Microsoft attempts to isolate Apple with ‘PlaysForSure’ logo plan

“Microsoft has put… the ‘PlaysForSure’ logo onto any device that offers its proprietary software. The idea is to isolate Apple with ownership of the market and imply that Apple is the odd one out. And we’re sure, that to some extent, among some types of customers, it will work,” Faultline writes for The Register. “Microsoft’s plan seems to be targeted directly at Apple, for the sake of hurting Apple, rather than for the sake of making money. On the one hand it has acted as a design focal point to stimulate all of these companies to offer hardware against Apple. And on the other it has also provided a route into 30 online music stores around the world through integration with Windows Media Player 10, as well as launching its own MSN Music Store. The plan seems to be that some companies can build online music stores, others can build devices, and Microsoft will make it all come together because it all uses standard software in the middle. Security is assured through the bundled DRM.”

“Presumably any player can be used with any online music service as long as it uses Microsoft formats,” Faultline writes. “But we’d like to know who, exactly, is responsible for the customer experience? Is it the designer of the portable player hardware, the designer of the online music service or the constraints of Windows Media 10?”

“Steve Jobs is fond of saying things like, ‘It’s the Music stupid,’ and he has a point: it begins with the quality of song and its playback, and takes in the breadth of choice, ease of use and enjoyment, and permanent ownership of a collection of music,” Faultline writes. “Many of these services that Microsoft is supporting want you to pay for a music collection every month for the rest of your life. Stop paying and your subscription service is cut off and you retain no music. These are known to be weak models and perhaps they will fail entirely on the lack of appeal of this business model.”

“But the idea that Microsoft beat Apple in the PC market, and so quite naturally it can pull the same trick in the music market, is perhaps a little oversimplified. Apple has its customers already, Microsoft has yet to find its customers. Apple makes over $1bn of revenue from iPod sales, Microsoft cannot expect that money, because it’s only supplying a small part of the software for the MP3 players,” Faultline writes. “Microsoft gives its media player away free (illegally in the view of the European Commission), so where does it make its money? From music sales? Well so far that only amounts to $150m, even for Apple, and most of that goes to record companies. Microsoft may have covered the Apple play, just to stop it stealing a head start in other markets, but we can tell what the US stock market thinks by the way that Apple’s stock climbed over $2bn after its figures came out, while Microsoft’s has stayed flat as a pancake all week. Investors, at least, don’t think that Microsoft can undo everything Apple has worked for over the past three years, in one single announcement.”

Full article, an excellent read, with much more here.

Related MacDailyNews article:
Microsoft unveils ‘PlaysForSure’ logo which signifies incompatiblity with Apple iPod and iTunes Music Store – October 16, 2004


  1. Can someone really state “Plays For Sure” when using a subscription service?

    Can someone really state “Plays For Sure” when using Windows Media Player and any other CPU intensive ap?

    Can someone really state “Plays For Sure” when using a device powered by batteries?

    Do you think ANY salesperson will stand by that label?

    No one will take it seriously, and everyone will see it as the lame attempt that it really is; trying to make people think their overweight pig is a thoroughbred race horse.

    This has disaster written all over it! Once again, proof that Microsoft is being run by the sales/marketing department and not the engineering department. No designer in their right mind would dare to label ANYTHING “Plays For Sure”!!

  2. The majority of music consumed is still by P2P networks, so much so it’s not funny. Legal sales are but a tiny percentage compared to P2P.

    Most of these files are MP3.

    The way Microsoft says “We’ll make our DRM harder and harder to crack” and their draconian ways will ensure again that the only way you can rip a cd is in their copy protected format. With a “phoning home” of a person’s playlist.

    P2P people don’t want to hear that, when they see the “Play For Sure” logo they won’t buy it.

    Microsoft is famous for altering the gameplan further down the road once they got control.

    Apple doesn’t care what you do, even their DRM is weak. That tells you right there they are just interested in selling you a container.

    What you put in it is your business.

