Gates brands Blu-ray ‘anti-consumer’

Bill Gates has branded the Sony Blu-Ray next generation DVD format ‘anti-consumer’. He claimed that the protection scheme built into Blu-Ray favours the movie industry too much at the expense of the customer.

Gates brands Blu-ray 'anti-consumer'

Recently Microsoft and Intel backed the rival HD-DVD format proposed by Toshiba. The announcement dealt a fierce blow to the Sony camp

Gates made his remarks in an interview with the Daily Princetonian, a US college newspaper.

When asked about the recent decision to back Toshiba the Microsoft Chief Software Architect said ‘the key issue here is that the protection scheme under Blu-ray is very anti-consumer and there’s not much visibility of that. The inconvenience is that the [movie] studios got too much protection at the expense of consumers and it won’t work well on PCs. You won’t be able to play movies and do software in a flexible way.’

As the owner of a movie studio itself Sony has a vested interest in copy protection schemes. It is very likely that the studio bosses at Sony had a very big say in how tightly controlled the DRM should be in the Blu-ray specification.

Microsoft has already defended its decision to back HD-DVD saying that Blu-ray had failed to match up to the six criteria that the software giant had for its support. However, Gates’ remarks clearly show that the copy protection is the major stumbling block. ‘It’s not the physical format that we have the issue with, it’s that the protection scheme on Blu is very anti-consumer,’ he said. ‘If [the Blu-ray group] would fix that one thing, you know, that’d be fine.’

Interestingly, Gates also threw doubt onto the long term future of DVD as a physical format. In his remarks to the paper he said: ‘Understand that this is the last physical format there will ever be. Everything’s going to be streamed directly or on a hard disk. So, in this way, it’s even unclear how much this one counts.’

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