performer's performance of a musical work, is embodied

          onto an audio recording medium for the private use of the person who makes the copy does not constitute an infringement of the copyright in the musical work, the performer's performance or the sound recording.

          Emphasis mine. What qualifies as an audio recording medium is specified in the Private Copying Certified Tariff [cb-cda.gc.ca]:

          "blank audio recording medium" means

          (a) a recording medium, regardless of its material form, onto which a sound recording may be reproduced, that is of a kind ordinarily used by individual consumers for that purpose and on which no sounds have ever been fixed, including

          (i) audio cassettes (1/8 inch tape) of 40 minutes or more in length;
          (ii) recordable compact discs (CD-R, CD-RW, CD-R Audio, CD-RW Audio);
          (iii) MiniDiscs;
          (iv) non-removable memory, including solid state and hard disk, that is permanently embedded in a digital audio recorder; and
          (b) any medium prescribed by regulations pursuant to sections 79 and 87 of the Act;

          Standard PC hard drives do not qualify, so just ripping your friends' CDs to your own hard drive is not legal. Burning CD copies of them is.

          Me, I paid the levy on my iPod, and put all of the music on it myself. Therefore it's all legal.

          One more note: The revisions to the levy made last December were accompanied by an opinion handed down by the Copyright Board regarding the legality of P2P downloading. The decision [cb-cda.gc.ca] was that the Copyright Act does not address the legality of the source:

          There is no requirement in Part VIII that the source copy be a non-infringing copy. Hence, it is not relevant whether the source of the track is a pre-owned recording, a borrowed CD, or a track downloaded from the Internet.

          Of course, the conditions of Section 80 must still be met.

      • by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:43AM (#10428135) Homepage Journal
        6) Roughly what percent of your music collection comes from P2P services, but you own the original on vinyl, 8-track, reel-to-reel, or some other modern, high-tech recording medium.

        For me, about 90%.
      • by sixteenraisins (67316) <williamNO@SPAMpurpleandblack.com> on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:52AM (#10428234) Homepage
        From TFA:

        However, Ballmer conceded it isn't going to be an easy battle to win. "Most people still steal music," he said.

        Most people steal music? This informal poll might suggest a different story.

        I'd love to know what numbers he's using to arrive at his assertation that "most people" still steal music. I seem to remember reading that many people have stopped downloading music from P2P sources [technewsworld.com] - they don't "still steal music," do they?

        I don't know, it sounds like he's making a blanket statement to support his position without telling us how he intends to back his statement up. Perhaps he doesn't intend to?
        • by Thud457 (234763) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:58AM (#10429048) Homepage Journal
          For the greater part of history, music was entirely live performance and freely shared with everybody. Then, one dreary Monday, that evil Thomas Alva Edison invented a way to capture the music, trapping [edisonnj.org]it in small wax cylinders. (You don't see the sainted Tesla inventing such deviant "recording" devices, now do you? I tell you, that Edison is a morally diseased mind.) Thence was born the record industry, and industry of vile middlemen who interrupted the free flow of music by imprisioning it in vinyl discs.

          So you see, children, much like the mythical "copyright" the whole concept of "recorded" "music" is a mental fiction and at odds with the natural order of things. Kill your iPod now!

          or something.

      • by halowolf (692775) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:54AM (#10428254)
        (and what am I missing?)

        What operating system does most of this stealing happen on?

        Oh my!

      • by log0n (18224) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:13AM (#10428520)
        ipod 10gb

        1. 0% (seriously)
        2. 25%
        3. ~ 5%
        4. ~ 70%
        5. 0%

        I have no idea how many songs are on my ipod atm, but it's usually pretty close to full.

        I can't remember the last time I downloaded an mp3 (not counting iTMS)... definitely not within the last 3 years.

        My views on piracy basically shifted once I got a real/steady job (~ 3? year ago) and was able to afford buying what I wanted. When I had no money (college), I didn't really have any respect for intellectual property (as opposed to tangible/physical property), things that I could get easily on the internet, etc.. I needed/wanted things, but I just didn't have the cash. Now that I can afford to buy things, my pride actually grows because I enjoy knowing that *now* I can buy things; I don't *need* to pirate to get what I want. It's a sense of satisfaction knowing that I have solved my problems of once not having money, to now having money.

        Some people are just cheap, or just like to steal for the sake of stealing. But a lot of people who do steal do so not because they are thieves but because they just don't have the finances to get what they want. Nowadays, ultimately a thief is a thief, but intentions are what differentiate a criminal from a normal person.

        $.02, FWIW, IMO, etc
        • by Baki (72515) on Monday October 04, 2004 @12:18PM (#10430105)
          Hmm, I think it is not very fair to change ones view and respect IP only when one has enough money.

          I have never respected IP, and still do not even though I could easily afford anything that I need (earn about $150k a year). It is a matter of principle to me:

          First, the current "IP" companies are mostly immoral entities that want to retain their business models and priviledges at any price, even if that involves changing/buying laws and by that destroying our democracy.

          More importantly and philosophically, the concept of Intellectual Property is a perversion to me that is contrary to human nature and civilization. Civilization and art was built by copying and impoving on ideas (only really seldomly by revolutionary novelties). Imagine the classical composers having been forbidden to "borrow" each others themes and ideas, or painters to get sewed when joining a new style such as impressionism.

