Is Gates’ Microsoft about to declare war on Apple’s iTunes, iPod?

“The music industry is rife with speculation that Microsoft will announce before the end of the year that it is opening an online store to compete with Apple’s iTunes website. It raises the prospect of an all-out battle between Gates, dubbed one of the world’s richest geeks, and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, described as ‘the first rock star of the technology business,'” David Smith writes for The Observer.

“According to one rumour, Microsoft will join forces with Best Buy, the vast US online electronics retailer, to sell tracks for 89 cents each. A similar arrangement would be expected to follow in Britain. The bad news for iPod owners is that it seems unlikely they could download music from Microsoft’s site,” Smith writes. “Simon Dyson, an analyst at Informa Media, which has just published a report on the market, warned: ‘At the moment, compatibility doesn’t matter because the majority of songs can be ripped from CDs or downloaded illegally. But as soon as digital downloading really takes off it’s potentially problematic. If Microsoft becomes the biggest download site, and it is incompatible with the biggest player, the iPod, that’s potentially ridiculous. It would be a nightmare.'”

Full article here.


  1. Damn! My widget popped up with “Is Gates’ Microsoft about to declare…” and I was hoping the next word would be “bankruptcy”.

    A boy can dream….

  2. ‘bankruptcy’? It is to laugh! haha!

    Still, Microsoft is fighting a losing war against the iPod/iTunes.

    From the article:

    “The bad news for iPod owners is that it seems unlikely they could download music from Microsoft’s site,” Smith writes.”

    Bad news? For iPod users? haha! Again, it is to laugh!

  3. At first, I thought that a $.10 difference in song prices wouldn’t be enough to overcome the hassles involved with trying to buy, download and transfer songs onto an awkwardly interfaced music player in an inferior format.

    But, then I thought of the typical PC user that is willing to tolerate a gauntlet of…

    – 90,000 viruses
    – blue screens of death
    – constant loss of data via the now-commonplace hard drive reformat solution to most problems
    – impossible troubleshooting as MS, the software developers and hardware producers all point fingers at each other rather than fixing their customer’s problem


    Yea, it is very likely that MS really knows the incredible stupidity of their users and could actually sell a hellish interface for just 10 cents less, and actually be successful.

    When evaluating if a competition will be a success or not, don’t use yourself as the litmus test, but look at THEIR users. Just look how long they have their users waiting for Longhorn. Tell me their users aren’t total idiots.

    …and MS KNOWS THIS!!

  4. It’s bad news that Ipod users may not be able to download from the MS site? Is this guy for real? Man, these guys are getting desperate for writing material. Reminds of the “Deep Thoughts” segment that used to be on Saturday Night Live. I wish they would post bio pictures with their articles because I have only seen pictures of cavemen in books. It would be nice to see a real photo of one.

  5. I think iTunes music store will prevail because iPod is still number 1. Though Steve is no fool and iPod does have buried WMA support so Apple is protected just in case� (the world tumbles and Microsoft takes over the world permanently.)

  6. I don’t understand the logic here. If an iPod user goes to a Microsoft music site and discovers the files won’t work, then they will just go to iTunes. What is the big deal if Microsoft has a music site? Will people flock to it because of their unwavering love and support of Microsoft? No, they won’t.
    People who have some of these other players may go there, or to Walmart. If they’re iPod users, they are either converting their CDs, or buying from iTunes.
    I mean, really, if you have a VCR, you wouldn’t go to Netflix to get your movies because they won’t work. You go to Blockbuster and rent them because there’s no way your VCR will play a DVD.
    Besides, considering Microsoft’s track record, can you imagine what this thing will look like???? I don’t see this as a big deal. Plus, once again, just shows how “innovative” Microsoft is…

  7. Why can’t these “journalists” trust capitalism? It is almost like they expect Microsoft to invade people’s homes, remove iTunes from their computers and confiscate their iPods.

    If Microsoft delivers a music service that is cheaper than iTunes music store, has the features that users want, then they deserve to win over Apple. But who actually believes that Microsoft will deliver such a store? They will sell some tracks for $0.89, others will only be available for streaming, others won’t be available for burning etc.

    Apple will win this battle because they are delivering what users want. Apple’s portable music player plays MP3, AAC and more (take note Sony). The iPod has a great user interface (take note Microsoft). The iTunes music store allows you to copy any track you buy to an iPod or an Audio CD and the music doesn’t have an expiration date (take note Real).

    Until the competition figures out that this is why Apple is eating their lunch, they are not competition. Apple is the only company that doesn’t have an ulterior motive for their store. They simply want to sell iPods and want to have an online store for their iPod users.

    Lets look at Apple’s competitors. Real recently fell to number 3 in streaming behind Microsoft and Apple. They have no other products. If they lose the music war with Apple, the company is probably finished. They are pinning their hopes on subscription service. The problem is that Microsoft will own that market and with subscription, there is no lock-in. You simply switch your subscription to another service. Real is toast.

    Sony wants to promote ATRAK as a way to lock out the rest of the world which is why their MP3 player doesn’t actually play MP3s. They are attempting a lame copy of Microsoft’s business strategy. They came very late to the game and really have nothing new to offer but they do own a large catalog of music, so they are still players.

    Microsoft wants to dominate online media distribution for the whole world. They don’t care about consumers–their whole focus is to use their monopoly power to own a new market. Until Apple came along with the iPod they were well on their way to creating an unstoppable monopoly in media too. Now they are desperately struggling to figure out what went wrong because they don’t understand the first thing about marketing to consumers who have a choice.

    Why is it that while this stuff is obvious, I find no mainstream journalist who writes about it?

  8. I think Microsoft’s service will beat Apple’s!!!!!

    Just like……
    and Sony Connect

    Yup, Apple better start panicking and getting ready to add WMA support.

    In reality, this time next year, Apple will have announced that they have sold OVER 200 MILLION SONGS, and AT LEAST EIGHT million iPods and hPods.

    MS will have taken over sales from all other WMA-based music sites (like Napster), and still will have a smaller marketshare than all of the current stores COMBINED!!!

    Oh yeah, and the Dell DJ will die a shameful death. Nobody will mourn the ‘loss’, however.

  9. iPod user: “wait, Micros**t opened a music store. Let’s visit… WHAT? won’t play on my iPod? Quick, lets sell this iPod junk and get a Rio”

    uhhh, very unlikely…

  10. I think these writers are forgetting something very important. People use Windows because their companies force them to at work, and so they use Windows at home because it is easier for them. Their companies are not going to be forcing them to use Microsoft music software or buy Microsoft compatible hardware for music. They will be left to make up their own minds. Some will buy the cheapest stuff they can find, no doubt. But Windows users aren’t that dumb, they are just forced into things by their employers. They can use iTunes on Windows and buy iPods. They won’t have to worry about not having a job based on their own decisions about music.

  11. Whoever – as a professional writer – put on paper “Microsoft deflected questions, empha sising its current involvement in the SonicSelector online jukebox.” writing emphasizing as “empha sising” deserves only big LAUGHS

    LOL, illiterate: “empha sising”. What’s more as two words.


  12. Peter, good point. Given the choice, what is today even close to iPod + iTMS. Absolutely NOTHING.

    And Micros**t does not have the capacity to invent anything, imagine inventing a better combo service than Apple’s.

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