Last week we were startled to learn about Zune’s viral DRM system. As it turns out, the whole thing may have been a miscommunication on the part of Microsoft’s Zune Insider. But that doesn’t mean that Zune isn’t responsible for spreading the DRM virus. On the contrary, there’s mounting evidence that Zune is directly responsible for a mutation of the virus.
With the release of Zune, Microsoft has intentionally turned its back on its previous DRM standard – the PlaysForSure system. As a result, PlaysForSure partners are starting to drop support for Microsoft’s old DRM system in favor of their own proprietary DRM systems.
On Monday Real Networks and SanDisk announced that the Rhapsody music service will be switching from PlaysForSure to Real’s own Rhapsody DNA system. In an attempt to emulate Apple’s iTunes/iPod experience, SanDisk will release a new player that will be tightly integrated with the Rhapsody music service. The move is designed to position both companies against the upcoming Zune Marketplace as well as iTunes.