Philips, Sony scoop up InterTrust for $453 million

Today, the DRM landscape is much, much different than it was yesterday. Philips and Sony have purchased the most important independent player in DRM technologies, and will be licensing its technologies to others.

This is the start of the DRM shakeout, folks, and here’s how it’s going to play out.

Fidelio (the holding company that Philips and Sony formed to purchase InterTrust) will offer reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing of the Rights|System DRM technologies. Microsoft will continue to maintain their own DRM, but Philips and Sony will turn up the heat on the patent infringement suit that InterTrust brought against Microsoft in April 2001. Meanwhile, most other industry leaders — Apple being one of the first — will announce support for these technologies by mid-2003, and support them in products by the end of 2003. Everyone else will follow, the smaller DRM players will disappear, and within five years we’ll have forgotten the complete mess that DRM is for content developers and consumers today. | Reuters story | InterTrust press release