The very instant Microsoft announced its PlaysForSure™ logo programme the vultures (and not just the Reg vultures) started circling. Any company so foolish as to promote something that looked and felt so much like a guarantee as this would be riding for a fall, and Microsoft doing it... well.
PlaysForSure™ is Microsoft's interesting spin on the virtuous closed circle of WMA format, WMA player, Windows Media Player, DRM and (they wish) every audio and video provider and store on the planet. This Microsoft propounded and controlled food chain is not presented as one that moves a steady supply of bucks from your pocket to the trough up at its top by use of a closed format. On the contrary, it is an "open" format (we saw this without the inverted commas on an allegedly grown-up news site the other day. Tut.) which provides you with the security of knowing that your digital files (not that you actually own any, as such) will play with ease on anything displaying the PlaysForSure™ logo.
So you insist on PlaysForSure™. You won't have anything but PlaysForSure™ files on your hardware, if an online store does not display the PlaysForSure™ logo then you walk on by, if the new hardware you're buying doesn't have the PlaysForSure™ logo then you're going to be very, very sceptical about it, right? Aw, come on people, at least give it a shot...
Anyway, you can learn much more (actually not much more, as the more businesslike details are in a less consumer-facing part of the site) by going to http://www.playsforsure.com. Except at time of posting this morning, it was BrokeForSure, so you couldn't. Microsoft might do well to consider who it is that god punishes, and why.
When they're fixing it the Redmond morlocks might care to give some attention to another issue we noticed yesterday before the site fell over totally. Opera declaring itself as Opera got an apparently broken page, but was OK if it claimed to be IE. Par for the course? For sure (there's always something that is), but we couldn't help noticing that the error message arrived after the browser was first fielded to this page: http://www.playsforsure.com/MobileDefault.aspx. Now, we're just guessing here, but that kind of looks like where a site might be putting you if you were accessing it via a mobile phone. And if that's the case, then it would suggest Microsoft recognises that Opera is a leading browser on mobile platforms, and is trying to cater for it. Which is an upside. Downside is that it doesn't work with Opera running on lots of other stuff (a Mac in this case, since you ask). ®