Microsoft’s ‘MSN Music Service’ due this fall will be incompatible with Apple iPod

“Indie-label executives who caught a sneak peek of Microsoft’s music download service here March 18 at the South by Southwest Music Conference give it high marks,” Reuters reports. “The software giant’s offering, the MSN Music Service, is not slated to launch until the fall, at the earliest. It will compete with already up-and-running services including Apple Computer’s iTunes Music Store and Roxio’s Napster.”

Reuters continues, “Microsoft is stressing the ease of consumer use of its system, but sources say it is no easier to use than existing offerings. ‘They seem to be implying it’s a big step forward in helping people find content, and I didn’t see that,’ says one attending label exec, who asked to remain anonymous.”

“MSN Music Service will be compatible with most portable players, including Dell DJ and Microsoft’s own Portable Media Center, which bows later this year. The exception is Apple’s iPod,” Reuters reports. “‘Generally, we just wanted people to get excited that they’re going to have other opportunities out there,’ says Christine Andrews, MSN product manager.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Generally, we just wanted people to get excited that they’re going to have other opportunities out there,” said Christine Andrews, MSN product manager. “Other opportunities,” as in, not Apple’s iTunes/iPod. According to The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, the term “vaporware” means, “products announced far in advance of any release (which may or may not actually take place). The term came from Atari users and was later applied by Infoworld to Microsoft’s continuous lying about Microsoft Windows.” [source] An important note: any current legit music download service that does not work with the market-dominating player, Apple’s iPod, has proven less than successful thus far.


  1. M$ will be opening its music store this fall, it may or may not be as good as iTMS, doesn’t matter. M$MS won’t support AAC, doesn’t matter. M$MS won’t support iPod, doesn’t matter. What does matter is that over time the sheep will follow where M$ says to go. If Apple plans on doing the leading then the time is now. Apple must make FairPlay open to other services, that matters. Apple must sell a small flash iPod micro for about $150 to bring in the cost concious users, that matters. Apple must get other music stores to support AAC. Large numbers of users, spread the technology, even at the cost of $$ margin.

  2. I think Micro$oft feels they have to be in this market because anything that they can’t control may provide the chink in their armor to losing their monopoly.

  3. MSN Music Service = Microsoft’s Sh*tty New Music Service. The only ones that should be concerned are the other WMA-based services.

    I’d love to see Apple open FairPlay DRM on the same day M$ opens their new service (whenever that actually happens).

  4. it’s funny…

    them using msn instead of the windows media player (that is the reason they’re doing this.. to push media player and bump out real and apple in codecs) is funny because, no one really gives a damn about msn.. it’s not a brand.

    HOTMAIL is a brand, that was not created by MS.. but it’s a great name, a great brand… but MSN?

    all of this is a bit of a moot point, isn’t it, considering that most people who have WINDOWS can download itunes.. this isn’t about the tiny mac marketshare anymore.. (oh well, 80% of legal music is apples..) ms’s leverage is.. what?.. their brand name?! pfft. NO.. their money.. and the xbox.. that’s it

  5. Correction: Hotmail used to be a great brand. It is nothing but a repository of spam now. Yahoo! does a better job filtering spam out and worm infected mails (and the delivery failure notices from the worms).

    I think Microsoft employees suffer from attitudes that are also exhibited by the upper management. They care about technology for technology sake. They seem unable to come up with the applications of the technology. They can’t seem to accept that others have better ideas until it’s too late and they have to employ questionable tactics to catch up. And lastly, while they are arogant, they seem not to have enough pride in their work. As long as it’s good enough, they’ll release them. It’s pretty sad since they hire smart people all the time. What a waste of resources and money.

  6. I wish people would stop saying that the music store is a money losing unit. Any time you start a new business it loses money until you have mass adoption. The music store has a model that at the very least makes 10 cents on the dollar. This is a decnt profit on a business that holds no inventory and is reletively wasy to maintain. The music industy is a multi billion dollar industry. Once CD’s become old technology most people will buy their music online and put it on their music player.
    So here is my arguement: 10% of a $7 billion dollar industry is $700 million dollars a year. That is significant..almost $2 a share in Apples case. Why do you think that so many companies are trying to get into this market, its not becaise the business model is bad. Yes, Jobs said the model loses money…if he said it was making money hand over fist you would probably see more stores opening up. The long term value is going to come from the music store…short term yes, from the Ipod…but at some point Apple is going to have to flood the market with them at a lower price in order to establish its customer base for the music store. Right before 6 months before the MSN Music service starts would be a good strategic move.

  7. “They are such a creative bunch over there at Microsoft. This is sure to draw in those looking for something different. “

    something different is the last thing the majority of ordinary people want. they just want something that fits with their computer. they see microsoft on the music service, they think “ah, that’s the same as windows, explorer, word, outlook…. that’s what i need”

    and that’s the way it works. end of story. even if we know it’s all a bunch of mediocre crap.

  8. Very true Dustybin.

    I spent 20 minutes with my boss trying to get him to understand why “Microsoft having a monopoly” was a bad thing.

    He thought the Microsoft earned it’s place through being better than everyone else. They earned there monopoly through being a better business offering better products. He honestly thought that Mac users were just whiners because they “lost” to Microsoft.

    Unfortunately this is the opinion of most Windows users who will probably never know about the Atari Amiga, IBM OS2, Be OS, NEXT OS and many other operating systems that disappeared because Windows was “better” than they were.

    Most Windows users will simply accept this new MSN Music Store icon (which magically appeared after one of their countless updates) and try it out. “Wow buying Music online what a cool concept, thank you Microsoft”. Simply another “example” of why they’re better than everyone else.

    Truth is Microsoft is best at making the world ignorant.

    What you don’t know can hurt you. But “not knowing” that you “don’t know” is even worse.

    My 2�

  9. >>>Microsoft’s ‘MSN Music Service’ due this fall will be incompatible with Apple iPod<<<

    It will be incompatible because it uses a popular codec that Apple doesn’t wan’t to support on iPod. Not because MS doesn’t want it to work with the iPod. Apple could further dominate the portable player market if they enabled WMA9 support on the iPod. I for one would buy one if they did.

  10. We may never know if we actually ‘lost’.

    It’s difficult to measure your own ability during a competion, when the other party CHEATS.

    (BTW, ask Robert Scoble whether “they’ve” cheated)

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