To hear it from the smaller companys point of view, Microsoft has been playing with patented toys from InterTrust Technologies sandbox. And the latter is not happy.
According to InterTrust, a multimedia antipiracy company, the digital rights management (DRM) system written into Microsofts upcoming Media Player 8 infringes on InterTrusts patent-protected DRM.
If the courts agree, that could spell major misery for Microsoft. Thats because the new Media Player is scheduled to be part and parcel of its forthcoming Windows XP platform.
The Microsoft platform, already running late to market, was to have been its all-star attraction this year (aside from the Xbox gaming system). A lawsuit delaying XPs release or causing a feature to be removed is the last thing MS wants, as it strives to embed more technology into Windows.
Through tight lips, a Microsoft legal representative says: "We have been working on developing digital rights tech management for years. We believe it is critical to the future of music, video and other content on the Internet."
Other sources close to Microsoft say that technologies brought into the company when Microsoft bought Mongo Music in early April, an online music-management company, and Microsofts alliance with Reciprocal, another DRM company licensed to use InterTrust technology, may prove Microsofts salvation.
InterTrust hopes otherwise.