October 4, 2004 2:57 PM PDT

Ballmer: iPods packed with stolen tunes

LONDON--Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, speaking to a gathering of reporters here, didn't pass up the opportunity to take several digs at archrival Apple Computer.

At the heart of his criticism of Apple was DRM (digital rights management) technology, which aims to help content providers such as record labels and movie studios control their intellectual property--or at least ensure all royalties are paid and copyrights observed.

"We've had DRM (digital rights management) in Windows for years," Ballmer said. "The most common format of music on an iPod is stolen."

He added: "Part of the reason people steal music is money, but some of it is that the DRM stuff out there has not been that easy to use. We are going to continue to improve our DRM, to make it harder to crack, and easier, easier, easier, easier to use."

However, Ballmer conceded it isn't going to be an easy battle to win. "Most people still steal music," he said. "We can build the technology, but there are still ways for people to steal music."

The Microsoft chief also claimed some domestic familiarity with the issue.

"My 12-year-old at home doesn't want to hear that he can't put all the music that he wants in all of the places that he would like it," he joked.

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London. Michael Parsons of ZDNet UK contributed to this report.

43 comments

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Oh
So most of the music on a Dell DJ isn't stolen?
Posted by iKenny (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How Absurd
No offense to Mr Balmer but to say most of the music on the iPod is stolen is unjust. I guess having over 100 million downloads from the iTunes music Store has nothing to do with sales to consumers. I find his statements to be the most blatent FUD attempt against Apple. I hope the MSN music store will encourage competition with Apple and Real, it is needed to genereate more development as well as diffrentiate the services and needs of the end user.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The most common music file on PCs is...
STOLEN.

A low blow, even for Ballmer. Just shows they can't compete on
the merits of their products, continusouly leveraging the
monopoly OS to gain market share.

How has the Antitrust trial "remedy" increased competition???????
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I beg to differ
The most common format of music files on my ipod is the 5 gigs of AAC files and audible content that I bought. Balmer's comments are a slap in the face of every person who respects the rights of musicians and content creators.
Posted by Chwith (79 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You got that right
I've spent almost a thousand dollars on music from itunes, that
in no way i would have gotten off my fat butt and gone to a brick
and mortar to pay for.

Ballmer ... KISS MY -SS!
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Link Flag
It is an attack on consumers, not Apple
You are right, the comments are an attack on the consumer, and not of Apple's practices. The same attacks could be used against Windows since it's install base has far more "illegal files" than all Apple devices combnied.
Posted by zaz.net (46 comments )
Link Flag
As if there are not stolen music in XP computers
I like the way Ballmer puts things. Music on iPod is mostly stolen, yeah right. As if he thinks there's less stolen music on computers running all variants of Windows
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Most of pedophiles...
... thieves, murders, etc. are Windows users and Microsoft
customers, however. It is simple statistic, Mr. Ballmer. Most of
child porn is kept on Wintel machines. SFW?
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
Most of Microsoft's ideas are stolen!
Steve Ballmer, you have some nerve! I am both a Microsoft and Apple customer. I own an iPod. I own Microsoft products. My iPod music library consists of MP3 files that I have encoded for my use from my own personal CD's. Or songs purchased from the well organized and easy to use iTunes Music Store. I feel that you are automatically calling me a thief because I own an iPod.

I understand that Apple is your competitor. I realize that your firm is in the rare position of trying to catch up to Apple in terms or marketshare in a given area. I understand that you want to push your own technology in the market over Apple's. But when is it ever good sense or good marketing to call your competitor's customers thieves? There are many iPod owners out there. And as you well know, they are the majority of HD based MP3 owners. Most of them are using their iPods on a Windows PC. I would think that you would have a better chance of convincing those iPod users, when the time comes, to upgrade to a Windows WAV or WMA player running Microsoft software, if you don't insult them or question their integrity.

Seeing as how some of Microsoft's most useful operating system additions originated in Apple laboratories, I find it ironic that you would call Apple's customers thieves.
Posted by mike.gw (942 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That will teach you!
Let his comments be a lesson to Microsoft customers as to how he treats the average consumer as a predator and a theif.
Posted by zaz.net (46 comments )
Link Flag
Steve Ballmer: Read this.
Wow, Mr. Ballhead, great going !

