updated 09:00 am EDT, Thu September 16, 2004
Microsoft\'s \"iTunes store\"
David Pogue has a look at in the latest edition of The New York Times, noting that Microsoft looked to Apple's implementation for guidance: "The Microsoft music store (in beta at music.msn.com) couldn't look more like Apple's iTunes music store (itunes.com) if you ran it through a copying machine. 'Apple set the bar very high,' a Microsoft manger admitted. 'We're trying to match that. We told our developers, 'Look at how Apple does it.'" [free registration required]
"Microsoft is running a simple multimillion-dollar experiment to force an answer to this question: If all other variables are equal (price, selection, features), which music system do people like better: Apple's or Microsoft's? At the moment, it's not a completely valid test, because MSN Music is not, in fact, ready to compete head-on with Apple's store," lacking a long list of Apple's convenience features--many of which Microsoft says that it will eventually add. The article notes that Microsoft's music store has a few unique features, such as live playback of radio station music (whereas Apple offers only a listing of songs) and unique/exclusive albums, but offers differing personal music rights for certain songs, causing much confusion.