          The concept is absurd and sickening.

          Up till 1900 the lack of IP has never prevented progress and inventions. After 1900: we don't know. IP proponents keep brainwashing us that without IP there would be no innovation, but who is to tell? I simply don't believe it when looking at 2000 years of civilization before 1900.

          Also the software industry itself has been highly succesful and profitable even without patents and with quite weak copyright protection. One might even argue that only now, where IP is being introduced in the software industry, things have deteriorated.
      • by digital photo (635872) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:56AM (#10429025) Homepage Journal

        • 1) 0%. Never used those networks and continue to refuse to.
        • 2) 75%. Joined iTunes as soon as it opened. Most of the music I play is from that source.
        • 3) 0%. Haven't found any which suits my taste yet.
        • 4) 25%. I bought them and I make them playable on my portable players as needed. I do not share them.
        • 5) 0%. If I want it, I look for the song I actually like on their CD and buy it from iTunes.

        Ballmer's rhetoric and the parent of this post are looking at the impressions that they have of what the music world is like. There is the corporate view where the customers are seen as more like thieves and rodents... much like the view taken by that of the monarchy of the people. There is the end user view which seeks as much usability/freedom as possible. Then, there is the Apple view, which is make it usable, but also do your best to keep it legit.

        You do your best because you can't control your users' intentions. Using DRM to the point of making your music sound like sh*t(aka CD copy protection which has only a Windows usable crappy WMA file on it is SH*T. Thank god Sony is backing out of this mess. Maybe Final Fantasy and JPOP music will be usable on Macs again.)

        What you are missing is the population of computer users who actually want to be law-abiding citizens and would purchase music if it permitted them the same freedoms that purchasing CDs(as defined by Philips) gives them. Ie, the ability to play the disc and/or its contents wherever and whenever they want.

        You shouldn't have to pay extra to play it in your car AND your computer AND your portable, which is what folks like Ballmer, MS, RIAA, etc would ultimately like.

    • by cheezus (95036) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:08AM (#10429183) Homepage
      This comment was coming from the CEO of the biggest corporate criminal in history! Most of Microsoft's money has been stolen through their leverage of an illegal monopoly. It'll be a cold day in hell before I listen to a lecture from this criminal.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:17AM (#10427816) Homepage
    Billing Microsoft as the good guys and Apple the villains of the piece - at least as far as corporate America, rather than users, is concerned, Ballmer said: "We've had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is 'stolen'."

    I don't understand the "corporate America" distinction. Is he talking about people downloading stuff to their iPod from the computers at work and stealing it that way? Because just about every Windows user I know has a computer at least 50% full of stolen shit (usually including the OS itself). MSFT is somehow not supporting theft because they don't have an iPod clone and their OS has DRM? I would go so far as to claim that PocketPCs support piracy but MSFT didn't create the hardware they just created the software. I guess you have to do both to support the thieves.

    Sorry, that doesn't make me think any less of the iPod and it certainly doesn't make me think any more highly of Windows.
    • by tha_mink (518151) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:22AM (#10427877)
      The "as far as corporate America..." means that if the world was using a Microsoft based device, then they could force everything to be played in a format in which they could use their DRM system to insure that everything played was paid for and legal.

      Which means that corporate America (ex. the music industry) should start helping MS gain more market share in that market.
    • by hype7 (239530) <u3295110@@@anu...edu...au> on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:30AM (#10427983) Journal
      I don't understand the "corporate America" distinction.


      it has to do with the fact that the RIAA wants DRM, and the user doesn't. so Ballmer's looking after the corporate interests ahead of the user interests.

      What's funny is that he doesn't realise that new entertainment formats are mostly demand driven. People don't like div-x (the old one, where you had to "connect" to get movies), people don't use it. Same with DVD-A and SACD. Invariably, formats with draconian restrictions on them don't work. And although he wants to label people thieves, there's a very good reason why the iPod is popular, and MS's DRM isn't. The irony is Ballmer himself points it out in the article - "My 12-year-old at home doesn't want to hear that he can't put all the music that he wants in all of the places that he would like it". This isn't about stealing, it's about fair use. 12 year olds just want to do whatever they want to do with their music - like the rest of us. If stolen, free music is the only way we can get there, then so be it. Why pay for restrictions, when freedom is quite literally free?

      It makes me laugh, the 12-y-o son of the man running the most powerful IT company in the world gets it, but Ballmer himself doesn't.

      Which oddly enough is a theme repeated in the second article - his vision for the digital home - which involves "converged devices that integrate video, audio and computer technology". He's pretty much ripped off Steve Jobs' digital hub strategy [macworld.com] from two years ago... and then he goes on to say: "There is no way that you can get there with Apple."

      Sorry Steve, the only organisation you can be guaranteed to not get there with is Microsoft. It makes poor copies of good products, labels consumers who want freedom "thieves", and calls out organisations who innovate as not being good enough.

