MSN Music Store Adds to iTunes Competition
Microsoft plas to release Windows Media Player 10 on Thursday alongside the highly anticipated MSN Music Store. WMP10 will be included in Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 which finalized some time after SP2. According to Neowin, Media Center 2005 is due to be released in October.
WMP10 sports a new design, online stores, support for new formats and devices and improved library and jukebox support. MSN Music store is expected to compete with Apple’s iTunes software and will allow users to download an arrangement of music at $0.99 per tune. Silicon Valley.com adds that “Microsoft plans to quietly launch the MSN online music store with the new version of its Windows Media 10 player.”
Early-release versions of the player look like knock-offs of Apple’s iTunes Music Store, complete with brushed nickel finish. But hey, why mess with success? A button in the upper right corner of the player will take consumers to the download store.
Microsoft has told entertainment executives that it expects to introduce as many as 130 million people to its music download store as computer users are prompted to update their media player software. And that’s not counting the 300 million people who drop by the MSN site.
The software giant also touts the music store’s compatibility with nearly 60 digital music players. Not included in the list is Apple’s popular iPod.
Microsoft’s MSN Music Store is not the only Windows friendly competitor giving Applie iTunes a run for their money, last week Real Networks announced their own online music store and slashed prices to $.49 per download. RealNetworks has recently launched its “Harmony” technology which makes its song downloads compatible with Apple’s iPod technology. Apple currently has a firm grasp on the online music download market with more than 100 million downloads sold to date.
RealNetworks, which distirbutes the Google toolbar it its downloads, has joined the fight for online music downloading along with Yahoo partner Napster to take a bite out of the Apple. Last week Napster’s parent company, Roxio, told news services that it will sell its consumer software division for $80 million and focus wholly on its Napster digital music business in the future.
Starting last Christmas Roxio began operated Napster as a paid digital music download and subscription service, partnering with Yahoo and other large web publishers. Now, along with RealNetworks, Napster is a direct competitor of Apple Computer’s iTunes.
Where arer search engines involved? Online music stores are search driven databases, the future looks bright!
MSN = MSN Music Store
Yahoo = Napster
Google = RealNetworks Partner