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Microsoft Dismisses Apple's iTunes for Windows 916

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the race-is-on dept.
fewnorms writes "Microsoft's general manager for the Windows Digital Media division, Dave Fester, yesterday dismissed the new iTunes for Windows version, saying it was too limited for the average Windows users. Choice quote: "[Apple's music store] ... is a drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in music services, choice in devices, and choice in music from a wide-variety of music services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device." Of course Apple doesn't feel to worried about this, simply stating their products will (and have) lived up to the hype." The points made are all valid- but contradictory to standard Apple product design where simplicity always takes priority over flexibility. Besides, iPod is growing market share, and iTunes will be the best choice for windows users who own it.
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Microsoft Dismisses Apple's iTunes for Windows

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  • Besides, iPod is growing market share, and iTunes will be the best choice for windows users who own it.

    Can't disagree with the first point, but the second? Not really. There's at least one other jukebox app [musicex.com] that has a substantially better feature set [macobserver.com] than iTunes and is just as easy to use. I tried iTunes for a day and got frustrated with its limitations. Other than purchasing the occasional track from the iTunes Store, I can't see myself firing it up again. (And no, I'm not one of those people who had sta

    • OMG. A $40 program has different features than a free program. WTF?
    • by ruiner13 (527499) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @03:58PM (#7249714) Homepage
      "I tried iTunes for a day and got frustrated with its limitations."

      Exactly what limitations are you referring to, mr. vague? The only limitation I can possibly think of is the use of AAC for the music store files, but those can be easily transcoded into just about any format you want (wav, mp3, even wma by using an intermediary step). I'd hardly consider that a limitation. Yeah, you may lose *a bit* of quality by recompressing, but if you use a high enough recompression quality setting, you can really minimize that to the point it is a non-factor. Care to elaborate on the limitations now? I mean it rips into a multitude of formats (with very high levels of control over compression), it burns to DVD, CD in many different formats (MP3 CD, Audio CD, and Data CD), and has some of the best streaming support I've found in any music player, not to mention the ability to easily share your tunes over a network with no configuration outside of clicking a check box. I think it is a fantastic product, mac or windows, and I give kudos to Apple on a job well done.

    • by whereiswaldo (459052) on Sunday October 19, 2003 @12:14AM (#7251880) Journal
      From the article:

      "Unless Apple decides to make radical changes to their service model, a Windows-based version of iTunes will still remain a closed system, where iPod owners cannot access content from other services," said Fester. "Additionally, users of iTunes are limited to music from Apple's Music Store ... this is a drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in music services, choice in devices, and choice in music from a wide-variety of music services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device.

      The gist of this is that people want to be able to interface with other systems and that because Apple doesn't let you do this - which is something Windows users expect - the service is "dismissed".

      Well, well, Microsoft double-speak at its best again. Pass me some of whatever you're smoking, will ya? Because last time I checked, users of instant messaging want the same thing - interoperability - and Microsoft isn't letting them have it with their IM service.

      Conclusion: Microsoft is pointing at a "flaw" that they would actually like to have in their own system once they reach the critical mass that iTunes has.
  • Oh yeah.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by dswensen (252552) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:15PM (#7249025) Homepage
    Microsoft preaching about giving users a choice. That's the funniest thing I've heard all day.
    • Re:Oh yeah.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spitefulcrow (713858)
      Definitely quite amusing. "Unless Apple decides to make radical changes to their service model, a Windows-based version of iTunes will still remain a closed system, where iPod owners cannot access content from other services," said Fester." Sound a bit familiar, Mr. M$-executive? Maybe like your own business strategies involving closed formats?
    • I really doubt Microsoft will offer any more choices (probably less, especially when it comes to DRM issues) or flexibility when they open up their MSN music store in a few months.
    • by twitter (104583) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:44PM (#7249255) Homepage Journal
      Our users expect choice, therefore a choice from Apple is bad!

