CNET: Will Microsoft’s ‘Janus’ to be an iPod killer?  MDN: Nope

“Microsoft is expected to unveil copy-protection software this summer that will for the first time give portable digital music players access to tunes rented via all-you-can-eat subscription services–a development that some industry executives believe will shake up the online music business,” John Borland reports for CNET News. “This summer may see the beginnings of a shake-up in the online-music industry–sources say new Microsoft copy-protection technology will finally arrive, bringing the all-you-can-eat subscription model to portable players.”

Borland reports, “Bottom line: If fans of iPod-like devices can be convinced to drop the idea of owning song files, they could shift to paying a subscription fee for ongoing access to hundreds of thousands of tunes–something that would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars under the current dollar-per-download paradigm.”

Borland reports, “Sources say the technology–code-named Janus and originally expected more than a year ago–was recently released in a test version to developers and that a final release is now expected as soon as July. Janus would add a hacker-resistant clock to portable music players for files encoded in Microsoft’s proprietary Windows Media Audio format. That in turn would help let subscription services such as Napster put rented tracks on portable devices–something that’s not currently allowed. Fans of portable players could then pay as little as $10 a month for ongoing access to hundreds of thousands of songs, instead of buying song downloads one at a time for about a dollar apiece.” Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Awww, forget it – read the rest yourself if you want. Using “Microsoft” and “hacker-resistant” in the same sentence killed all credibility for us. But, thanks for the laughs, John. Some people just don’t get it. We like to own, not rent. Music, that is. But, have fun wasting millions trying to go against human nature. The government is also very good at this, but we digress. MS should’ve named it “Failure” instead of “Janus” because that’s what it’ll be in the end. (And, please, CNET, the ‘iPod Killer’ phrase is old and tired already, you can give it up and stop recycling it into every headline to do with digitial music.)


  1. If they could come up with a portable device that wirelessly accesses the subscription database so you could update your rented songs on the go, that may be an iPod killer. But until then, the first iPod killer will come from Apple. Who knows what Steve is working on?


  2. Dave H: I couldn’t agree with you more! We really ought to have an iPod death knell counter somewhere, and what better place than right here at MDN!

  3. Come on guys, the brainless rah-rahing around here makes me sick. This might be the twin of Paul Thurrot’s SuperSite. Learn to think critically once in a while.

    While such a system probably will be hackable, look at this from a marketing angle – right now the big advantage for Apple (besides the iPod itself) is that you can then carry all of these songs with you. What happens when Roxio et al come out and say you can do the same with theirs, but with thousands of songs a month for $10?

  4. Most of my friends refuse to purchase music online because they want to own the physical CD – the liner notes and such.

    Until they have a player that will hold these ‘hundreds of thousands of songs’ it just won’t fly. I can’t see myself paying $120/yr to rent songs. However, I can see myself paying $120/yr for satallite radio.

    At least with those Rent to own furniture & appliance places you eventually own that $400 refrigerator – granted, you paid $1,500.

    Services such as Napster will pay M$ millions for this new software as will the manufacturers of the players. Rob Glaser will then beg Apple to permit Janus subscription on the iPod so he can rent more music. The only one to gain from this will be M$ which may or may not recoup their development costs.

  5. Dude, where’s my music?????? I asked the support rep. Well sir, she replied (using the accent she learned watching Sex in the City in her US culture, technical training class), your check was delayed by last weeks snow storm so your account has been disabled. I will be glad to reinstate your ability to play OUR music after you have paid the 50 dollar reinstatement fee and you are paid up for this month. But, but, but I stammered, anxiety building as I realized that my teenage daughter will never believe that I didn’t do it on purpose to ruin her party which starts in a hour. I wondered if 35 preteen girls would understand DRM and licensing as I proceeded to plead for some way to bypass the 3 day waiting period before my “deliquent” account would be reactivated.

  6. I would think that with that idea….you are not allowed to use the music to add into your iMovie home made movies. The person watching the movie may have to be a subscriber, other wise it will be….uh….silent during that time the song is “supposed” to play.


  7. “access to hundreds of thousands of tunes–something that would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars under the current dollar-per-download paradigm.”

    Who has the time to listen to hundreds of thousands of tunes. I don’t know about you, but I usually buy a few albums, listen to them until I know almost every word…and then move on.
    This is very flawed…no surprise though.

  8. If this is the best they can come up with they might as well quit trying. What a retarded idea. I don’t want hundreds of thousands of songs and I certainly don’t want to rent my music. I just want my preferred tunes easily available. Apple got it right.

  9. Steve, let’s bury everyone early by giving us XM on our iPods!! That’s what we really need! Satellite on a portable music player!! That can’t be beat!

  10. If this is a poll, then I, too, prefer to pay for the songs I like once and for all and own them. It makes me feel good to own them. They are mine forever. Me and my Music. My Music and Me. I listen to songs still now that I listened too and liked 30 years ago and will probably still be listening to them 30 years hence. I guess I could rent them for the next 30 years but really I would rather just pay the buck now and have done with it.

  11. I don’t understand how the artists get paid in the subscription model. Wouldn’t the artist that are popular have a disincentive to produce better work? Do the artists still get paid by download? Why would the best music artists want this? Isn’t subscription like communism, sharing all the revenue?

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