Microsoft, MTV target Apple’s iTunes Music Store leftovers

“Despite years of trying, Microsoft’s digital music strategy has played second fiddle to Apple. Devices from such partners as Creative Labs and Dell barely register sales next to the iPod. And online music services from Napster and Wal-Mart haven’t slowed Apple’s iTunes,” Jay Greene writes for BusinessWeek. “Microsoft added yet another partner on Dec. 13, when MTV announced plans to launch its own online music service, called Urge, using the software giant’s technology.”

The new president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices division, Robert J. Bach said it was “an option” for Microsoft to build its own digital media device to compete with the iPod, though he cautioned that doing so could drive Microsoft’s partners out of the market and limit consumer choice, according to Greene’s report.

Full article here.
Consumers have already chosen.

A reminder that MTV already has a music service online (in partnership with MusicNet since 2004) which also hasn’t slowed Apple’s iTunes. Both Microsoft and MTV have already proven to be failures vs. Apple in the digital music market when working alone and in partnership with others. So, what does the combination of Microsoft+MTV yield, besides a double-sized failure? MTV has already stated that the new service is not targeting iPod and iTunes users. They’re going after Apple’s table scraps. Look out Yahoo, Real, Napster, and whatever other also-ran services are still left scattered around.

To us, this MTV deal seems like nothing more than Microsoft’s stab-in-the-back-payback to Real.

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Related MacDailyNews articles:
Microsoft-MTV ‘URGE’ may interest antitrust regulators; Anti-iTunes labels Sony, Warner back ‘URGE’ – December 14, 2005
MTV-Microsoft URGE music service not targeting iPod, iTunes users; Real CEO PlayedForSure? – December 13, 2005
MTV and Microsoft team up for new digital music service ‘URGE’ – December 13, 2005
Microsoft developing Microsoft-branded competitor to Apple iPod? – December 08, 2005
Motley Fool Take: MTV, Wal-Mart will leverage brands to beat Apple iTunes Music Store – May 10, 2004
MTV jumps into Apple iTunes-dominated online music service fray – May 07, 2004
Digital music panel: Apple could become the MTV of the record industry – March 31, 2004


  1. Scott, I disagree. Apple cannot/will not/should not license FairPlay. Instead, Apple should update the iPod to play WMA, Real, Ogg, and every other music format.

    If they did that, there wouldn’t be an issue with music stores. Buy wherever you want–it’ll play on your iPod. Then, suddenly, it’s the “other” players that limit you. Buy one player, the iPod, and have access to iTMS, URGE, Rhapsody, Napster, WalMart, etc. Or buy one of those “Creative” players and you’re stuck with URGE, Napster, and WalMart. Now who’s “limiting consumer choice”?

    Of course, when you buy your iPod, it comes with iTunes and iTMS. iTMS still uses FairPlay. Remember that most people use the software that comes with the device, so iTMS would still have a very enviable position.

  2. Being from the original “MTV Generation” (what they used to call us before they started calling us Generation X – gotta love crap marketing names), just what market leverage does the current MTV brand name have in music or music videos? Do they even play music anymore? Every time I go by it flipping through the stations all I ever see is a “reality” show with a bunch of spoiled brat teens living in some rich guys house somewhere wining that there free lifestyle isn’t perfect enough. Geesh.

  3. Anyone who thinks that MTV has influence left is simply living in the past. If Napster has influence, I haven’t noticed it. Napster’s whiny CEO and MTV’s whiny kids deserve each other. Both are throwing temper tantrum now that their stretch in the sun is over. Both are masters at getting free press as the obligatory “alternative”. Both are losers in the marketplace of ideas and the culture at large. Watching them get together is like watching two ugly geeks making out. It’s both gross and hilarious.

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