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. Microsoft hasn’t been successful in anything but Windows OS and Office. Not a single other endevor has taken over their segment. Why do these idiots keep fearing Microsoft?
    And at 89 cents, there really isn’t any profit and there is no hardware to make it up from unless they start maufacturing one. And where in all this is profit for a BestBuy…there isn’t.

  2. jdb

    You forget 1 thing. Microsoft can break into your home and disable iTunes on your Windows computer. They have disabled rival software on their OS many times before.

    Apple should pay attention to their various moves.

  3. M$ will lose face one way or another if they do that.
    the only way they can disable it and not have another court case on their hands is to claim another security issue
    that and iTunes is considered to be the best jukebox out there, with winamp being next

  4. Al,

    in this case Windows is the one to have to be careful: how many Windows users will understand iTunes has been broken on purpose?

    This time it is an $400 iPod and additional hundred $ of music that are at stake. For what? a new crap $800 PC and $100s new Windows license in exchange?

    Then the iPod halo effect will truly be visible.

  5. jdb:
    Q: “Why can’t these “journalists” trust capitalism?”

    A: That’s an easy one. Most “journalists” are racist leftist socialist types that think that “capitalism” is just a method for rich old white guys standing around playing golf in a country club to conspire to steal from and exploit poor inner city blacks, hispanics, and various other minorities, while they figure out how to polute and destroy the earth.

  6. that ANYONE thinks the iPod/iTMS pair will be broken is seriously mental. WMA is doing well for Gates and he should be proud of a..25% market share in a market where people curse his name daily.

    But please. The Microsoft store CANNOT, WILL NOT be better than the iTMS. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

    The brilliance of CTRL ALT DEL Windows was that it was the first to really quickly amass all these hardware companies and get them all on the same page, in terms of software.

    With music.. Apple’s sold 100 million songs and there isn’t any reason for anyone to go anywhere else, CERTAINLY not to rock out with Ballmer to Flashdance or whatever the hell he’s doing his pilates to these days.

    Obviously it would be dreadful timing for MS to pull an Apple and integrate the store into the media player software… which is bundled with windows.

    The media player shall NOT be there, and MS has set up a plug in system such that other competing stores can live on the fringe (musicmatch?) and still pay MS for the use of WMA. How nice of them.

    Sucks for the customer, cuz that plug in system makes it ALL very NOT sleek. These stores aren’t JUST about numbers. We alraedy know that the WalMart store sucks big German Sausage, even though they cut a staggerring 11 cents.

    Fred nailed it. Since when is Microsoft’s success about anything other than leveraging a ubiquitous Windows platform, and an admittedly terrific Office Suite (you get the feeling that … looking at Office competitors is alot like iPod competitors.. there’s a reason there’s a near-monopoly: the comptetition blows chunks.. and what doesn’t blow has zero mindshare)

  7. twilightmoon.. how very shocking and clever.. racist left wing huh?

    While the left wing is trying to scrape money together so entire generations of crackheads can go to Harvard, the right-wing capitalists are outsourcing to India, Indonesia and China… paying, what is fair wage in 3RD WORLD AREAS.

    What a dazzling twist for you to call Sally Struthers a racist, deep down. PFFFT.

  8. What’s the big deal about a lame article. M$ will launch a music store and only a very small fraction of windoze users will be able to find it through the forest of malware they live in. And woe if they try to install Service Pack-2 … CERN said it overwrites old library files and installs new ones that result in the blue screen of death.

  9. Seahawk: The Observer is a British publication and uses British spelling for “emphasise” with an “s” instead of a “z.” The space between “empha sising” is probably a formatting mistake, just like there was for “pub lisher.” Btw, luv your name ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Anyways, this article blows. The 1st sentence says: “Music fans are facing a ‘nightmare’ clash of technologies as Bill Gates’s Microsoft prepares a multi-million pound launch into the digital music market.”

    “Are facing” a clash?! Present tense?! The writer’s an idiot. It’s not happening now. It should be, “might face” a clash!

    In the 2nd paragraph: “The Apple iPod portable music player… will face a huge threat to its dominance if, as sources predict, Microsoft spearheads a rival system which is not compatible.”

    “As *sources* predict?” I wonder where the *source* is coming from that thinks the iPod “will” (should be “might”) face a threat? Later in the article, we learn that *source* is Simon Dyson, a co-called media anal-yst, the same kind of nay-sayer and doomsday anal-yst who *anal-yzed* that Apple’s iPod wasn’t gonna take off.

    Simon said, “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.”

    First of all, that’s a big “if”�if Microsh*t becomes the biggest download site. Agreeing with the above comments, it ain’t gonna happen. Second, this anal-yst is a flaming queen. Talk about overdramatizing, using words like “nightmare” and “potentially ridiculous.” Third, this guy has it all wrong. Forget the “if’s”�what we know for sure is that the iPod *is* the biggest digital player and that means since Microsh*t’s download site won’t work on the iPod, the download site’s gonna fail!

    Anal-yst, may ass!@#

  10. What amazes me is that Microsoft spends $6.8 billion on R&D every year and they NEVER have anything to show for their money apart from aload of IT consultants getting rich!

    They haven’t invented anything worth the R&D budget – even the ‘tablet’ pc was ripped off from the APPLE Newton that APPLE designed 10 years ago!

    Wheras APPLE has a R&D budget of just $600 million and yet thev’e invented firewire (only IT company in the history of cimputing to be awarded an IT ‘Emmy’ award for it too!), wireless networking, the desktop computer, the mouse, the computer keyboard etc etc.

    If I was a shareholder in Microsoft I would seriously be worrying where all the money has gone!!

  11. At the end of the day I don’t give a toss what Microsoft comes up with to compete with the APPLE service.

    I will never use it anyway – so I am not worried at all!

  12. Another thing – I thought Microsoft is forbidden to bundle any or their media players as part of windows by the anti-trust case in Europe!!

    In which case, if they release a media player that connects with media software embedded into windows that will be breaking the anti-trust law in europe.

    Therefore – if Microsoft develops a similar solution to APPLE won’t that be ilegal??

    One way is that they may have to have itunes pre installed as part of windows!!


  13. Apple would have probably sold over a million iPods in the last quarter if they’d been able to get enough of the hard disks, and this was before the ‘mini’ was introduced world-wide.

    The production of the hard disks is increasing fast and the iPod mini is going to be a huge success.
    I believe strongly that Apple will sell well over 5 million iPods in the next twelve months.

    In view of this, Microsoft has no chance whatsoever of winning this one.

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