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.linspire.com/lindows_michaelsminutes_archives.php?id=65" target="_newWindow">http://www.linspire.com/lindows_michaelsminutes_archives.php?id=65</a>

The most interesting excerpt:

Q: Doesn't that make Microsoft the most innovative PC software company?
A: Virtually every successful Microsoft product was either purchased from another company, or a direct copy of an existing company's successful product. Microsoft's first major success, MS DOS, was purchased from another company and renamed from QDOS. Microsoft Windows was a copy of Apple's innovative Macintosh operating system. Microsoft Word (1983) was a copy of Wordperfect (1982). Microsoft Excel (1985) was a copy of Lotus 1-2-3 (1983). Using revenue from their monopolies, Microsoft purchased PowerPoint (from Forethought), Frontpage (Vermeer), Visio (Shapewear), IE (Spyglass), IIS (Spyglass) and SQL Server (Sybase) .
Posted by Soliton (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How Much Money to Pack an IPOD . . .
. . . or, for that matter, whatever choice of portable, digital music player you might have. Let's consider: $1/song. about 5 meg's/song (well, mp3 since i have no clue about other formats; they suck). 40 gig ipod (that's right, isn't it?). hmmm. about 8 grand to fill an ipod hard drive. it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is no way that 99% of the folks who buy these things will ever be able to fill them up with music unless they find ways other than buying it (please note i didn't say "steal" since i personally encourage everyone to listen to only indy artists who offer their works on the net for free download in the unprotected, .mp3 format. boycott riaa).

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
lets be realistic
I know it is in everyone's nature to get defensive and deny the fact that the vast majority like it or not have at least 1 song on their ipod that they did not pay for. 1 song or 1,000 songs doesn't matter. Now before you continue reading saying "this guy is a RIAA puppet" let me just stop you right there. I am by no means with the labels on this issue. If nothing else the widespread piracy should help to take away some of the power that the RIAA holds. For years the RIAA has had a stranglehold on not only the American people, but also the artists that they claim to protect. They just don't seem to get it. It is far easier to go to the store and buy an entire album than it is to download it. The problem lies with the industry itself, charging $22 for a 13 track cd. Now if they were serious about stopping piracy, instead of the money for lawyers, lawsuits, and lobbyists, perhaps they could save that money and reduce the price of a cd. Or better yet, why not have incentives to buy the retail cd. Instead of demanding that we buy Jessica Simpson's new 13 track cd (with only about 3 really good songs on it) why don't they have her autograph the inside covers of 200 cd's or so? Won't cost them anything, and I can tell you right now what teenage boys would do for a signed picture of her! Nope, that thought process does not register in the minds of greedy executives. So instead they will spend millions upon millions in ligitagion, alienate their customer base, all to recoup a few million? Not too smart.
Posted by (18 comments )
Link Flag
CD's?
This might be a generation issue but many of us have rather
extensive collections of CDs and earlier media. If you follow the
conversation on slashdot on this issue you find that the majority
of iPod owners use this source for the bulk of their content.

It is worth noting though that the RIAA and probably Ballmer
choose to characterize ripping of your own CDs as "theft" since
they didn't manage to gain access to your wallet in that process.
The RIAA web site might have changed but they were clearly
saying that ripping of CDs was a violation of copyright which
they were choosing not to pursue at this time.

So when some stooge like Ballmer makes a claim like this it may
be because he is part of an effort to redefine terms and laws for
his own benefit.
Posted by Steve Bryan (92 comments )
Link Flag
Music isn't all....
There's a fair chance that most Windows PC's are equally packed
with stolen or illegally copied programs. Considering relative
numbers, that's a much bigger story than the iPod.

If M$ can't lock their own barn, don't complain about other
horses.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How seriously can you take an idiot?
How else would you describe someone that sees a company with the largest market of the online music store sector and equates that with music being "stolen". I have spent the last month ripping CDs from my own collection onto an iPod and a very small minority of the files on my iPod are "stolen". There is a guy I know who doesn't have an iPod and the majority of music on his WINDOWS PC are "stolen" files from Kazaa which runs on... hmmmmmm.... WINDOWS?!?!
Posted by frankz00 (196 comments )
Reply Link Flag
no
The previous poster seems to have missed a very important detail. It is not the responsibility of Microsoft to make sure you can't make programs like kazaa run on their platform. The responsibility is that of the user alone. That same user can be on a Mac, Win, or Linux box. It isn't Microsoft's fault/responsibility to monitor or restrict what users run on its platform. Basicly what it boils down to is not a matter of platform or company. It is a public backlash for years of inflated cd prices. Such a backlash is blind of operating system or preference. It is driven by people's own free will.
Posted by (18 comments )
Link Flag
Coal calling kettle black
Its just the same old same old from M$.

