Microsoft-RealNetworks alliance ready to take on Apple in online music market?

“Now that Microsoft has put aside the last of the big antitrust suits hanging over its head in the United States, the software giant is ready to take on Apple in the online music market. Microsoft has signed a $761 million agreement that settles the lawsuit filed by RealNetworks nearly two years ago. In ending the suit, Microsoft can join RealNetworks in battling the market leader in digital music,” Antone Gonsalves writes for Internetweek.

“For consumers, the benefit in the Microsoft-RealNetworks alliance is in interoperability. The agreement means it’s more likely the companies’ products will work well together, which is a big plus. Apple’s greatest weakness is its strategy of customer lock in. The company does all it can to make sure people who buy music from its service, play it on the iPod. That’s a mistake,” Gonsalves writes.

“Consumers want choice, and, in time, they’ll leave Apple for rivals that make it possible to choose from multiple music players, and not just one. Microsoft and RealNetworks understand this, and their alliance moves them in that direction,” Gonsalves writes.

Full article here.
Interoperability? Apple offers the only cross-platform (for Mac and Windows) solution with iPod+iTunes+iTunes Music Store. Customers will leave Apple to choose from multiple music players? That’s funny, when Apple already offers multiple music players and nearly everyone seems to want an iPod nano or a large-capacity iPod or a tiny iPod shuffle. Multiple music players, software, and an online music service that offer interoperability for both Mac and Windows PC users are offered only by Apple.

Related articles:
Microsoft to pay RealNetworks $761 million antitrust lawsuit settlement – October 11, 2005
Apple’s vs. Microsoft’s music DRM: whose solution supports more users? – August 17, 2005
Apple’s roadkill whine in unison: ‘incompatibility is slowing growth of digital music’ – August 13, 2005
The New Zealand Herald serves up a steaming pile of iPod FUD – August 11, 2005
Apple’s iPod and iTunes competitors continue whining about FairPlay – February 07, 2005
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004


  1. Microsoft will simply continue to screw RealNetworks wherever and whenever it feels it will somehow get some little advantage. In the process, they will continue to validate what every hacker in the world knows: Microsoft is utterly evil. Along with this perception goes the mistrust that will prevent anyone from paying Microsoft for entertainment content. Why would someone buy music from “Dr. Evil” when suckers are already paying for Windows crap and then paying Microsoft’s upcoming protection racket to make squash bugs?

  2. If Microsoft truly wants to offer choice, then why does their DRM work only with Windows PCs? Oh yeah I forgot, Microsoft is all for choice, but only as long as your choice is Microsoft of course. What a joke.

  3. sheesh !!

    Its bad enuff to listen to the low-quality WM – mp3 files … does this mean we will be inundated with “no-quality”
    mp3 files encodes with RM ???

    Wheres my Tylenol ?

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” />

  4. As long as Apple keeps the iPod moving forward and updates iTunes and gives us good reasons to stay on users wont go anywhere else. MS is just glad to get Real out of the court and into the conference room where they can bleed them dry. The only other service that even touches iTMS is Napster, WMP 10 allows users to buy from several stores, the interesting thing to see is whether MS will include support for Reals AAC format or make them convert to WMA. I doubt Steve spends more than 2 minutes skimming this story on one of his RSS feeds

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