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Evil companies can turn good

…And it’s something we’re going to see a lot of in 2006.

FactoryJoe had a meeting with Microsoft (in a social setting, I don’t think for a job…) in which he was floored, me to, on someone from Microsoft saying:

“…even though that might not be as open as you might like, we are learning.”

Now, in the past I’ve been quoted as saying “Microsoft – there’s a company I would never work for“. My ex-boss Skardhamar used to work for MSN before coming to the BBC – oh, how we used to laugh… 🙂

But you know what – big business is slowing coming round, in the same way that the uber-far-out ‘everything should be free’ crowd has come into the fold quite a bit in recent years. Microsoft is a great example of that – and whilst they are not there yet in my mind – they’ve come along way.

What I’m trying to say is there’s a happy medium for everyone. And I think we’ll see more and more companies – big companies – in tech and media adopting a corporate persona that far more embraces the concepts of accountability, transparency, openness, freedom, forward-thinking that they did 5 years ago.

There is enough proof that this can have a positive affect on their bottom line, and that’s what business wants to hear. Normal people – not just ‘with it’ folk like you and me – are also beginning to understand that they can demand things to be on their terms.

I’ll leave you with this thought: DRM would fail overnight if no-one bought media that used it.

Published in Thoughts and Rants


  1. I agree – we’re moving from a discourse based around “values” to one based around “competitive advantage” and bottom-line number crunching. Fortunately the values [of fairness, honesty, and openess] are still there [mostly] but they’re being given some hard edged accountacy ‘sense’.

    This post sounds like your positioning yourself Ben…
    “Ben as saviour of once evil corporate empire”? 😛

  2. I’ll leave you with this thought: DRM would fail overnight if no-one bought media that used it.

    Not a hugely significant statement in my view. Consumer power is overstated, if not a fallacy. You could just as easily say ‘petrol-guzzling cars would fail overnight if no-one bought them’ or ‘unhealthy ready meals would fail overnight if no-one bought them’.

    Both statements are technically true – but you can hardly say that it’s entirely the consumer’s fault for driving atmosphere-polluting cars and eating themselves into obesity and Ill-health. Yes, we are all responsible for our own actions to some degree, but we should never underestimate the power of corporations to dictate consumer behaviour. It’s not just advertising and marketing – the lack of any realistic alternatives is one of the biggest factors.

    Is it the consumer’s fault that people now have to drive to supermarkets as all the small local shops were driven out of business? Is it the consumer’s fault for being stupid enough to buy vinyl and cassettes and then having to re-purchase the same music again on CD? Is it the consumer’s fault for buying DRMed music, when the software comes packaged with the leading, heavily-advertised portable music players, and when there are no legal alternatives?

    Rant over… 🙂


  3. Jim Jim

    They are going to stick DRM up every persons arse and take away every consumer right there is until one day the consumer will just say no more.

    The technoloical consumer is already saying no thanks in a very big way by downloading unpaid for content. People in this day and age dont hold the same personal value to content as one used to.

    Most of those downloading the content are proably between 12 to 35 and it will only continue to further generations until most people value content much less and demand far more for every penny.

    The idea of paying $2 for one episode of a television episode which will air for free on TV is disgusting. One season would cost $50 for heavily DRM’d content which cannot be easily used on any other system than Apples iPod. It wont last.

  4. Jim – makes the BBC license fee seem very good value even with the price hike to come.

  5. Jim Jim

    Thats the thing, I’ve never had any problem with the lic. fee – a subscription based model for all content is perfect – people cannot afford to pay per item which is why a single fee is good for me.

  6. you are such a good writer

  7. I believe this site contains some rattling wonderful information for everyone :D. “Time–our youth–it never really goes, does it It is all held in our minds.” by Helen Hoover Santmyer.

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