Once again using FUD, disinformation and scare tactics against their potential cleint base. But I can see why they do this since their products can't actually sell on merit.

They are like the playground bully, whos been shaking down all the kids, crying that some of the kids swipped a candy from the teachers desk while he stands there with fully dressed out in swipped stuff.

M$ gives a whole new meaning to software piracy don't they? ^_-
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Cry about it some more...
This is what I don't get...
1)so if I buy a cd and give it to my friend to listen to or copy...it's illegal? In my opinion, I bought the cd so I bought the right to listen to it or do with it what I please.
2) It's not just Apple at fault here and if so, we want to see proof...and is an iPod the only "mp3 player" out there? Wrong again.
3) Let's look at how ridiculously rich artists today are. And they get that rich by charging $17.00 (and up) for a cd. (bet they wouldn't love what they do so much if they weren't getting paid!) And half the time, you only like one or two songs...put out better music and maybe people won't care about spending money on a cd, at least this way we can try it before we buy it.
4) We should be thanking companies like Apple for making iTunes and iPod. It seems like the only way to purchase and listen to music today without wasting money and hearing all those ads.
Ballmer, you are an idiot...share that with whoever you wish...
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
They still let Monkeyboy talk in public??
Ahhh, I think it would be the other way around. People using
Windows that own MP3/WMA players would be MORE likely to
have them packed with 'illegal' tunes - not to mention their
computers packed with 'illegal' software! Why do you think
Monkeyboy and co. require all this software activation crap and
are pushing DRM protected WMA and WMV to the big
entertainment companies? Yeah, MS has had DRM for a couple of
years, but it is buggy and has yet to be adopted as much as
Apple's DRM solution. In fact Apple was successfully selling way
more DRM files than all the MS DRM peddlers combined back
when they (Apple) was only selling to Mac users, about 3-5% of
the total market.

Mac users adopted DRM much more quickly than their Windows
counterparts. Mac users always seem to be about 2 years ahead
when it comes to technology adaptation (Graphical user
interface, CD ROM, USB, DVD, Firewire, dumping the 3.5' floppy,
on-line legal music purchases etc.).

This is a pretty desperate attempt by a goofy, uncle fester
looking, fool (yes, even a fool can become rich if he is in the
right place, at the right time, with the right people). Reminds me
a bit of that Real networks goofball.
Posted by dirk128 (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Balmer is my Hero
While MS cant secure a single piece of software, they worry about others? While MS has an overgrown backyard full of weeds, and out of control grass, they sit and worry about what their neighbors yard looks like. Hey Balmer, Gates and Co. - sercure your own stuff and dont worry about us people that buy better products while you play catch-up. Kazza, WinXM, Limewire - all run on Windows dont you know?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Yes
Well put.
Posted by iKenny (98 comments )
Link Flag
FUD in action
That's right, it's FUD in action. Let's say that 90% of all media files are "illegal copies", as in they have no DRM methods in place to prevent illegal copies of them being made.

Let's then assume that iPod users also have 90% of their files without any DRM (or illegal). I benefits Microsoft to point out to investors and politicians how their competitor has a rich breeding ground for "illegal media".

It does not matter that Apple is one of the strongest supporters of DRM in the consumer market.
Posted by zaz.net (46 comments )
Link Flag
Don't generalize, Stevie B.
Stevie, you need to realize that most of the iPod users that you know are Microsoft employees and Windows users. The fact that _they specifically_ are music thieves doesn't allow you to generalize that all iPod owners are thieves.

Just goes to show that even fathead billionaires can make mistakes in logic.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sounds like B.S. to me
I own an iPod and I also DO NOT own any stolen music. The majority of my mp3's were from the many CD's that I owned or I purchase new music via the awsome mp3 player "iTunes". You can't get any easier of a combination that iTunes and the iPod.

