“Two years after opening its MSN Music store to compete with Apple Computer’s iTunes, Microsoft plans to stop selling downloads from the site,” Ina Fried reports for CNET News. “Beginning, Nov. 14, MSN’s music site will begin redirecting music purchasers to either the Zune Marketplace Web site or to RealNetworks’ Rhapsody site. ‘After November 14, the ‘Buy’ buttons that you’re used to seeing on MSN Music album and artist pages will change to links that connect you to Zune and to Real Rhapsody,’ MSN Entertainment general manager Rob Bennett said in an e-mail to MSN Music customers.”
Fried reports, “When it opened its online doors in September 2004, MSN Music had high hopes of competing with Apple, touting the fact that songs bought from the site could be played on a variety of Windows Media-compatible devices. However, MSN Music, as well as other stores that sell tracks in the Windows Media Audio format, have been unable to compete with iTunes, which has maintained its dominance. Apple had dismissed Microsoft’s effort when it launched, saying that its lack of support for the iPod would prevent it from becoming a hit.”
Full article here.
JupiterReseacrh analyst Michael Gartenberg blogs, “Going forward, clicking the purchase link will take you to your choice of either Rhapsody purchase or Zune purchase. Both are significant, since neither of them are Plays For Sure.
“While it’s not like there’s a lot of folks that actually bought music from the MSN music store, it would seem those folks are in a bind. If they start buying from Zune , they will need to get to get a new Zune device, and their existing music won’t go with them. If they go Rhapsody, new stuff they purchase likely won’t work on devices they currently own either, but at least a new Rhapsody compatible device will also allow them to play their old content,” Gartenberg writes.
Gartenberg writes, “I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t try to offer something like replacement for existing content in either Rhapsody or Zune formats. Either way, it shows the problems of picking the wrong format in a format war, especially when one format owns >75% of the market. I wonder how many of these folks will end up going neither to REAL or Zune and in the end, just buying an iPod.”
Full article here.
Merely a presage for Zune. Way to screw your customers yet again, Microsoft. Why do we have such a compelling URGE to laugh?
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