“Microsoft Corp. said Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit, Walt Disney Co., Roxio Inc.’s Napster and others have agreed to use a new version of Microsoft’s media software that could give the company an advantage in a budding music rivalry with Apple Computer Inc. The new version of its Windows Media software contains an improvement that could allow consumers who rent, rather than buy, digital music and movies to put those files on portable devices — an important capability that media rental and subscription services now lack. Subscribers to such services would be able to fill up a portable player with songs, keeping them for as long as they remain members,” Dow Jones reports.
“Users will periodically need to reconnect their devices to their computers and the Internet — every 30 days, say — to renew rights to keep listening to songs on their players. While pricing plans haven’t been set, online music executives have talked about offering the ability to rent unlimited amounts of music for $ 20 or more a month,” Dow Jones reports.
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