Steve Ballmer is blowing smoke up the person who belives what he's saying's butt. I have a PC, but I tell ya, Mac's look more appealing all the time!
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
9.39 GB that I paid for
That's right. I bought the CD's that I ripped to my ipod. I purchase my audiobooks from Audible.com. I even have a few things I purchased from the iTunes store! Why do the "anti-apple" people always resort to such inaccurate information. "Hum, my kid steals, I guess that means they all do!"
Posted by ricbrink (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ballmer is RIGHT
DRM is the key to signing deals with media producers. This is going to be the largest headache open-source has ever dealt with. When you give your customers the full ability to remove DRM parts, you lose all hope of getting content on your platform. Watch it happen folks. Movies will be distributed primarially in Windows Media format, if Microsoft is the only company to properly implement DRM.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Unfortunately....
.... M$ has a lousy reputation for implementing anything
properly.

There is no argument that movie and music producers need to
have adequate protection to distribute their products, and DRM,
properly structured and properly implemented just might be the
needed protection.

But DRM had better hurry! MP3 is the format that will beat the
music protection, and Divx is the format that will beat the movie
protection. Both are on-line and working. DRM is still mostly
smoke.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Exactly!
Microsoft wants to slap customers in the face, but be selective and slap the customers who are also Apple customers. It's a classic case of wanting your cake and eating it too.

Fortunately for Open Source, it is not impossible to create systems that run on Linux or other Open Source operating systems that can protect DRM. There exist systems now to play DRM media from Microsoft and Apple. The problem is getting it in the hands of consumers and prooving to media owners that media can be safe on open systems.
Posted by zaz.net (46 comments )
Link Flag
It must be genetic
Ballmer's son must be genetically motivated to steal, I guess, but
this is father's fault, not Apple's.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Windows Must Die!
I don't use Microsoft Windows simply 'cause I hate it from
day one for many reasons...now I've got one more. Stupid
bastards! Most files are stolen with little help of "Windows
Only" software! What an idiotic quote...
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
What a joke - Wrong Wrong Wrong
The DRM that Apple has works. It stops people from copying from the iPod. What is doesn't, and cannot, stop is someone who has an MP3 file on their computer, loading it into iTunes and then uplading it to their iPod - there is no way to stop this.

Does he mean to also imply that PC users "never" copy songs - that al the software on their PC's, along with all the music is legal?

What cloud cuckoo land is he living on?

Ag.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Oh Steve, Did you really have far to fall?
Well Steve,

All of the MILLIONS who have purchased songs from iTunes are
THIEVES ... point-click-purchase RING$ ... Apple must really
have your goat for you to make such an extremely obtuse
statement.

More music is being purchased legally because of Apple (AAC,
iPod, iTunes), and you're not seeing a dime.

You have added just another reason for people around the world
to dislike Microsoft and what it represents.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What a strange and desperate comment by Ballmer
Does Ballmer care more about protecting music artists than software developers? Surely he must know that far more software is illegally copied and used on Windows machines. One zealous Windows salesperson at a major computer and electronics retailer told me that a major reason to own Windows machines over Macintosh computers was because it was much easier to find and copy your friend's software because more people have Windows machines. Get a grip Ballmer ... consider not only all of the technology that Microsoft has stolen by imitation, etc. ... What about all the valuable time Microsoft has stolen from my life while I reboot their stupid, crashed operating system or download and install a multitude of security patches or defragment the miserable effect on a hard drive, or figure out how to control an unwieldy swap file (should I stop now?). Oh, and also ...I'd be willing to bet his 12 yr-old's mp3 player is loaded with illegal downloads. Considering these latest comments and previous screaming rants and cheerleading by Ballmer at Microsoft's meetings, this guy is a real kick! Can you tell I like my Mac better than my Windows machine?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Read this ...
Same old MS tactics as always:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.linspire.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.linspire.com/</a>
lindows_michaelsminutes_archives.php?id=65
Posted by zwats (8 comments )
Link Flag
Must suck...
...being Gates' Monkey boy. No one in the industry believes what Ballmer says and believes less in Ballmer's ability as M$'s CEO.
Posted by bobtheman22 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Most Music on Windows is STOLEN!
He claims that most music in an iPod is stolen, however he forgets to mention that most of it was downloaded using a Windows PC with all the latest DRM from Microsoft already pre-installed and unused.

Most media (music or video) files on a windows PC and most files played using Microsoft's Media Player are most likely "stolen" as well.

Apple is actually way ahead of Microsoft in the world of DRM, it's all just a marketing spin on the popularity of a media player amung consumers. Apple continues to put a great deal of focus on DRM in the iPod and related products and services.
Posted by zaz.net (46 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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