  3. “Yeah OK” said “Hmmm, yet I can’t name ONE thing Kerry will actually do or how he will accomplish it….. idiot”

    go to…

    Right now, I am so mad at what the citizen’s of the US have allowed Bush to do. High Unemployment. High National Debt. Enter into a War without the rest of the world’s support and with no way out. Enter into a War JUST for the oil… no Al Qaeda connection… no WMD… he went in and ONLY protected the Oil Ministry building and left the government buildings, museums (w/ priceless treasures), schools and hospitals UNGUARDED! Having a VP that is an ex-VP of Halliburton, a company making BILLION$ off of our 1000+ dead soldiers. But most of all, to allow him to send his Saudi buddies, the family of Osama to be the FIRST plane to leave after 9/11. To me, that that is giving aid and comfort to the enemy; treasonous, criminal and unquestionably impeachable!

    Yea, let’s have 4 more years of this self-centered psycho in OUR White House!! …and to each one of you that refuse to see this truth and SUPPORT such a person, such an administration, you honestly make me want to puke in disgust!

    At this point, I wouldn’t care if Kerry’s platform was to sit on the beach and do nothing. It sure beats the Hell out of destroying our nation and getting our soldier’s needlessly killed. They didn’t die for our country, they died for Bush’s oil.


  4. Today, Yassar Arafat announced his hope that Kerry would win. Last week, the ex-leader of Malaysia announced his support. (Remember his last public speech at the SEA Summit… declaring that Jews are behind all of the troubles in the world?)

    VOTE KERRY – 10 out of 10 Muslim Terrorists Agree!

  5. it’s funny that.. we read stuff by thurrott but in the real world.. the iPod is not some player that competes against all these other guys.. the iPod IS the market. All the other guys are chasing after the iPod.

    So it’s ironic, when one store with a 70%+ share is going to be ‘perceived’ as out of the looop. Of course, this is what MS hopes.. until a real iPod-killer comes along.

    Of course.. remember when MS pulled IE? What did they say? We can’t compete with Apple because they have access to the OS (ironic as hell). Well, guess what.. no one can compete with the iTMS experience because Apple has access to the best store, the best player and the dominant (drm’d) format.

    To all the iPod competitors, your scrollwheel workarounds are annoying and obvious. Cut a deal with Apple and get on board this new platform.

  6. Aryugaetu — I’m with you. The bullsh*t has to stop! I cannot understand how many people in this country can stand by and let this administration destroy this country in so many ways. I don’t see what the appeal is to keep Bush in office. Another four years of the same will put this country in a serious world of hurt.

  7. Regardless of the politics, I do find it very funny that Bush is playing up the 9/11 thing so much, calling Kerry the 9/10 candidate, not tough on terrorism etc. Erm, who’s watch was 9/11 on again ?

    It’s very likely true that 9/11 would have happened regardless of who was president, elected or otherwise, but Bush has definitely made things worse. I don’t know how well things are being reported in the US, but it appears from the outside as though terror and the propagation of fear by the Bush camp is pretty much the only message that getting aired.

    It’s a shame there are two bad candidates. Bush cares about nothing but himself, and Kerry is a little of the supermarionettes about him (as in wooden rather than being a puppet).

    Good luck to the US, You’re going to need it whoever wins. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Kerry simply because he is not Bush. The US needs Bush out bad enough, but the world need him out even more.

  8. “Good luck to the US, You’re going to need it whoever wins. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Kerry simply because he is not Bush. The US needs Bush out bad enough, but the world need him out even more.”

    from an American living in Canada – I whole heartedly agree. It has become very awkward to be an American out of my country. I want to be proud again, really.

    (yeah, we know this is off topic.)

  9. I think it wouldn’t hurt if Apple included the Dolby logo when advertising the iTunes music store. Everyone knows Dolby but few seem to realize that they are behind the AAC format. Something like a Powered by Dolby AAC or something along those lines would help people to realize the technology behind the music format that Apple is using.

  10. Aryugaetu I to agree with you, the ironic thing is gas prices have taken a turn up in a season that they are to be going down. It’s $1.93 a gallon in my neck of the woods, yeah I said it a $1.93, what is up with that… Someone, somewhere is making a killing by raping the American people. The gas price alone is enough to vote that Bitc…I mean Bush out

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