Competitors (including Microsoft) line up to knock off Apple’s iTunes Music Store

“‘Microsoft is glad to see the labels are providing more flexibility. They’re providing that to anybody, not just to Apple,’ Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said in an interview. ‘We think we can help the labels and shift behavior toward the legitimate purchase now that the flexibility has gone up.’ Microsoft Corp., too, is entering the online music fray next week with MSN Radio Plus. Though it will initially charge $4.99 a month for streaming – listening to music while connected online – MSN may one day match Apple’s per-song downloading onto computers, said Hadi Partovi, general manager of MSN Entertainment,” reports May Wong, Associated Press Technology Writer.

“‘The hardest part was to convince the labels that 99-cents-a-download is a legitimate business, and Apple did that work already,’ said Josh Bernoff, an industry analyst at Forrester Research… ‘If it weren’t for Steve Jobs’ persistence, I don’t think this would have happened,’ said Hilary Rosen, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America and its most vocal piracy fighter,” Wong reports.

Wong writes, “, which is being acquired by RealNetworks, plans to keep charging subscriptions to Rhapsody, its online music service, while adding a pay-per-song option, said company spokesman Matt Graves… Dan Sheeran, vice president of marketing at RealNetworks, sent Apple a thank-you e-mail. By promoting the idea of legal downloads, he said in an interview, Apple ‘is really good at getting a lot of attention – and other people tend to get the economic benefit.'”

Full article here.


  1. Microsoft will ruin this and send the whole technology in a tail-spin backwards. They are and have always been about licensing and I know that it will eventually raise it’s ugly head with this venture as well. If they ever had a (good) original idea it would shock the hell lout of me. Typical Microsoft stealing a good idea from Apple and calling it there own…and then ruining it.

  2. “Microsoft is glad to see the labels are providing more flexibility. They’re providing that to anybody, not just to Apple,” Gates croaked in his Kermit-The-Frog-like pipsqueak voice.

    If I could have one wish, it would be that when Gates dies, he is assigned to a hell that contains only Macs. Oh wait, that would be heaven! Strike that.

    I hope that when Gates dies his hell contains only Windows PC’s and there is no Apple from which to copy. He’ll be consigned to using things like MS Bob – Microsoft’s only Apple-independent idea and, of course, a wretched failure.

  3. Just because Micro$oft has permission to stream music on MSN does not mean you have the right to sell albums or tracks on the internet, Mr Gates. Given Micro$oft’s proven inability to provide a secure computing platform, I seriously doubt that the RIAA member labels are going to lunge at the opportunity to let M$ in this quickly.
    Witness all the current fuss over passport and the legendary M$ (in)security. The big 5 are not going to give away the keys to the kingdom without reasonable protection of intellectual property rights.
    Fear not, Apple is not stupid. The core of the download service is AAC and Quicktime, already available in the Windows format, has it. I’m really suprised that Jobs chose iTunes over Quicktime as the promised means of Wintel access to the music service. Anyhow, the hardest part of the puzzle is already finished in the latest version of Quicktime. The only reason it will take until Christmas for a Wintel version is because they want it to. I would not be suprised to see the iTunes for Windows at the big July show. Just my opinion, but I think time will prove me right.

  4. This is nothing more than damage control. Microsoft doesn’t want to look like Apple just left them standing with its dick hanging out, which we all know Apple has.

    They are making it appear this is no big deal and that they’re in control. Behind the scenes, they are scurrying to come up with something, anything, before iTunes makes it to Windows. Cause they know if that happens before they make a play at it, iTunes Music Store will simply dominate.

  5. You guys are acting like selling music on-line is new.

    Open WMP, click the premium services button. OMG, look at that, Windows Media players has allows music downloading through 2 services. Wow. AND a movie service too!!

    When will Apple stopying copying MS??

  6. Ah yes, have you actually tried the music store?

    If you truly believe it to be a knock off of anything, particularly anything MS, you are terribly misguided.

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