“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.
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