ZDNet Editor: Apple will lose, Microsoft will win music wars

“As we await the debut of the MSN Music store this week, I’m amused by the mental hoops the tech press jumps through to manufacture a genuine possibility that Microsoft could lose the music wars,” Brian

84 Comments

  1. The writer fails to recognize that Apple has made its iTunes software available for Windows users. They don’t need to switch over to an Apple computer (Though it would be recommended). When it comes to music, I don’t want something that works and sound just ok. I want it to look and sound INCREDIBLE! To me, that’s what apple has offered.

  2. Ade: you do not get it. M$ is launching a STORE. Repeat after me: S – T – O – R – E.

    To sell a lot you have to have lots of people having a player compatible with THAT store. Now, what do people have and want? iPods.

    The store does not sell players, it is the player that *sells* the store. M$ can advertise as much as they like and they have to convince people that the iPod is not cool, not trendy, not worth to have it BECAUSE YOU CAN’T USE IT WITH THEIR STORE?

    Get real. Real have not attracted buyers even with the promotion of tracks at 49 cents. Why? BECAUSE MOST BUYERS HAVE iPODs.

    It’s the player, not the store.

    WHEN the iPod will not be THE HOT THING, then another store supporting the OTHER new hot player will be the one attracting more buyers because those will have the OTHER player.

    Till that day, the #1 store will be iTMS. Why? Because it is the one store – in addition to store selling MP3s like the Russian one – supporting the #1 player on the market: the iPod.

  3. Also, do not forget that HP users will have iTMS pre-installed, sponsored by HP, and buy an iPod WITH their HP PC.

    Numbers are on the wall already and it is a wall without Windows.

  4. What most Mac users don’t understand is that free downloads has the biggest ‘market share’ by far. Physical CD’s are second. Apple’s store is at 1% at best. No one will ever make big money selling music online. Recording from FM broadcast, cable cast or internet radio is better than paying. Free is the right price for most Windows users. Talk to a few.

  5. Where do these guys come from? When will they learn that 2004 is NOT 1984. Apple did NOT dominate PCs back then (maybe “buzz” factor), IBM and Microsoft did. Today, the Mac line is prospering and the iPod/iTunes/iTMS dominate the online and portable player music world.

    Still, anal-lysts believe Microsoft can just walk in and take over.

    They didn’t do it with Xbox, they won’t do it with iPod users either. The MS Music Store needs 19-cent songs to get people to try something other than iTunes and iTMS. Probably 10-cents songs to get people to pry their hands off the iPods.

    Hmmm. Microsoft can afford that, can’t they?

  6. To me, the bottom line is that once people start realizing how crappy ALL downloaded music really sounds, NO ONE will be buying from downloadable source if they have to pay for it. I know I’ll never download a full album again. I’ve been burnt too many times where I find I’m so dissatisfied with the sound quality on my home stereo from a burned CD that I end up and buying the album again in the physical form.

    Maybe I’m wrong and to most, “the sound is good enough” (to apply the theory a poster above used). I just know that to me it isn’t, just like XP isn’t “good enough”.

  7. The many windows boxes in offices, POS, and as controllers for phone systems are not going to be purchasing music from anyone, including iTMS. These are the vast majority of windows boxes.

    Leaving only the consumer windows boxes likely to purchase music we must give some validity to the “good enough” theory. However, this is usually combined with “cheaper.” People are ripping their CDs and purchasing tunes online before owning any sort of MP3 player.

    The Wal-Mart store is proof the windows masses aren’t going to be taken in by a slightly cheaper price. MS would have to make a superior product/experience to Apple’s iTunes/iPod combo in order to unseat Apple.

  8. In reply to Bobberty Jones
    “OMG I saw a preview of microsoft’s music store and it is HOT. similar to itunes, but different. jury’s up on who will win in the long-run, but MS really took time and care with this one.”

