Microsoft preparing counterattack against Apple’s iTunes Music Store

“While Apple Computer grabs publicity for its new 99 cent music download store, Microsoft is quietly preparing for a counterattack by improving its own technology for supporting subscription music services. Services such as Pressplay, which uses Microsoft technology, have been put on the defensive with news that Apple has sold more than 2 million downloads since April 28, the day its iTunes Music Store launched. But Microsoft is betting that new security enhancements planned for later this year could make renting music, rather than owning it, more attractive to consumers,” writes Evan Hansen for CNET

“Microsoft said it is developing software that makes it easier for subscription services to transfer music to portable music players. These services now provide unlimited downloads of hundreds of thousands of songs to a PC for a monthly fee, but they typically do not allow files to be moved around much. Microsoft said it will soon address this shortcoming with technology that will allow unlimited downloads to a portable device–a dramatic improvement. ‘We can already support unlimited downloads tethered to the PC,’ said Jonathan Usher, director of Microsoft’s Windows Media division. ‘The next step is enabling access to unlimited downloads on consumer devices,'” reports Hansen.

“Microsoft plans to add support for a clock in portable music players and other consumer-electronics devices. The clock would provide a “time out” feature much like that used in PC versions of its DRM software. If customers don’t pay their monthly subscription bills by a certain date, access to the files on those devices is cut off,” Hansen writes.

“‘We already support a couple of business models,’ Usher said. ‘The other part of the business model that gets interesting is, what about unlimited downloads? The Apple store is not looking at or supporting anything like that,” Hansen reports.

Full article here.


  1. I don’t believe what I am hearing. It’s funny, 95% of the people buy MS. But they want to be Jobs? Who has had it for years but the sorry saps copy and copy and copy and copy… WAKE UP. WAKE UP.

  2. Dont they get it at all. People dont want to rent music, they want to own it. The P2P networks are not succesfull because you can store the files for a limited period of time on your hard drive. Rentals for mobile devices is just stupid.

  3. Expecting customers to keep subscribing in order to keep listening to their music is a stupid business model. Apple has a much less restrictive model and it works well for both the music industry and the people buying the music.

  4. Always trying to pre-empt the inevitable. The other day they showed their next OS, scheduled for 2005, to catch up with Panther cooming up next month, now this other vaporfriggingware. What is amazing is that a lot of idiots believe them…

  5. <sarcasm> Mmmmm… yeah… so good. I mean, step back and look at all the mountains and mountains of cash that Pressplay is rolling in. Hmmm yeah… so much cash… all those hundreds of subscibers </sarcasm>

  6. “Imagine Microsft teaming up with drug companies. “Your heart medcine will continue to work until you miss a payment…”

    No need for M$, that’s already the current scheme….

  7. Well, its a good indication that Microsoft has been stung by the iTMS. We’ll see how the promises turn out but the business model has fundamental flaws: subscription/rental agreements (a failed model), user inconvenience, lack of instant gratification, poor return for the record companies. Apple will go head to head with MS in the Windows arena and it’ll be interesting to compare the sale versus rental incomes.

    Let’s just hope that M$ doesn’t play dirty and force exclusive on-line contracts….

  8. M$ claims 90% marketshare, yet EVERY Apple move NEEDS to be counterattacked. Interesting.

    I didn’t see any pre-emptive move against M$ with iTMS, did any of you?

    What I saw was a legitimate answer to the RIAA regarding p2p. It seems typical that megalomaniac Gates somehow turned that into how this effects HIM.

    Regarding ‘Longhorn’. Panther in 2003 – Lh in 2005. But, we all know that BG3 will get the credit. Atleast M$ knows marketing. It appears that Apple doesn’t.

  9. Renting music?!?! That’s about as welcome as a fart in a space suit. Who on god’s green earth would ever want to rent music?
    How about a coin-operated television?
    Pay by the kilobyte internet access?
    Swimming suit rental?
    Debit card operated umbrella?

  10. I am more cynical about this than the rest of you. MS will adopt The iTMS business model, and take Apple on, should the iTMS continue as successfully as it has started, as seems likely. It is therefore imperative that Apple get the Windows port of Itunes out, extends the reach of the iTMS to the rest of the world, and ties up as many deals as possible to increase the variety and depth of music for sale there ASAP.

    Even then MS will almost certainly use its financial muscle and a little crude blackmail and dirty tricks to take it from Cupertino. Any bets on how soon after the release of the Windows version of iTunes will a MS security update have the unfortunate side effect of making it unusably unstable? The Bush administration is unlikely to make any obstacles. but I hope Apple at least puts up a decent fight.

    Ain’t big business wonderful?

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