While my first look at Windows 7 has been pretty positive I’ve found a couple issues not only in my own use of it, but in reading some experiences of others. It really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Microsoft is forcing some seriously restricting DRM with Windows 7. With a lot of media making a slow, but inevitable, transition to digital, media groups are lobbying hard to protect their interests. As always those media groups use lawyers, political pressure, and scare tactics rather than finding a new way to work with the new technology. This is nothing new at all. As such it’s not surprising the number one operating system vendor would incorporate technology favorable to those groups. Microsoft is part of that community, they have a lot to gain by falling in line with the various media industries.
Still their level of locking a computer so that a user doesn’t have the final control over their own system is going too far. With Microsoft slowly losing market share such actions certainly aren’t going to endear them in the ears of the tech-savvy public. Fortunately for Microsoft the vast portion of their public market won’t notice any of these problems. It certainly won’t drive throngs of people looking for alternate operating systems. With Mac’s costing a premium, and Linux still having too steep a learning curve for the average user most people will simply accept the DRM, if they notice at all.
It’s sad though, as this would be a time for someone to step up and offer a legitimate and affordable option to Windows. I’m not looking to see the Microsoft empire crumble. Another valid option would force them to innovate to compete – it would force them to also evaluate and challenge outside industry influence over the level of control a user has over their own system. It shouldn’t be Microsoft’s place to enforce whether people are compliant to applicable laws. Microsoft should not claim ownership of the computer in your home, they should help you make things just work – that’s what you’re paying them for after all.
Edit: After doing a little more research on the issue it seems like a lot of the initial posts about this were all based off the same article created by a serious Microsoft hater who also apparently has limited understanding of how a computer actually works. A good rebuttal to it over at Ars.