EU Delays Microsoft DRM Decision

EU anti-trust regulators have decided to postpone their decision on whether or not to review Microsoft and Time Warner’s joint acquisition of ContentGuard, a digital rights management company.

Microsoft has invested in ContentGuard for some time now, and along with Time Warner have sought to strengthen their position in the DRM market. Time Warner, as one of the world’s leading content houses, also has a lot to gain from the acquisition.

The EU commission usually has a month to decide if it wants to investigate a deal like this further, and though in this case it has opted for a two week extension to 25th August. The extension has come about because the two companies have submitted remedies to some concerns raised by the commission.

ContentGuard, who developed the Extensible Rights Markup Language, holds a number of patents which are licensed to Sony, Microsoft and others. The patents were in turn developed at Xerox PARC and some of these patents have been adopted as standards by the Motion Picture Experts Group.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?