More blood on Apple iTunes Store’s play button: MSN Music stops selling music downloads

“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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28 Comments

  1. “MSN” anything makes me want to puke. Those three letters mean pain, suffering, expense and lost time in my book.

    I wonder if Balmer and Glaser compare notes on favorite donut fillings.

    “Cream is better”

    “No jelly is much better”

    “Well it depends on what you’re drinking with it”

    “Hey you’re getting off topic”

  2. Official Name Change Notification Alert-

    PlayForSure is being changed. Below is an emerging list of alternatives-

    PaidForShit

    PlayedForSure

    PlayForclosure

    PlayedForStupid

    PlayedOurBusinessPartnersAndThenLeftThemFeelingStupidWhileAtTheSameTimeMakingAppleLookGood

  3. Of course its blood!!

    Reality Check is as usual on the defence of his favourite MS…

    Plays for Sure itself has been blooded.. The whole concept of Windows music media files selling on the net has taken a massive hit to its -and MS’s- credibility. It is more than just a store closure, its a concept closure.

    So, if that isn’t blood on the iPod, then you guys must be colour blind. And it will merge into the same that’s to come from Zune, you’ll see.

  4. jackspratt — AFAIK, you cannot convert WMA tracks to .WAV or .MP3 within any Microsoft-branded software. A Google search shows there is lots of third-party software to do this; I didn’t check how much of it was freeware vs. shareware. So it’s not impossible. The point is that Apple puts the functionality into its own player, and Microsoft doesn’t.

    However, I am largely speking from ignorance here, so please correct me if I’m wrong.

  5. Neither do I see this as blood on the iTunes doorstep. Having said that, its got to rank among THE most clumsy changes of service any company, including MS, has ever devised. …But then again, there really isn’t anything entertaining about MS in the first place, is there.

    Its pure (and typical) unmitigated buffoonary on MS’s part. Oh by the way, it may not be blood on Apple’s door step, but it could very well be a clear sign of things to come.

    Good luck with that Zune thing.

  6. I’m sorry, but it takes more than big $ to become the standard. Even with all of the $ they’ve pumped into the Xbox over the past 5 years, it still hasn’t passed up the PlayStation line of gaming consoles yet.

  7. Be as pedantic as you like, they have exited a market which they created ie ‘Plays for sure’ – sounds like blood to me even if they are tying to regroup to try yet another marketplace which excludes former allies. They have lost that war so they are simply trying to start a new one.

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