It’s no secret that I’m critical of the BBC’s decision to buy into Microsoft’s DRM solution for its recently launched Internet TV catch-up service, iPlayer. In a post titled ‘BBC’s iPlayer and the Windows DRM monopoly‘, I expressed my bemusement that, after four years of R&D and three million pounds of funding, the corporation needed to outsource its DRM solution in the first place. However, I never went as far as to accuse the BBC of being corrupt, which is precisely what The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has done, alleging that the public service broadcaster’s management is too close to Microsoft.
… the FSF says the appointment of Erik Huggers, the former director of Microsoft’s Windows digital media division, as the BBC’s controller of the future media and technology group in May this year, is evidence of Redmond-driven corruption of the BBC’s core values.
The FSF goes on to accuse the Beeb of handing over “complete control” to the U.S.-based company, effectively giving up “the fight for open access”. Protests are being organized by the FSF, to take place next Tuesday outside BBC Television Centre in London and the corporation’s Manchester offices.
While I have no inside knowledge of what drove the BBC to choose Microsoft’s solution, appointing a former director of the Windows Media division, doesn’t look good. On the other hand, it could be argued that Huggers’ appointment is, in itself, value-for-money, if he was recruited after the BBC had already made its technology choice.
What do you think? Has the BBC has been corrupted by Microsoft?
Need more iPlayer? Look out for our full review this Monday.