Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Are Sony really this nasty?

Spotted this comment in the off-topic thread on Groklaw:

And speaking of hardware shenanigans, a friend of mine just recently bought a Sony CD recorder, only to get it home and find out that it wouldn't record on any of his blank CDs. After experimenting, I discovered that it only records on Sony "digital audio" CDs. Talk about product lock-in!

Now he bought it because the burner in his computer was no longer working (would read, but not write), and since he's a musician, he thought rather than replace the one in his computer, he'd buy the standalone because it also let him record directly from analog sources. So I asked him about the one in his computer. He said it stopped working after his wife had upgraded something on the computer.
That made me think "hmmmmm", so I offered to look at it. Surprise!
The 'upgrade' his wife had done was to replace the CD burner... with a Sony! So I popped a blank Sony CD into that, and lo and behold, it suddenly worked.

Not sure how that's legal, but they are clearly doing it. But they lost a customer... he took the recorder back to Best Buy for a refund, and he's replacing the burner in the computer.

That's kind of weird, and you think would fall afoul of various laws relating to consumer protection & anti-competitive behaviour. I'm pretty sure it would be illegal here in Oz unless the fact the burner only worked with Sony branded CDs was prominently marked on the box.

I presume the guy is trying to burn standard Redbook audio CDs, so I can't see any reason why any other media wouldn't be acceptable, other than Sony trying to force people to buy their (often overpriced) product. Just like the printer manufacturers & their proprietary ink cartridges, I suppose.

Does anyone know anything more about this issue?

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