SONY What are you thinking?

The reports of SONY’s total contempt for their customer just keep coming in. A second type of malware installed by some CDs has come to light, as well as the Mac versions mentioned earlier. They are also alienating users of their game systems with a proposed system that links a game to a specific player making it impossible to use in another player, say if yours breaks, or if you want to take it to a friends house.

An article in Freedom To Tinker (via Boing-Boing) talks about another threat to anyone that plays a CD in a PC:

What few people realize is that Sony uses another copy protection program, SunnComm’s MediaMax, on other discs in their catalog, and that this system presumably is not included in the moratorium. Though MediaMax doesn’t resort to concealing itself with a rootkit, it does behave in several ways that are characteristic of spyware.

And the news on the game protection scheme, again from Boing-Boing, and here and here reports a patent filing by SONY:

The technology would allow an authentication code to be read and then rendered unreadable, making the software unplayable on any machine but the one which first read it.

That means that should your game console break and you buy a new one, the game won’t work. You’ll need to buy the game again as well. You also won’t be able to take the game to a friends house and play on their console.

SONY isn’t alone. They aren’t the only company using this sort of strategy. They are just bad at selling it to the public. They got caught being sneaky with their CD copy protection scheme and now everyone is on their case. They’ve lost their customers trust.

The idea that you no longer sell a product, you sell – or rent – the rights to use a product is becoming a widespread business model. It’s already commonplace in the cell phone and cable industries.

Take for example cell phones. When I last bought a new cell phone, it was nearly impossible to get one without a camera built into it. All but the most stripped-down brick phones had cameras in them. I have a decent digital camers, thank you, I don’t really want one in my cell phone, but to get one in a style I liked, it had to come with one.

So, I tried it. I took some pictures. Where is the cable to plug into my PC to upload the photos? I ordered one for my model of phone. It didn’t work. Verizon disables that function. To get your pictures, you have two choices – send them as an attachment in a text messge/email, or upload them to a special web based service. Both cost $$.

It’s the same story as with ringtones, and every new feature they come up with. The phone company (landline) has gotten just as bad. Three-way calling, call waiting, caller ID, speed dial numbers, voice mail, etc. Do they need some hardware installed? No. Do they need a installer to come to your home? No. Do they need someone in a switching center to reconfigure some interface? No. They just turn it on in the software for your account. It costs them nothing! They already have all the hardware to do it on your line, they just want you to pay more for it.

And Cable TV is one of the worst offenders. I won’t even get into details, you probably have heard them all first hand. Low prices to suck you in initially, then nickle and dime you to death to get anything worth seeing. The best thing to happen to the cable industry was sattellite TV, except that they are no better. Gouge you for all they can get and when someone figures out a way to get a little extra, they charge everyone for more complicated equipment to beat the pirates systems. You pay for their security.

It’s become the standard business model. They won’t just try to sell us the air to breathe, they will sell us the right to breathe it.

Posted in Rants, Tech Stuff

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