“The goal of the MSN Music store isn’t as much to make a profit on music downloads as it is to foster the use of Windows as a platform for digital media,” Todd Bishop reports for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “Microsoft’s Windows Media Player 10, released last week, includes a new feature that the company calls the ‘Digital Media Mall.’ Accessed via a drop-down menu in the upper-right portion of the player, the mall lets users access Microsoft’s MSN Music store, a preliminary version of which was unveiled last week.”
“It’s similar to Apple Computer’s iTunes software, which provides access to the iTunes Music Store from within the iTunes music player,” Bishop reports. “But unlike the iTunes software, the Microsoft player’s mall also connects to other music stores — such as Napster, WalMart.com, MusicNow and others — that are competing for market share against the MSN Music store.”
“Even with the inclusive approach, users won’t find music stores in the Windows Media Player from two of MSN Music’s biggest competitors, Apple’s iTunes and RealNetworks’ RealPlayer Music Store, which use their own formats,” Bishop reports. “However, Microsoft points out that services in the mall are not required to use the Windows Media format. In theory, at least, that means RealNetworks or Apple could put their services into the media mall by signing a Windows Media licensing agreement and building a plug-in to allow the Windows Media Player to play back files in their format.”
Full article here.