The Washington Post: Apple’s iTunes Music Store unsurpassed by Microsoft’s MSN Music

“Microsoft’s MSN Music store shouldn’t surprise anybody. The company with its own operating system, online service, digital-music format and media software was always the likeliest suspect to launch an online music store,” Rob Pegoraro reports for The Washington Post. “But Microsoft didn’t rush to open its store last year, when most of its competitors debuted. Instead, it waited until last month — a delay that allowed it to learn from other stores’ mistakes. MSN Music is by far the most capable rival to Apple’s iTunes Music Store, even if it doesn’t yet surpass it.”

“MSN Music’s catalogue includes about 600,000 tracks, up from 500,000 at the start; Microsoft’s goal is to pass 1 million. (Apple’s store is already there.) You can also transfer each track an unlimited number of times to digital-music players that support Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format and copy-control technology — i.e., not the iPod,” Pegoraro reports. “I won’t knock MSN for not being iPod-compatible; Apple has chosen not to support other stores’ download formats, and there’s little Microsoft can do about it. But I will knock MSN Music for not offering the elementary ability to print out CD covers, as iTunes does. MSN Music is a U.S.-only shop, unlike iTunes, and doesn’t offer any gift certificates or purchase allowances, although those are planned for later.”

Pegoraro reports, “If you’re not going to shop at iTunes, you’d do well to direct your online-music budget toward MSN. But for this store to start winning market share from iTunes, Microsoft has more work to do.”

Full article here.


  1. “unlike iTunes, and doesn’t offer any gift certificates or purchase allowances, although those are planned for later.”

    Microsoft is always about adding things “later”, why not in the first try? I know iTunes didn’t have every function at the beginning, but one would think if Microsoft wants to compete with them, they’d at least copy the whole thing from day 1, and not wait months before releasing the “final version”… ugh, the Microsoft way.

  2. quote: “Instead, it waited until last month — a delay that allowed it to learn from other stores’ mistakes”

    What mistake ? Why can’t he admit MSN music is a copy of iTunes ? Instead, he justifies the delay.
    Microsoft never start anything. They just wait and steal.

    quote: “even if it doesn’t YET surpass it”.

    I’d be surprised.

  3. It is amazing to me that even tho all of M$ efforts are just to copy the iTunes model, and they have billions of dollars and hundreds of programmers to do so, they STILL can only come up with a second rate product after having over a YEAR to copy.


  4. Microsoft’s uses of the words �planning� and �anticipating� simply emphasize their utter ineptitude as a technologically based company. The only original product Microsoft ever produced has been the ugly and dysfunctional PMC. Longhorn may be considered new, but it is a decade behind schedule and Microsoft has admitted that when it is finally release it will lack many of the promised features, notably WinFS and 64-bit operation. Without other businesses developing and innovating new and imaginative products Microsoft would have nothing to buy or copy or to offer.

  5. “…even if it doesn’t yet surpass it.”

    I want to know why everyone seems to think that it’s guaranteed that MS will beat Apple.

    I know it’s not set in stone that Apple will remain on top, and I think it’s naive to suggest that, but I feel it’s equally naive to suggest that MS (or anyone else) will definitely beat Apple.

  6. watch what happens when MS’ window handling starts to get extremely FUGLY..

    the latest MSN Messenger 7.. is trying to copy the Apple look by having no menu bar at the top of the windows.. WMP has the same thing.. where MS tries to hide the butt ugly menu bar..

    Maybe someone can better articulate this.. but they try to put the blue bar on Auto hide so the windows can look more like Mac windows..

  7. im not worried, everything microsoft does completely sucks… yeah yeah office, blah blah; dont you hate that little computer that pops up all the time though?

    bring on the yankees baby!

  8. Microsoft should have learned from all the other stores’ mistakes and not used Windows Media Audio. Advanced Audio Codec is superior in sound quality to the rubbish WMA.

  9. whenever i read such an article, i visit the itunes music store an purchase one or two songs. just to show the competitiors what asses they are.

    Kiddo – ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  10. Define “surpass”. Windows may be more popular than Mac (as in paying taxes is more popular than getting a massage) but Microsoft has yet to surpass Apple in any other measure.

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