According to ComputerWorld blogger David Haskin, Microsoft is in the process of letting its first-generation digital rights management service, PlaysForSure, slowly wither away, in favor of putting all of its energy behind the shiny brown turd it unleashed a couple of months ago. (Has it been that long already?) PlaysForSure is used by older Windows Media-based services like Napster and Urge; Haskin, who reviewed the Zune for the magazine, also noticed this bit of nefarious behavior:
I subscribe to Rhapsody software, which I stopped using temprorarily when I reviewed Zune. When I was finished with the review, I shipped the Zune back to Microsoft but forgot about the Zune software on my system. I went back to using Rhapsody but … Rhapsody didn’t work. I couldn’t transfer music downloaded to Rhapsody to my media player. It did start working, however, when I uninstalled Zune.
Did Microsoft disable it’s one-time ally, Rhapsody, on purpose or was it a coincidence? We’ll never know, but one thing is clear: Rhapsody, Napster, Yahoo! Music Service, the imploding Virgin Digital and others that bought into Microsoft’s one-time dream of beating Apple will have to figure out what to do now that Microsoft has decided to compete against them and not support them.
While this is bad news for anyone who didn’t want to have to shell out more money for yet another digital-music upgrade, we’re betting that Microsoft reacted to this item with glee–hey, for once, a Zune did something right.