Thursday, May 8, 2003

Microsoft is readying its next operating system codenamed Longhorn, within which is buried a capability that has been nicknamed "the Nexus" - an encryption and permission management system that will allow personal secrecy and digital rights management. Not surprisingly, at the same time Bill Gates bubbles about needing to get closer to hardware vendors. Is this a good or bad thing? We're glad to talk to people about this in detail on an advisory basis, but in short, it's probably not going to be the boon for which the publishing industry is pining. Microsoft's cozy relationship with major content vendors and hardware providers is surely designed to place them at the nexus - that is, the controlling, linked center - of the information industry. But at the end of the day, this platform will only support whatever business models are placed in its way. If the world rejects those models - as it does increasingly within the world of content - no amount ot technology will be able to enforce undesired relationships.
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