    1- As always, MS is entering into a market where they’ve already had a chance to see what everyone other company is offering and what has been well received, but that doesn’t mean that they spent “time and care” on their offering. It only shows their lack of forward thinking ideas, implementation and execution.

    2- I think this has more to do with MS fearing iTunes as it did with Netscape and Sun back in the 90’s when the possibility was very high that the Netscape browser could become a competing platform that would become OS independent (via use of Java) and make Windows developers question their need for developing for the Windows platform. Remember “Monkey Boy’s”
    mad man chant of “Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers”? If not, go here:
    http://www.ntk.net/ballmer/mirrors.html

    The success of iTunes almost mirrors the success of the Navigator Internet browser by Netscape in which Apple has been able to build a successful platform with the iPod and the services and experience offered via iTunes (music sales, video delivery, use of Quicktime software, RSS feeds, community building with iMix, brand awareness/exposure and brand loyalty for those who are new to or veterans of Apple products ).

    MS flipped-flopped in their comments of entering into the digital music race, originally stating that they saw no need to compete with their developers. Well now, since no competing service has been able to match the service offerings, ideas, software integration and brand awareness/marketing that Apple has been able to do in such a short period time, Windows may be entering into this race simply to lend a helping hand via use of its brand awareness and having the “Microsoft” stamp of approval. Whether or not they will continue to follow through on their business commitment to this revenue stream remains to be seen, but with MS’ track record of dropping the ball on features, missing target dates, releasing products that felt more like 3 versions behind whatever the current version number was, I would offer a very lukewarm welcome to product/service being introduced by MS.

    I would also wonder how long will it take for a competing Windows OS online music service that caters to file suit against MS.

  9. Anyone seen the MSN music store yet…isn’t it supposed to open or be previewed today?

    Every single time someone else has announced an online store, the press goes nuts and either declares it serious competition to or the killer of iTunesMS. And look where they all are now.

    What they fail to realize is that iTunes, iTunesMS, and the iPod are a music “platform” not just a store. Look at all the iPod accessories. Are there any for the DellDJ?

  10. Seahawk,

    You’re probably right, I don’t get it. I may just need reassuring.

    Like I say, what if M$ hack Fairplay.

    Believe me, I really hope that ITMS is No. 1 in 5 years time.

  11. It took nearly 10 years for Microsoft to turn a profit with its MSN venture. And the only way it could compete was to operate at a loss, virtually giving it away, something it could do easily since it controls its own software.

    With the music industry, I just don’t see Microsoft giving music away for that long to compete b/c the music industry is just as greedy as they are. It is harder for MS to absorb those losses b/c it does not control the music on its music store.

    The only way MS could leverage their store would be to offer compatiblity for the iPod. Nearly 60% of the MP3 market is owned by the iPod b/c the iPod is a great device that people will continue to want to buy. With that being said, as long as people want and desire the iPod, people could care less what MS does.

  12. I agree with “Judge Judy” comments that Microsoft can’t walk in and take over just because they are Microsoft.

    For what’s its worth, for the exception of the Windows OS and Office Suite of products, how many MS products are turning a profit?

    It is only now the MSN has made a profit. Xbox has not turned a profit. MS line of wireless hardware products didn’t turn a profit.
    When you consider the amount of money that MS throws into their business ventures and how much they get back in return, you have to wonder about the quality of mindshare at MS.

    Windows and Office are a constant revenue stream because users are locked into those products by MS phasing out support for previous versions of their software or making that same software incompatible with new upgrades to the OS. I don’t believe that Office is successful because users/businesses “want” to have it, but because they need to due to compatibility. The revenue formula is built in.

    MS has not been able to repeat the success of the Windows/Office model. And just because they are “Microsoft”, I don’t believe that they will dominate the online digital music market.
    Besides, if they did those “developers” that they speak so fondly of will also be squeezed out of the market place.

    What’s the word on BuyMusic.com?
    Maybe they followed their own advice and “GOT LOADED!”

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