AfterDawn: Tech news

Microsoft prepares to fight against Apple's iTunes

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 25 May 2003 12:26 User comments (15)

In very unsurprising move, Microsoft is already preparing its huge counter-attack against Apple's extremely popular online music service, iTunes.
Microsoft is tweaking its DRM system, included in its Windows Media platform, to support time-limited music tracks (and most likely, video files) also on portable devices. Current WM platform supports this feature on standard PCs, making services such as Pressplay possible, where users download tracks and can listen them as long as their subscription to the originating service is alive. The problem so far has been the fact that users want to transfer these tracks to their portable audio devices, car players, etc. With iTunes' rather flexible licensing/DRM system, this is possible, but not with Windows Media -based services.

To fix this problem, Microsoft is developing a system for portable audio devices, stand-alone players and car players to handle time-limited DRM systems, check the subscription status from the Net, etc. With its marketing muscle, it is most likely that there will be several equipment manufacturers who will implement this technology in their upcoming products. But the main problem is: are consumers willing to "rent" music rather than owning it..


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15 user comments

125.5.2003 13:48

I still like free.

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. - Benjamin Franklin
Time is never wasted when you are wasted all the time. - Catherine Zandonella
Reality is an illusion that occurs due to the lack of alcohol. - W.C. Fields

225.5.2003 14:20

I agree, free is always better. However, none of the services (itunes, Pressplay, MusicNet) offer flexibility with the music files, so its not worth it anyway.

326.5.2003 1:25

I wouldn't "rent" an Album unless I could copy it :P .

BiAtcH 5.0

426.5.2003 4:42

sorry! just to bad deal. is the way to go! Low price and a format the marked is using.

526.5.2003 6:04

I have never been able to figure out why some people would actually pay to listen to nothing more but a glorified radio player! I can listen to the radio for free! NO THANKS!

626.5.2003 7:00

This is exactly why online music services donīt work (excluding iTunes). Limitations. Itīs bad enough the products is overpriced, but the usage is also restricted in a sickening manner.

726.5.2003 12:48

Whatever microsoft and apple can do, nothings is cheaper and better than free. LONG LIVE KAZAA!!!!


826.5.2003 19:03

The DivX concept was tried and failed by Circut City and I believe Disney who made the DivX system what it was before it became a form of trading files on the net. Circut City almost lost their shirt on that whole deal. I am sure Circut City would never market such a deal. Best buys was smart and waited to see what the DivX format would do. Now they want to do the same thing with music. ha ha ha what a horrible joke played on the consummer. It will go belly up in the first year ot so just like Divx. I even heard that they were gonna start making disk's that would last 48 hours and then they would rust and make it non playable. This is how greedy that the RIAA and NPAA really are. They just don't get it. P2P with ads to support the artists is the answer. More and more programmers are making Free software because they finally got it after the Commodore 64/128/Amiga age when warez kiddies cracked every game that was ever copy protected. In fact the warez that were copy-protected were the first to arrive on BBS's and Downloaded and traded before a non protected program that would do exactly the same thing would get traded. So I say keep the greed going and see how fast the industry will die. Voodoohippi (Defender of FREE cyberspace)

928.5.2003 1:34

Since I took WMP ver 7.0 (or whatever it was) *off* my system, I can't verify this right now, but.... If I'm not mistaken, I think your basic, good-ol' WinAmp will let you record-to-wave file, anything that is currently playing through your sound card. SO, if you start playback (with WMP ver 7+), and adjust the level-meters in WinAmp very carefully, I'm guessing that you should be able to get a pretty-decent sounding wave file, which you can then convert to .mp3, .ogg, or whatever else you like, at your leisure, and Microsoft's DRM can be damned. (Chances are that if a limited, 30-day, license-required, DRM-crippled .wma promo file is offered, it's not worth owning anyway).

1028.5.2003 12:19

SCREW renting! *@! That is really grating on my nerves to have these suits expect us to rent music that we've PAID for. And what's really disturbing is that this is where most of the industry is trying to go. Not only with music distribution but also hardware and software. Want to know what I'm rambling about? Learn about TCPA and the future of computing: If I have to show my support by going out and buying an Apple (God forbid, honestly), then I will. I can't stand this. This craziness needs to end. Lawyers and businessmen run our country and have no sense of reality. -The Norsk

"Who's Watching the Watchmen?"

1128.5.2003 14:12

Norsk: Unfortunately, you're right. In some cases (as with HMV), only selected tracks are burnable to disc. The remainder are indeed, RENTAL tunes only. Makes one sick, doesn't it? If you fail to maintain a paid, monthly account, your RENTED tunes will no longer be playable, and whatever you do, don't have a system (OS) crash, or reformat your HDD, or ever buy and install a new one, because all of your RENTED tunes will also be lost. -- Klingy --

1229.5.2003 3:20

Letīs not forget, iTunes is coming to PC users as well. Letīs hope they keep it similar to the Mac version.

1329.5.2003 10:46

All of this Itunes stuff and DRM is a joke. Even if you can't record off your sound card with Winamp you could just get a mini disk player/recorder and a cheap $10 patch cord that goes from mini stereo phono to mini stereo phono or to 2 RCA hacks. Fire up the DRM file and start the recorder. Then when you're done switch the patch cord to the OUTPUT of you're sound card. VALA you're all done. And if you're like me you already have your computer connected to your stereo. I am sure all of you at least have a hi-fi stereo VCR. Heck if your desporate you can just record off your computer using a good graphics card. Works great for video streaming files as well. And as far as Macrovision on the Video, any good copy gard defeater that you buy in the mail order catalogues or on line for about $75 works great. So as far as DRM goes it is a big over hyped idea just to make the industry happy. It may stop a bunch of dumb ass lamers who don't know about basic electronics, but does not stop someone who has common sense. Even MusicMatch jukebox supports recording from your line in input on the sound card. What next no more line in inputs on the newer computers? Voodoohippi (Defender of FREE cyberspace)

1430.5.2003 5:08

it's like tape, they don't care if you copy it as long as the copy is of poorer quality or atleast not an easy task...

BiAtcH 5.0

1530.5.2003 6:21

Remember when people use to copy casette tapes and VCR tapes: that didnt make the recording and movie industries go broke - now did it! The industries are still around - still putting out garbage like usual too! boy bands, girl bands, i hope i offend u if you like that kind of crap too! why would someone try to make music pay per month/day/ per play whatever: It is this - A business rodent/squirrel (ruthless money grubbers) wants to get his nut (make money) This whole music pay per month/day/per play whatever wont be a success because I wont partake in it, neither will anyone else -with half a brain. Why would anyone want to keep paying to hear something, when u could just BUY it ONCE and hear it for a long time without spending more money on it. Even if they would offer every music cd that was ever made plus promise to put all the new music that is coming out on their site and charge maybe 10 a month , guess what it - IT WOULD NOT BE WORTH IT! you would loose the music once you stopped paying! F-that! It makes sense to rent MOVIES cuz you dont want to watch a movie over and over again, maybe once or twice a year tops - but music doesnt work to rent it: you will want to keep listening to it, but your not going to want to keep paying for it!

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