How much stupider can media companies get?

Seriously, these people are approaching George W. Bush levels of incompetence and idiocy.

Listen to this:

Microsoft revealed today that no 32-bit versions of Windows Vista will be able to play back “next generation high definition protected content” (translation – studio-released BluRay and HD-DVD movies).

So another feature gets dropped from Windows Vista. These days, the list of dropped features is far larger than the list of actual new features, so it almost doesn’t even rank as news. What makes this one unique though is the reason it got dropped:

“This is a decision that the Media Player folks made because there are just too many ways right now for unsigned kernel mode code [to compromise content protection]. The media companies asked us to do this and said they don’t want any of their high definition content to play in x32 at all, because of all of the unsigned malware that runs in kernel mode can get around content protection, so we had to do this,” he said.

So, let me get this straight. The media companies, forever afraid of the piracy boogeyman, asked Microsoft to disable playback of HD disks on what amounts to 90% of the desktop PC market. Thus, they’re ensuring that the only way 90% of the market can watch HD content is with the pirated versions that don’t have copy protection.

Just to be clear: they’re combating piracy by making piracy the only option for vast segments of the market. Brilliant.

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