Microsoft Tries To Sell Music

june 3, 2004

Microsoft is trying to sell music -- a move in the direction of trying to catch up with Apple's iTunes Music Store. Microsoft is previewing their Windows Media Player 10 which will have "auto-sync" capabilites and digital rights management built-in (sound familiar to all of you iTunes / iPod users?) But, Microsoft's twist is that they and their buddies (like Napster) will lease music to people rather than sell music outright. "If you buy 10,000 songs (from iTunes), it will cost you $10,000," said Laura Goldberg, Napster's chief operating officer. ith Napster's subscription model, users would have access to the same number of songs but for a monthly subscription fee of $10. Of course, Napster plans to charge a little more for the portability option -- "about the price of a retail CD," Goldberg said. Of course what Goldberg is not realizing, or not telling, is that with her service the minute you leave the service all of those "10,000 songs" that Napster offers is gone. But, with iTunes Music Store we get to keep the songs because we own them. Trying to convince the public that leasing songs and also doing a monthly subscription maybe a long hard up-hill battle -- especially when places like iTunes Music Store sells the songs outright with no need for a monthly subscription fee. We'll just have to wait and see how well this new endeavor by Microsoft will turn out. It is ironic to see how much effort they are pumping into making their digital rights management scheme as full-proof and secure as possible while their own Windows OS is as insecure as it is now -- maybe their priorities are a bit backwards.

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