Oh, Netflix. Things were so good between us, and now you've gone and messed things up.
Back in January, Netflix users had a good reason to be upset, as the Internet-based rental service struck a deal with Warner Bros and Redbox that would delay renting new studio releases by 28 days. While all of us who love their Instant Watch option rejoiced at the new offerings it would open up, you still had to admit it was a lousy move. Ostensibly designed to encourage more sales of Sherlock Holmes, all it did was encourage at least one class action lawsuit alleging that it's a restraint of trade.
But it gets better! According to Tech Dirt, Netflix has now struck identical deals with Fox and Universal. While they claim to be the winners -- since they will get access to Fox and Universal libraries for instant streaming, and Universal is giving them a discount on products -- it's a move that will prove very unpopular with customers. The only real winner is Blockbuster, who doesn't have to delay new releases, and will be the place people run to when they aren't going to wait 28 days to rent Avatar. Pirates will also benefit, as many might just go on to their favorite bit torrent and download the movie for free.