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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-09-16 Print this article Print

Microsoft has already applied for a patent for a DRM operating system but would not say if the DRM server would be based on this.

In an interview last week with eWeek, Jim Allchin, Microsofts group vice president for platforms, said a DRM server is but one of three server infrastructure applications coming next year (see interview).

"You can expect to see wide betas for Greenwich, the second version of SharePoint Team Services and the work we are doing in DRM, which is another server thats going to come out," Allchin said.

Some potential DRM customers tentatively welcomed Microsofts plan. Dave DeBona, a technical consultant working for a catalog and Web retailer in Columbus, Ohio, said DRM initiatives will enable the multibranded company to better protect its brand assets in a proactive way, as opposed to the current legal alternatives.

"But, of course, any technology can be twisted and misdirected. Anyone proclaiming to protect assets for others is scary. We typically feel safer guarding our own chicken coop," DeBona said. "We will evaluate Microsofts DRM offering, with extra attention paid to security. A healthy dose of skepticism never hurts."

John Persinger, an internal network administrator for Source4 Inc., in Roanoke, Va., said Microsoft will likely try to "crush any DRM competition." If successful, that would leave some 80 percent of those "digital assets" in its control, Persinger said. "While I wont use the word monopoly, you can see the dangers of that type of widespread control," he said. ´

Additional reporting by Dennis Fisher and Mary Jo Foley, editor of Ziff Davis Microsoft Watch newsletter

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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