ars technica: DRM and the tech industry’s “girlie men”My point is that, for even just half the price of a single 65nm fab, the tech industry could buy a few small studios and just start throwing tons of free content at the world…why couldn’t investments in free movies and music pay off in home entertainment, networking, and storage hardware sales?

The post’s jumping-off point is a hilarious rant against the Small Picture the tech industry has painted for themselves. David Birch makes a great point, and Hannibal goes on, in classic back-of-the-envelope fashion, to nail it home.

And one could even debate the meaning of free here. Free as in beer as well as free from DRM would certainly be awesome, and presumably would sell the maximal amount of hardware (at least in some hypothetical scenarios), but a case could be made for selling DRM-less, CC-licensed material that you (the hardware manufacturer and media mogul) encourage/allow/expect widespread redistribution of. It’s a double dip; you get paid (something) for the initial sale of the media, and you make more money, razorblades-style, on the storage, transmission, and player hardware required to support the entertainment infrastructure you’re building out!

There’s no question that content sells hardware; Apple settled that. Yes, they use DRM, but that’s at least partially because that they had no choice, seeing as they don’t own the vast majority of the content they transfer. A hardware manufacturer that controlled their own studios could make different choices, and simultaneously leverage the vast podosphere and videoblog landscape.

Sure…it might not work; but bankrolling RocketBoom, Atom Films, and The Podcast Network for a couple of years as an experiment would practically be a rounding error on Intel’s books.

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