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Microsoft to challenge Apple\'s iTunes

updated 02:05 am EDT, Mon August 30, 2004

Microsoft vs. Apple iTunes

Microsoft will this week along with release of a new version of Windows Media, according to The New York Times: "With Windows Media and the online music store, Microsoft hopes to further its efforts to make Windows a foundation for its reach beyond the desktop and into the living room...Given how fragmented the market is, MSN's eight million subscribers could quickly allow Microsoft to grab second place...In a broad marketing campaign in conjunction with the debut of the new version of Windows Media and the music service, Microsoft is using the slogan 'Plays for Sure,' a not-so-veiled dig at Apple's more proprietary approach."

by MacNN Staff




  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How is MS's WMA DRM not proprietary? How is MS's approach less proprietary? I don't get it.

  1. PookJP

    Joined: Dec 1969



    We might soon see the downfall of Apple's digital music supremacy due to their hubris.

  1. Durandalus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Plays for Sure?

    Not on the most popular Player out there.

  1. Mac-a-Bayan

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And so it Begins...

    The beginning of what?

    With 90% of the pc users globally still using wintel machines, I fear it would be a matter of time till Micro-snot took the lead on the digital music store. All M$ has to do is integrate it with their free OS upgrade, and from there convince (or force) consumers to settle with mp3 format, support other mp3 players and Windoze DRM instead of AAC and iPod. This certainly would be easy especially to areas where iPod and ITMS is still not yet available (or even heard of)-- which include parts Canada, Australia, and Asia.

    Apple has accomplish a a great job in initiating this industry. However there is still a lot of things to do before it settle on its laurels.

    Admittedly I'm not a marketing strategist, but I personally believe Apple should accept more alliance and tie ups, or else M$ will find away to push Apple in the corner force it build walls again. Reminiscence of the OS wars. I hope Apple is ready for this one.

  1. porieux

    Joined: Dec 1969


    More Proprietary???

    Don't think so!

  1. blidd

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If MS does

    Anything to block the use of iTunes on a window cpu, they will again have violated the agreement they made the the US coverment. When talking about music codecs, we are not talking about that music encoded for WMA canīt be encode for ACC or visa versa. As long as the iPod and the iPod mini sells as well as they do, Apple will have an markedet for the iTunes musicstore. I do not need a player that can play ACC and Windows media, if the amount of songs I can get access to is identical on both solutions. My choice will be based on who has the best allround solution. At the Moment Apple does.

  1. Mediaman_12

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple could licence WMA.

    One things for sure the MS Music store WONT work on the Mac, and what's the betting the 'new' media player looks like a cheap iTunes rip.

    If there Music Store takes off all Apple has to do is swallow a bit of pride and do an upgrade that enables the WMA decoder that's already in the iPod CPU/firmware. People buy the iPod for it's great 'on player' track navigation, the fact that it seamlessly integrates in to the iTMS is a bonus, it's not as if Apple are raking in the profits from the iTMS anyway.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple's DRM is more proprietary because they're the only ones that are allowed to support it. No one, and that means NO ONE, can use it but Apple. It used to be that third parties could play iTMS music through Quicktime, such that Toast could burn iTMS CDs and such. No longer, that hole has been filled.

    MS's format is proprietary in the sense they own it, but they're willing to license it (for little or no money!) to anyone or everyone who comes a knocking. Gee, sounds almost like it could become a standard if they keep that up...

    As for apple, I think they'll be using their iPod as leverage such that if they feel the need/pressure to support WMA, they'll pressure MS to port a version of WM to Mac (you know, one that supports ALL WMA formats, not just ones from 10 years ago).

    As for this comment:
    All M$ has to do is integrate it with their free OS upgrade, and from there convince (or force) consumers to settle with mp3 format, support other mp3 players and Windoze DRM instead of AAC and iPod.

    MS will not convince or force users to use MP3. They don't want people using that format, as it offers none of the security or benefits that the users demand, such as tying your music to your computer or to MS's own format. Plus, MS does their best to sleep with the RIAA, so they want users to use their formats as much as possible. To go along with this, WMP ships with a lame-assed MP3 converter (64 kbps), and if you want better, you have to pay them, and you still have to figure out what is being used in the first place and have the knowledge to change it but people who use. (OK, you could go to another piece of software, but people who think about doing this aren't the people who'd be using WMP anyway, only neo-phites or idiots use WMP for their music collections, and they're not going to realize they're not ripping to MP3 until its way, way too late).

  1. ciphun

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hey blidd...

    What's ACC?

    I have never heard of that...

    hint: AAC

  1. piracy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Proprietary

    You're wrong.

    First, Motorola phones will play iTunes Music Store music. It's a small start, but it's someone else other than Apple:,,4505_3838_23,00.html

    Second, Macrovision will be a FairPlay licensor:

    "Copy protection provider Macrovision is sufficiently confident that it will be able to incorporate FairPlay support into its CDS-300 copy control that is has begun telling customers that it will add iTunes and iPod support to its software in Q4."

    Also, regarding your dipshitted comment about WMA becoming a "standard": no matter how many people use something, or how easy or cheap it is to license, it is NOT a standard if it is controlled and overseen by one company. (Even MS's lame duck attempt at submitting VC-9 to SMPTE doesn't rise to any level of openness or open standards.)

    If Apple allowed anyone to use their music store content or any player to play it, Apple's dominance in this market segment would have been over before it even started. The REASON it has dominance is because the iTunes buying experience is the single most easy, complete, consistent, predictable, end-to-end experience that anyone can possibly have. The Microsoft experience will, on its face, attempt to emulate this, but will ultimately fail miserably - and STILL will probably become dominant. Going up against Microsoft - if you want to talk market share numbers - Apple doesn't have a chance. Apple will still be a player, but Microsoft will use its already-established monopoly position to promote and force Windows Media on people, and people will buy non-iPod music players because they don't know/care what they're buying (just like people buy PCs. Yes, yes, software issues, etc., I know it's not that simple, but you get the point). Like it or not, Apple's stranglehold on the entire music purchasing process from the computer to your ear is what has MADE it as successful as it is, and without Apple pioneering this whole realm, we wouldn't even be sitting here talking about this right now, and MS would DEFINITELY not be launching a music store at anything remotely close to this point in time. As usual, Apple has pushed the industry, quite literally, YEARS ahead.

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