      -- james
    • by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:31AM (#10428004) Journal
      "There is no way that you can get there with Apple. The critical mass has to come from the PC, or a next-generation video device,"
      I want what he's smoking!
    • Come on now, Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Octagon Most (522688) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:11AM (#10428496)
      Come on now, Steve. There are three ways to get music onto a portable digital music player: paid downloads, rip from CDs (or other source) one already owns, or to "steal" it from another source. In the paid downloads category the iTunes Music Store dominates. It's far and away the market leader and those tracks can only be played on the iPod. All the other players that are capable of playing Microsoft's Windows Media format with DRM can get music from a variety of paid download services. But if more people by far are downloading legitimately from iTunes, and necessarily are playing such legal, paid-for music on their iPods, doesn't it stand to reason that iPod owners are more likely to have legally downloaded music than users of other portable players? Furthermore, Mac users have demonstrated over the years that they will pay more for hardware/OS/software that they perceive to be better. The iTunes Music Store was launched first for Mac users because it was reasoned that they would be willing to pay for the quality and ease of using the legal channel over the free file sharing networks. To the extent that Mac users represent a higher percentage of iPod owners than of other brands, doesn't it also stand to reason that the iPod user base is more likely to pay for their content? This is not to say that there is not music from dubious sources, or "stolen" to use Balmer's term, on iPods just like on other players, but I think it very likely that iPods contain a lower percentage of such content than the Windows Media players.
    • by catwh0re (540371) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:20AM (#10428617)
      Taking into account that songs on iTunes music service are:
      1. 100% Legal
      2. DRM, but with restrictions that people can actually tolerate.
      3. Sold over 130,000,000 songs to date (in less than 2 years since it's launch)
      and that:
      4. iPods are legal, and support a DRM format, unlike most MP3 players out there.(There is no problem with not supporting a DRM format either, are we all suddenly theives for not encoding DRM in our fair-use music rips?)
      and also that:
      Apple have supported more DRM in Quicktime before MS even bothered to see it as a market.
      Then I really don't see any justifcation for any of the comments made about Apple computer. Sounds more like a technique to add some attention to his announcement.
  • Pot... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mikeophile (647318) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:17AM (#10427817)
    meet kettle.
    • Re:Pot... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by frankthechicken (607647) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:21AM (#10427865) Journal
      Agreed, taking Ballmers arguements, I think it could be almost guarenteed that as much music stored on an iPod could be considered stolen as that found on a PC.

      Especially when you consider the fact that most iPod owners are Windows users, and the music they've uploaded was previously on their PC.

      Part of the reason people steal music is money, but some of it is that the DRM stuff out there has not been that easy to use.

      Found this quote interesting, does it really state that people want to use DRM to copy music at home, but can't quite figure out how to use it?
    • Re:Pot... (Score:5, Funny)

      by rseuhs (322520) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:27AM (#10427951)
      Ballmer: "We are going to continue to improve our DRM, to make it harder to crack, and easier, easier, easier, easier, to use."

      I guess that will be done by developers, developers, developers, developers...

  • by TimmyDee (713324) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:18AM (#10427831) Homepage Journal
    That's exactly how you win customers -- by alienating them.
    • by tha_mink (518151) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:25AM (#10427912)
      That's exactly how you win customers -- by alienating them.

      His target "customers" are people like the music industry which he is not alienating. He knows that users are stupid for the most part and will buy what's cheaper and more popular so he doesn't mid alienating them.
    • by rseuhs (322520) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:33AM (#10428025)
      Alienating them works quite well when you have a dominating position in the market: Breaking your wordprocessing format will force your users to upgrade, breaking SMB compatibility will temporarily make life harder for Samba and - you got it - will force some users to upgrade, too.

      I think the higher-ups at Microsoft have completely lost the sense of how to do business in a healthy market.

      That's why everything Microsoft does fails or produces massive losses when not being pushed by the PC domination.

      Just look at Hailstorm. Or XBox. Or Windows/Alpha.

  • But... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PenguiN42 (86863) <taylork@noSPam.alum.mit.edu> on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:19AM (#10427832) Journal
    ... you can use iPods with the PC. What's this about "critical mass"?
    • by number6x (626555) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:51AM (#10428226)

      Well, yeah right now most iPod users have pcs. Of course when Longhorn arrives, there will be a little problem uploading your music, and every now and then the entire iPod memory will be wiped.

      You know that MS will be working hard for a solution...

      From MS marketing, 2006:

      "It's probably due to Apple's implementation of some standard."

      "You could get a solution quicker if you switch to our new win-Pod(TM) that implements Microsoft standards. It uses a new version of Embedded Windows Media Player(TM). Here's a coupon for %75 off your purchase price, and we have a $20.oo rebate as well."

      "But we'll keep working on that i-pod 'fix', don't you worry. When the 'fix' is in, you'll know it!"

      Microsoft, The job isn't done until Lotus, Novell, Netscape, iPod won't run

  • by SpooForBrains (771537) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:19AM (#10427835)
    M$ systems sell very well. M$ peripherals, not so much. No amount of FUD, or lawyer-posturing, will get an M$ audio system into people's pockets over the iPod. It's too late.
  • Mad? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Peridriga (308995) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:19AM (#10427841)
    I really don't know why Balmer is so mad at Ipod?

    He really seems to love his [mac.com]...

  • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:20AM (#10427844) Homepage
    ...is 74.8 stolen copies of Windows XP Professional.
  • by gr8_phk (621180) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:20AM (#10427845)
    "The critical mass has to come from the PC, or a next-generation video device," he said."

    I think he means: 'the critical mass has to come from windows'. Why? No technical reason, it's just because people at MS will have a temper tamtrum if this doesn't go their way.

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:21AM (#10427863) Homepage Journal
    ``Microsoft will steal a march on Apple in making the digital home a reality because Apple "doesn't have the volumes". The critical mass has to come from the PC, or a next-generation video device''

    Seems to me that Apple is a lot more successful in pushing large volumes of next generation devices than MS.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:27AM (#10427950)
      When you see an iPod on the cover of Newsweek with a large peice inside about how Apple and Jobs have created one of the biggest fashion trends this century, one which rivals the introduction of the Sony Walkman in the 80's, I'd say that Apple have been pretty damn successful in pushing the concept of the "Digital Home".

      I've not see anything exciting come from Microsoft in a very long time. I don't believe people are all that interested in the sort of "Digital Home" Microsoft seem to envision, either.
  • by vortexjc (818906) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:21AM (#10427870)
    I took that comment as Steve Ballmer saying more digital music is pirated then not. Does everyone on this board actually disagree with that?
    • by hype7 (239530) <u3295110@@@anu...edu...au> on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:53AM (#10428239) Journal
      I took that comment as Steve Ballmer saying more digital music is pirated then not. Does everyone on this board actually disagree with that?


      This isn't about music piracy. This is about Ballmer taking a shot at Apple because they have a product which is user focused, whereas MS have a product which is RIAA focused.

      Else, he would have just said that "more digital music is pirated than not". But he didn't, did he?

      -- james
  • by MikeDX (560598) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:22AM (#10427880) Journal
    Or did MP3s only become popular *BECAUSE* the music was stolen in the first place anyway?? And so the trend

    Mp3s -> Mp3 Players -> ???? -> Profit ?

    I may not be speaking for the masses, but the key thing about having my music in my player of choice (Archos AV340) is the fact that I can take the music from *any* source, and because I choose to download the mp3s rather than re-recording from original Vinyl, ripping from CD, remastering from cassette, 8track etc Is purely a matter of my taste and value of my time.

    Prevent people from using music easily that they ALREADY LEGAL OWN in one format or another, and see that format/player go the way of the BETAMAX.
  • by your_mother_sews_soc (528221) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:22AM (#10427887)
    I find I buy more music now that own an iPod. And I am not implying that I ever "borrowed" any previously. I have about 700+ tracks on my iPod and when the feeling moves me I go to iTunes and buy another album. The ITMS library is growing, too, and now includes a sizeable collection of the works of Brian Eno (great for coding, writing specs, so on.) I don't know where Monkey Boy Ballmer gets his info, and wouldn't want to go there. Unless all the interns at Microsoft trade music freely ...
  • Unreal. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:24AM (#10427900)

    From the article:

    "We've had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is 'stolen'."

    Because everybody knows windows is all about security. If you put a pirated mp3 on a windows box, the drm system won't allow you to access it. All the windows boxes running eMule and Kaaza are merely figments of your imagination. They're iPods. Honest.

  • He doesn't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bblazer (757395) * on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:25AM (#10427916) Homepage Journal
    Since I got my iPod and used a decent music service iTunes, there have been no 'shared' music on my player. Balmer thinks that Apple cant get the job done - can he say iPod for Windows? As long as Apple continues to make accessories for other OS'es, they will have no problem competing.
  • by BlueTooth (102363) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:25AM (#10427922) Homepage
    Yes, the "stolen" music format...aka MP3 ... when those Franhofenzeigen guys invented MP3 compression, I don't even know why they went with the .MP3 extension. It would have been a lot clearer if they had just gone with the .stolen extension.

    type: audio-x/stolen
  • by jbarr (2233) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:26AM (#10427928) Homepage
    Yet another attempt to disseminate the false notion that MP3 files amount to stolen music. If I purchase a CD and rip it to MP3s for my own use, the resulting files are certainly not stolen--plain and simple. And if I get them from a legal online source, again, they are not stolen.

    Just because someone COULD steal something doesn't mean they will, and doesn't automatically make the something stolen.
  • by aredubya74 (266988) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:28AM (#10427961)
    ...on an iPod is 'stolen'.

    Balmer, "iPod" can easily be replaced with "Windows" in your preceding statement. MP3 has been the de facto standard for music files for 7-8 years now, maybe longer. Were iPods around 7-8 years ago? No. What were they played on? Windows, under Winamp. The masses have understood how to rip their own (un-DRM'd) CDs since the turn of the millenium. Napster, Limewire, Kazaa, eDonkey and many more of flourished (til legal proceedings crush each) with trading of these files. I don't recall using my iPod to access any of these services. Oh yes, that's right. I used my Windows-running PC.

    I know it's FUD, but this is just plain lousy FUD. Anyone with half a brain can see right through his attempt to link Windows with anti-piracy.
  • by VFVTHUNTER (66253) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:28AM (#10427963) Homepage
    from Ballmer:

    "My 12-year-old at home doesn't want to hear that he can't put all the music that he wants in all of the places that he would like it," he joked.

