Microsoft: Apple must stop whining about DRM

Microsoft VP Brad Smith says Redmond wants a piece of the DRM-free action

A top Microsoft lawyer has told Apple CEO Steve Jobs to stop whining about 'greedy' record companies and let the music business choose how it wants to sell music to fans.

"I'm not a big believer in just blaming the music industry for Apple's inability to sell every conceivable iPod ," said Brad Smith, a senior vice-president and counsel at Microsoft.

Smith also told Agence France-Presse [ AFP ] that Apple is "doing pretty well from what I can tell. In fact, I think the music companies are the ones who right now are doing a little less well."

"I believe that, fundamentally, people who produce content and who own the rights to that content deserve the opportunity to make their own decisions about how they want to provide that content to the public," Smith said.

However he also claimed that Microsoft would welcome a DRM-free music deal just like the one Apple announced with EMI on Monday 2 April.

Ironically Microsoft could actually do very poorly out of such a deal as third-party player makers would no longer need to licence Windows Media Player , costing Microsoft revenue.

The move towards DRM-free music will also rankle with some at Microsoft which has agreed to pay Universal Music Group over $1 (50p) for every Zune music player Microsoft sells. Not that either company is getting rich(er) off that deal either.

The Zune was placed fourth with just 2.3 per cent of the US market in February, putting it behind Creative and Sansa, and a long, long way behind the Apple iPod which has 73.7 per cent.