As new, proprietary technologies are introduced, consumers will be faced with noninteroperable products. Despite consumers’ general preference for interoperability, which provides the greatest flexibility and range of use for products they buy, such a goal may be elusive in a competitive marketplace where businesses seek to provide unique and innovative products. The challenge for the FTC, then, is not to ensure that products are interoperable, but rather to ensure that consumers are provided sufficient information prior to purchase so that they understand any inherent limitations on the use of the products they buy.
For example, analysts suggest that if consumers are unaware of the limits that DRM can impose on the uses of content or technologies, they may believe they have been misled. Indeed, in one case, the Commission alleged deception in Sony BMG’s failure to disclose to consumers that the CDs they were buying contained software that limited the devices on which the music could be played and restricted the number of copies that could be made. The agency will continue to monitor marketplace developments and product claims to ensure that sellers are making truthful, non-misleading claims about the features and limits of their products.