    Translation:
    "When I tried to use my kid's iPod on a recent family trip, my son told me to shove my Barry Manilow CD up my ass."
  • by GoMMiX (748510) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:28AM (#10427968)
    According to Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft: "The most common format of music on an iPod is 'stolen'.

    Uhh, yeah... And the most common format of music on a Windows PC iiiiiissss...........? Uhh huh, yeah.

    So, if ANY company is accountable for music theft -- OBVIOUSLY it's Microsoft - they have the 'volumes,' right?

    Bah! /end rant
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:29AM (#10427971) Homepage
    Most microsoft users are thieves too ... if they actually bought the OS chances are they're running at least one piece of software which was copied illegally.

    And then again ... wtf? Stolen? Copyright infringement is not the same as stealing something, whatever the demagogues like Balmer want you to believe.
  • hmm...? (Score:4, Funny)

    by DeusExMalex (776652) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:30AM (#10427981)
    under the induce act, wouldn't this hold balmer liable for inducing his customers to steal music?
  • Yeah, and? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hattig (47930) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:30AM (#10427989) Journal
    If someone has a budget for buying CDs/music each year, say $300, then even if they download extra music illegally, no-one is losing out as long as the consumer is still spending what they have budgeted to spend.

    Music is a commodity these days. It isn't special like it was in the 50's. People expect music at all hours, but it isn't priced right to meet the current usage of music, so people download the extra music they need to fill in the gap.

    I don't see how Microsoft can claim any kind of moral superiority over Apple. Apple at least had the decency to offer reasonably priced legal music quite some time ago. Per-song pricing allows you to take a small risk to discover new music, or just get the 2 good songs on a modern pop album that are any good. MSN Music is a lot more recent.

    I can only assume that Microsoft will be designing Media Software that will not play non-MS-approved content. Otherwise how can it tell whether a song you are playing is something you ripped yourself, or downloaded? Surely you could burn a CD and re-rip if Microsoft enforced that type of requirement?

    These big companies are only pissed off because online music sharing allows people to discover new music that isn't on the big labels, and then spend money on that music instead of HypedTrash. Most studies show that music purchasing hasn't dropped since file sharing started, at the worst it fluctuated in line with the economy, at best it has actually soared over what it should have been.
  • Open Market (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shotgun (30919) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:31AM (#10427997)
    So in an open market, where I can choose among a number of devices that all do the same task, why would I choose the device that treats me as a criminal.

    If I am a criminal, why would I buy the device that makes my job/avocation more difficult.

    In either case, why would I buy the device who's biggest cheerleader treats me with such disdain.

  • by Wansu (846) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:31AM (#10428000)

    ... according to Ballmer.

    "My 12-year-old at home doesn't want to hear that he can't put all the music that he wants in all of the places that he would like it,"

    I don't want to hear that either.
  • by intheory (261976) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:31AM (#10428002) Journal
    ...is stolen.

    So what if "[you've] had DRM in Windows for years" Microsoft? Windows did anything but halt the 13.6 million Napster users [wikipedia.org] "stealing" music, et cetera.
  • He is right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smartin (942) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:31AM (#10428005)
    Only a monopoly has the clout to force something that the consumer does not want (DRM) down their throats. Apple's can only try to entice the consumer with high quality products, variety, good service. They don't have a chance.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:34AM (#10428036) Homepage Journal
    But we already knew that. No one's going to buy his intentionaally crippled device, and we've already seen repeatedly just how well copy protection works in the commercial market. Microsoft will try to ram their device down the throat of the marketplace with their usual tactic (Sell as a loss-leader until no competition is left, then dramatically raise prices) but people have already had a taste of actually being able to choose how they want to do things, so I don't believe it will work this time around.

    So Steve, STFU and GTFO. The reflected light from your forehead is blinding us.

  • by archeopterix (594938) * on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:34AM (#10428041) Journal
    IMHO, Apple is already there with ease of use (who'da thought) and choice of songs.

    The thought that Microsoft can compete with "better" DRM is laughable. Show me a user that will switch to another DRM system, because, you know - it's better at limitting your freedom better, so you should switch to it, you filthy thief, right?

    My thoughts for Ballmer: good luck in alienating your potential customers!

  • Ha (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sheepdot (211478) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:35AM (#10428047) Journal
    I don't know if Ballmer has been paying attention.

    My roommate is a die-hard Microsoft fan. I don't just mean he uses Windows over Linux, either. I mean he will get compromised because of a failed update, have to reformat and reinstall, and he *still* favors MS. Why? Because of usability. Linux does not cater towards him and it certainly doesn't offer the gameplay. Mozilla/Firefox, despite what I try to tell him about security, is laughable. After all, why should he use a browser that takes 4 seconds to load a 2 second page?

    Now, despite all of that, he uses iTunes. Why? Because where other "free software" fails, Apple does not. They provide a method for him to get what he needs when he needs it. And not only that, but he pays money hand over fist for services/music through iTunes.

    So my question to Ballmer would have to be: If you've lost even your fanbois to Apple, who also has DRM, how exactly do you intend to actually gain a foothold in this market?

