Similar in spirit?
Posted Oct 5, 2006 16:05 UTC (Thu) by sepreece
In reply to: Similar in spirit?
Parent article: Similar in spirit?
I can't speak to whether "most manufacturers" are pro-DRM. I'm not sure even what that would mean.
Manufacturers DO want to be able to play the content that their customers want access to and they DO want to be able to build devices that talk to services that their customers want to use, both of which often require some kind of DRM, so you could say that manufacturers support having hte ability to DRM when producing such devices.
In more general terms, manufacturers aren't crazy about DRM. It raises the cost of their hardware, increases the complexity of their designs (and, therefore, the development and maintenance cost of their products), and creates downstream user problems. You say "Customers have to replace their products for newer versions of the DRM" the manufacturer says "I have to redesign my product more often." Manufacturers love it when they can use the same design over and over, for years and years; it builds margins.
On the other hand, manufacturers generally would like to be able to keep consumers fingers out of the insides of their products, because it adds support costs and potential civil liabilities. Even if you say "Modifying this device voids your warranty.", in practice, people STILL expect to get support in that case. Also, when a modified device breaks and causes damage, either to the user or to a network or a content provider, the manufacturer STILL can get sued, both for direct liability and for negligence in not preventing the user from making the change. It also offers opportunities for bad PR - when cell phone batteries explode it is virtually always non-manufacturer batteries that are involved, bu the press usually just uses the manufacturer's name in the story.
And, remember, the number of people who want to change their software is a tiny fraction of the total device market. So, the manufacturer has to spend money and accept risks to support a community that has no real impact on the market for the device. Those costs end up factored into the price of the devices, so people who have no interest in the freedom to modify the device end up paying something to support the wishes of the small group that do want that freedom.
It's just not a simple equation...
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