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Microsoft considering more direct attack on iTunes

updated 01:45 pm EDT, Sat June 11, 2005

Getting around iTunes DRM

Microsoft is planning to bolster its own online song store with a new subscription service later this year as well as is "considering a , seeking rights from copyright holders to give subscribers a Microsoft-formatted version of any song purchased from iTunes so they can be played on devices other than an iPod.... The ability to download replacement copies of iTunes-purchased song would be aimed at boosting the fortunes of Windows-compatible MP3 player manufacturers such as iRiver and Creative Technologies. Because Apple does not license its FairPlay copy-protection format to other companies, iTunes-purchased songs can be played directly only on the iPod. Sources said that the iTunes replacement plan would require agreements from multiple copyright holders, and may not come to pass, however," according to the report.

by MacNN Staff





  1. budster101

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Subscription Based

    Enough Said. It's a losing proposition and Microsoft is just exhibiting more sour grapes. They know full well that Windows Users can download from iTunes and play the music on any player they wish with the least bit of effort.

    They are again trying to capitalize on the ignorance of the many...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: subscription based

    I wouldn't say "ripping to CD, then re-rip back into itunes" the "least bit of effort". That's several minutes of work, easy, per song. It probably takes 20 minutes for an entire album. Then you'll have to make sure it gets tagged correctly and such (which it might not).

    Or you could go to MS's web service, say "Hey, I've got Perter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" from iTunes. Give me a WMA copy" and just get it. Seems easier to me.

    And what does this have to do with 'subscriptions"? They'd get another valid copy. Because if they had the subscription, they could just download it again and play it all they want. No big deal. So its actually getting a copy you could burn or what-not. Its yours.

    BTW, this isn't going to get approved by the labels. If they OK'd this, someone would do something stupid like say "Hey, since you allow that, then how about letting me download music for Albums I bought?" rather than having to buy them again or rip them from their phonograph (if they even have one), etc. Then someone else will want tracks for his 8-tracks, cassettes, reel-to-reels, EPs, music boxes, etc, etc, etc.

  1. palardyn

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Like this is a surprise ?

    MS wants in to this market and will spend copious amounts to get in and make sure it's partners are doing well and therefore they are doing well.

    No surprise MS would try to hijack iTunes somehow.

    This is a tried and true tctic MS has used over and over and over. Spend more money than anyone else in money losing operations until you are the only one left and have a monopoly.

    Apple has to be careful and try and enlist more partners like HP so that they can remain at the top of the heap or risk being overwhelmed by MS deep pockets. Even if all these partners do is resell iPods then this is a start. Licensing the DRM would be the Holy Grail for them as now every MP3 player would have incentive to hook up with iTunes and not some other service liek the ones from RealNetworks, Napster, or MS.

    But, if Apple stubbornly waits until the MS cadre has all signed on the dotted line with MS it may only be a matter of time before that group overwhelms Apple and HP and the iPod.

    The "takeover" is not something that is going to happen overnight. It will be slow and take years. If the iPods share of the market starts to slip then it's started already.

  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Classic move by M$

    Now that is a classic move from M$; where you can't win by producing a better product, beat the c*** out of your opponent with blunt instruments.

  1. Simon

    Joined: Dec 1969


    M$ could do better

    They will never get the labels to agree with that deal.

    If M$ wants to really win the war, it's simple (with their cash reserves). Allow any iTMS song owner to rent the song as WMA from their store for free. M$ would take over paying the royalties to the labels. They would have more than enough cash to do that. Why aren't they? Probably because they are not so keen on giving Rio and Co. a B******* just to knock Apple. They have other things on their minds, like HTF are we going to finish Longhorn. ;)

  1. Ganesha

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why MS will fail...

    1) As many people say, they got to get the labels to agree, which is unlikely. 2) The majority of the players out there (iPods) can't use WMA anyway, so those people aren't customers. 3) The Mac users are locked out as usual, so they aren't either. 4) In effect MS will just draw away customers from other WMA stores. Which may cause the weaker ones to fold. This may bring another round of anti-trust issues, as MS has a 100% monopoly in WMA licensing.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A wise man once said...

    "There are two ways to be successsful. One, build a better mousetrap. Two, build a mediocre moustrap and market the h*** out of it."

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    palardyn says:

    > Licensing the DRM would be the Holy Grail for them as now every > MP3 player would have incentive to hook up with iTunes and not > some other service liek the ones from RealNetworks, Napster, or MS.

    Seeing as how Apple makes more money from iPod sales (generated from the iTMS), than from music sold, your 'brilliant' suggestion will quickly result in a possible downturn of iPod sales, which will result in a shuttering of the iTMS -- brilliant, really. Good thing you're not in charge.

    Apple's got the situation pretty much sewn up with the iPod - as long as you have iPod-ready cars, iPod compatible adapters, iPod accessories up the ying/yang, and n'iPod' synonymous with 'music player', all the other players in the market are pretty much just 'has beens' catering to an ignorant (or, obstinate - read: "I want my Ogg!") minority.

    Apple will continue to dominate that market walkman-like, for many years to come (or, until a truck hits Steve)


  1. macslut

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A major legal problem

    One major legal problem is that it would require additional royalty payments to the artists. Where would this money come from?

  1. Horsepoo!!!

    Joined: Dec 1969


    FairPlay for DX license

    Apple should license FairPlay to MS only if MS license DirectX. :D

    That would be a winning proposition for both. :D

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