    On a perfectly safe side note, the percentage of my "stolen" music collection used to be 100% MP3, now it's 80% MP3. Any MS representative want to take a guess as to what the other format is for my stolen music?
  • by kahei (466208) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:35AM (#10428048) Homepage
    ...is Steve Ballmer. Seriously. They put a marketeer in charge -- bankruptcy at 11.

    Ballmer's appointment marked a switch from customer focus and innovation (all the GNU type people should go off and hate me quietly in a corner at this point) to concept focus and buzzwords. It's amazing to think that there was a time (early-mid 90's) when if I wanted a vendor who'd actually listen and do stuff, I wanted MS. Now, they literally can't make a single statement without chanting a mantra -- 'developers! xml! digital nervous system! drm!' and getting actual action from them is like blood from a stone. Actual development units remain largely unchanged -- but they simply aren't running the show now.

    It's a tragedy of classic proportions, with Microsoft as the protagonist and Ballmer as the hubris that drives him to his fatal excesses -- and maybe IBM/Linux as the nemesis waiting around the corner.

    I am _so_ not looking forward to everything being run by IBM again :/

  • MS Numbers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by linuxislandsucks (461335) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:36AM (#10428065) Homepage Journal
    This year 1 billion mobile devices are deployed with it doubling to 2 billion this next year ..now how many desktops are delpoyed..

    Less than 1 billion..

    The future is not MS PC on mobiles..

    Its J2ME ..Apple just hired people to put iTunes on J2me
  • hahahah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:40AM (#10428102) Journal
    Maybe we should ask the RIAA [riaa.com] about this disturbing trend. What! You mean everyone they've sued so far was using Windows! Hmmm.... Not even one Linux or Mac user.

    I guess its a good thing that Windows users are responsible and would never do something like steal music and put it on an iPod... even though Windows makes up around 90% of the installed user base.

  • by Raven42rac (448205) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:46AM (#10428166)
    What is this sweaty ogre talking about? I have 1605 songs, not one is illegal, they are either ripped from my own collection, or purchased from the iTMS. If iPod owners, were thieves, why would they be spending upwards of $500 on a music player? I am sure they will lobby congress for a legal monopoly on music now.
  • by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john.oyler@NOspAm.comcast.net> on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:46AM (#10428177) Journal
    That last quote, isn't a confession that M$ plans on using monopoly power to leverage into a new market?

    How do they get away with this shit?
  • by ceeam (39911) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:47AM (#10428184)
    If musicians (whoever they are) think that modern technology rips them off, they are always free to go back to old-fashioned ways, like, you know - going in wagons here and there and people will throw them money in their hats. Hard to steal that, right?

    Dang, what makes them believe that they are entitled to millions and care-free lives by making a couple of template "songs" about fucks and drugs?

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by daveschroeder (516195) * on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:49AM (#10428197)
    His distinction doesn't even make sense. He says Windows Media has had DRM for years, and then somehow ties that to the majority of the iPod's music being stolen, presumably a veiled reference to the fact that iPod uses a different format.

    But that logic doesn't follow, because iPod's "paid" format ("Protected AAC") contains DRM (though in Apple's implementation is probably more forgiving and transparent than some alternatives). The "stolen" format he must be referring to is, therefore, MP3, a format that is also supported by all portable music players that support Windows Media!

    Since Apple's music store - which only works with iPod - has by far the largest market share of all online music stores, there is actually more legitimately purchased downloaded music (to say nothing of legally purchased CDs that have then been ripped) in use on iPods than on players that support Windows Media. If there are "stolen" MP3s in use on iPod, then there are stolen MP3s in use on ANY player that supports MP3 in the same proportions. And even if we concede that there might be physically more stolen music on iPods, in numbers of songs, it's only because iPods so ridiculously vastly outnumber any competitive player...not because iPods somehow magically enable more easy theft, when it's MP3 - not the iPod's "scary different non-Windows Media format", which IS DRM'ed - that constitutes the "theft", which is possible on ANY other player! [1]

    So, to sum up: nuthin' but FUD.

    [1] Except perhaps Sony's. ;-) (Yes, yes, I know they've announced they'll support MP3.)
  • by peter303 (12292) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:53AM (#10428242)
    Almost every MS product since its inception three decades ago was originally invented somewhere else- MS-DOS, Windows, BASIC, Multiplan, Words, Windows, MS-Tunes, etc. Some purchased, some was blatantly copied. MS has no business making this complaint.
  • F- Him (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:54AM (#10428253) Homepage Journal
    They are really pissing me off with all this 'thief' crap.

    Just because you have an MP3 does not mean you are a thief. just because you bought an OS-less PC doesn't mean you are a thief. Just because I own a soldering iron and am an EE doesnt mean I'm some 'evil hacker'..

    I have 25GB on my 4G Ipod and not ONE song isn't from a CD I own.. I have several PC's, and NONE run some sort of pirated Microsoft OS.. Either I own a license, or its running a 'free' OS...

    I'm sick and tired of being accused of something I'm not, and then getting legislation passed that restricts my activities, and increases their market share/profit. ( generic statement, this applies to most any 'media' industry )

    To hell with them all. See how little of my money they continue to get from me..
  • by RichardX (457979) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:54AM (#10428258) Homepage
    "Microsoft will steal a march.."
    Sure, it starts with stealing a march.. then it's an April, followed by May and June, and before you know it you're wandering around with half an ill-gotten year bulging beneath your jacket.. after that it's down the slippery slope to stealing days of the week, and even whole decades if the habit goes unchecked.

    Now what's worse? Grabbing a few little MP3s for listening on the go, or depriving the whole world of entire chunks of history. I think we know who the REAL criminals are here.
  • by Sanity (1431) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:55AM (#10428263) Homepage Journal
    "My 12-year-old at home doesn't want to hear that he can't put all the music that he wants in all of the places that he would like it," he joked.
    His 12-year-old clearly has a better understanding of personal property than his father. It isn't for Microsoft, or any other corporation, to tell me how I can and cannot use my personal property.

    Digital Rights Management is all about preventing people from using the tools they have paid for in the ways they want to use them. Often, DRM prohibits perfectly legal activities.

    Digital Rights Management is one of the most serious threats to the general purpose computer, and to the freedom it affords us. The general public must be educated to the fact that the purpose of DRM isn't to protect them, but to protect large corporations from them.

  • by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:57AM (#10428290)
    People who steal music are responsible for the thefts. Kind of like blaming the gun for the murder of a person when even if he or she didn't have the gun, he had a knife anyways. In other words, taking away the medium/gun/method isn't going to stop a crime from happening.
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Monday October 04, 2004 @09:59AM (#10428325) Homepage
    The 20 gig iPod holds 10,000 songs. At a buck a song, that's $10,000 to fill it up. I don't know anyone with that kind of money. Sure there are some old people, like myself, who own decades worth of CDs to rip, but a lot of young people are buying iPods.

    It sounds to me that Microsoft's Portable Media Player will NOT play MP3s. However, if it ONLY plays DRM invested WMA files it will NOT sell.

  • The real failure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by niall2 (192734) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:03AM (#10428383) Homepage
    Here is the difference between a success and a failure. Its the same one as thinking raising cigartte taxes will make people stop smoking and installing light rail will make people stop driving. When you are working in a free society, success comes from giving people what they want, not telling them what they want.

    Look at MS. People wanted web browsers. They made IE. People wanted a media player, they got one bundled that did a good job of streaming video. They wanted a mailer, the got one. Yes now that there are problems with them people are moving to Mozilla based products, but this is a failure of Microsoft. They didn't give the people what they wanted (they don't want to have to be security experts to be able to browse the web).

    People want to be able to have digital media with as few strings attached as can be so they don't have to become DRM gurus to listen to their jams in the car. This is where Windows Media player fails and the iPod/iTunes succeeds. Jobs thought about what the customers wanted and then did all he could to give it to them, putting in just enough DRM to keep the RIAA happy.

    So the Windows folks can think they will win by putting in as much monopolistic protection as possible for MS and the RIAA/MPAA but it will fail. It will fail for the same reasons that all the other media stores and players have to date. They didn't give peole what they wanted.
  • by sethadam1 (530629) * <adam@nOsPam.firsttube.com> on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:05AM (#10428418) Homepage
    It means that when Microsoft tries to smush this market, like they have everything else, they will introduce a player that obviously will not play MP3, Vorbis, or any other non-DRM format. The question is, will anyone buy it?

    The RIAA and MPAA hve done an incredible amount to UNDO what was purposely done - allow the consumer to copy their own stuff. But thanks to Billy G & co, there's this new notion of licensing vs. purchasing. So how long until you don't "buy" your CDs, you "license use of them?"

    The whole thing stinks. This is bad news for the rights of the consumer.
  • by Bill_Mische (253534) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:07AM (#10428444)
    ...and Influence People the Microsoft Way" we show you how to insult everyone under 25.
  • by mbourgon (186257) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:14AM (#10428539) Homepage
    The critical mass has to come from the PC,

    Yup. Just like USB. Oh, wait...
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@comcast. n e t> on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:16AM (#10428559) Journal
    They might be theives, but you cant STEAL with a iPod, you need a computer to do it... and since most iPod users are PC users.... that would mean it was the computers using HIS operating system who stole said music...

    Hence PC users are Thieves.....

    WOW look at that you can spin the FUD two ways here... Why hasnt this guy died of a exploding heart as he was jumping up and down like a overweight gorrila yet????

  • by Amigori (177092) <eefranklin718@ya h o o .com> on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:33AM (#10428766) Homepage
    What about the Windows license that many home users are using? Probably pirated. Especially those who's computer came with WinME and their friend loaded 2000/XP for them. Out of all the pirated material floating around the net, I would venture a guess that MS Windows is one of the most widely pirated.

    As far as volumes are concerned, Apple sells pretty much every iPod they can produce. It was the thing on kids back to school want lists, it will be the thing on many people's Christmas lists, and it will continue to be the de facto standard for portable music players. Sony's new Walkman, what a joke! I'm not converting everything to their proprietary format. Everyone else? What do you see marketing campaigns on MTV, CNBC, CN, etc. for? Rio, nope. iRiver, nada. Dell, not really. Apple's iPod in clever, catchy ads. Apple's iTMS servers handle the demand smoothly and are never /.'d. And to increase volume, the main piece to worry about is the bandwidth, easy enough.

    The article is merely propaganda for those who are too damn ignorant to understand. "DRM...years" "DRM...not been that easy to use" "My 12-year-old at home doesn't want to hear..." Sounds to me like he's shooting himself in the foot and doesn't understand what his customers want. Oh well, that's Microsoft for you.
    Amigori

  • Way To Go Steve! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueZhift (652272) on Monday October 04, 2004 @10:34AM (#10428768) Homepage Journal
    Way to go Steve! Nothing makes me want to buy more Microsoft products than being called a thief. What a wonderful new way to get customers. You know what, I feel like going out and buying a Mac right now...
  • by otisg (92803) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:09AM (#10429198) Homepage Journal
    Let's not forget that Linux didn't have the volume, either. Google didn't have it either. Rarely does anything have volume when it's young. Quantity (volume) is not the only factor. There is something to be said about quality, too! :)
  • Earth to Steve B. (Score:5, Informative)

    by aristotle-dude (626586) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:25AM (#10429359)
    The following happened while you were under a rock or on LSD:
    -Apple has already made a deal with HP for the HP branded iPod (now shipping) and bundling iTunes with HP windows machines.
    -Apple have also integrated their device with BMW and VW Beetle cars and Alpine makes an adaptor kit for other vehicles.
    -Virgin Airlines offers iPods to use in the first class lounge.
    -Some cruise lines are looking at renting iPods to guests.
    -Apple has Licensed playback software to Motorola for inclusion in their cell phones.

    Apple already has that critical mass by having captured over 60% of the market even before HP jumped on the band wagon just through direct marketing to mac and windows users.

    PS. You might also want to take note that the iPod is a status symbol today and many music stars like to brandish them in public (especially diamond encrusted ones). MSFT is not considered cool these days and your "developer, developers, developer" song combined with your monkeyboy dance are partly to blame for this.

    PPS. Get some better antiperspirant when you go on stage 'cause large armpit sweat stains are uncool.

  • by wardk (3037) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:39AM (#10429510) Journal
    Glad MS has the high ground on theivery issues. Otherwise they may be considered hypocritical on this subject.

  • by syberanarchy (683968) on Monday October 04, 2004 @11:52AM (#10429656) Journal
    Nearly all the music on my PC is pirated, and guess what? I don't give a fuck.

    You know what? I'll even call a spade a spade - I don't have any intention of using iTunes at 99 cents. The record companies dropped the ball, and I am now used to getting for free what I had previously paid 18 bucks a pop for. Do I feel bad? Not in the least.

    They dropped the ball when they made huge scenes at press conferences with Lars and Hilary standing side by side to fight the evil p2p'ers. They dropped the ball when they refused to work towards some mutually beneficial pricing scheme that would *gasp* give both artists and consumers a fair shake! Instead, they charge 1.00 a song, which can run you into paying MORE than you would had you just bought the CD.

    Meanwhile, I can get the same thing for free. I provide the bandwidth, they have no packaging costs, why should I pay MORE than I would for the physical media? Because they say so? Fuck them. I know the IP apologists on /. won't like this, but they'll have to accept the fact that we're quietly moving into an era where the consumer - the person that both the creator and the corps rely on - is being returned to his rightful place of power.

    What's that? You want to "license" me your content and sign my rights away with a clickthrough EULA? That's so cute... fuck you. In case you haven't noticed yet, you are on the losing end of a battle that has been going on for almost 5 years now. The only way you'll win is to make it easier to buy your shit than it is to steal it. That means *gasp* reduced profit margins for the corps, and *2x gasp!* no more bullshit rockstar lifestyles for the golden idols!

    This means that the creation of music, movies, etc. would become...*shudders*...ANOTHER NORMAL JOB that you would actually have to be GOOD at and keep IMPROVING on to keep your position! Holy shit, we can't have that now, can we?!

  • by rjung2k (576317) on Monday October 04, 2004 @12:07PM (#10429908) Homepage
    The best revenge against Steve Ballmer for this anti-MP3 nonsense is for all of us to run out and buy an Apple Macintosh or three. It doesn't matter if you actually use them, or give them out as Christmas presents, or sell them on eBay -- the simple act of Slashdotting Mac sales will jump-start Apple's marketshare by several percentage points, giving Ballmer and Gates another thing to worry about...
  • by Teahouse (267087) on Monday October 04, 2004 @02:34PM (#10431585)
    Let's see

    VAX32
    Netscape code
    Java (use, replace, then disable)
    Stolen security and networking from UNIX
    Apple's interface

    Then there's the subtle criminal stuff like;

    Forcing OEMs to be exclusive or charging more (blackmail)

    Integrating players and browsers after agreeing with the Feds not to (contempt)

    Swearing you could not de-integrate said featured in your court case in the US, then suddenly producing a RUssian and European stripped version within 6 months of losing your case there. (Perjury)

    Having your CEO SWEAR that M$ never intended to block out Netscape from the browser market then discovering emails that said you actually did (more perjury)

    Claiming you have a "more secure" OS than Linux when a 6 year old has found security holes (poor development, lying, stupidity)

    Yep, when I think of ethics and upstanding citizens, Microsoft is the company I want preaching ethics to me! Could there be a larger group of assholes on the planet?

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