      Our users expect flexibility, therefore we will make sure nothing we make talks to ipod or itunes.

      Itunes is too limited for our users who are so complex they only want M$.WMA.

      Poop on all the closed source DRM gimped up garbage. Zaurus cost $200, plays mp3 and ogg and takes non DRM'd compact flash. Get Open Zaurus and you can mount up a nice ext2 filesystem for all your long filenames, archiving and all that. Get a $100 wifi card and the thing can talk to any music server you would like to set up. Now that is total flexibility, why would anyone settle for less?

  • by Crusader of Yore (630674) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:17PM (#7249038)

    >>if you use Apple's music store along with iTunes, you
    >> don't have the ability of using the over 40 different
    >>Windows Media-compatible portable music devices.

    Oh, shoot. I mean, that's really a big problem for me. I like to use my Rio on Monday, and Samsung mp3 player on alternate Wednesdays, and the Nomad for Friday afternoon... What am I going to do if I can only use my iPod? Horrors!

  • Please remember. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:17PM (#7249041) Journal
    Choice to Microsoft is letting you pick from any of THEIR products. They do not use that word as we do.
    • by MacGod (320762) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:38PM (#7249200)
      "They do not use that word as we do."

      "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

    • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @03:20PM (#7249487)
      You can run your iTunes on Mac OR Windows...try that with WMA! As long as Apple makes it easy to choose to move your files to something else...say A MAC then you've got plenty of choice...at least more than you get with MS.

      Lets see, Airport [wireless + modem] iPod, apple cinema displays...all work with PCs too...but work even better with a mac. When apple REALLY figures this out [and they're starting to!] MS will finally have to pay the piper for abusing their market!

  • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:17PM (#7249044)
    "...Dave Fester yesterday dismissed the new iTunes for Windows version, saying it was too limited for the average Windows users..."

    Um, yeah, this coming from the company that's offering exactly *how* many music downloads?

  • by jvagner (104817) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:17PM (#7249045)
    ..MS's path to more "choice" will include more baseline restrictions and DRM.

    If Apple can keep things a little simpler, and a little more limited, and offer the flexibility that they do (burning audio copies to CD, etc), as much as we geeks might complain, it's probably easier for the average consumer to grasp.

    Sure, I'd love to see a mainstream offering with a huge library selling DRM-less MP3s, but that doesn't seem likely to happen, and it's certainly not going to come from Microsoft.
  • ...who expect choice in music services, choice in devices, and choice in music from a wide-variety of music services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device.

    A wide variety of devices do not support WMA, mp3 being the most popular format. Who wants a DRM-enabled format anyway?

  • by llamaluvr (575102) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:22PM (#7249086) Journal
    that music blips and skips A LOT when running on iTunes whenever you do ANYTHING else, even if it's just like opening Explorer or moving windows? When I tried it on my machine, it was very noticable, especially compared to Winamp 3, which hardly blips at all for me. My machine's no slouch, either - it's a P3 1.1 GHz with 512 MB RAM running XP Pro. I had like 3-4 programs open along with iTunes: a FTP client, Visual Studio .NET, and Mozilla, I think.

    I was just wondering if anybody else had similar problems. I mean, the interface is great, but if I can't code in VS while listening to music, then it's not very worth it to me.
    • I've got a mroe beefy system than yours, but itunes runs fine. Quite good for a 1.0 release.
    • by Matey-O (518004) *
      Nope. None. I've noticed a slowdown when visualization is turned on, but that's it. (AMD XP 2Ghz+, 512 Mb RAM.)

      Further, iTunes is the first pay service I've felt the desire to install and buy music from.
    • I noticed lots of things on the interface are really slow, such as scrolling the browser window (my speakers are disconnected at the moment so i can't confirm what you say about skips). I think Steve Jobs is stretching things a bit to call it "the best windows app ever"....it looks like it could still use some optimization for the platform.
    • by AnyoneEB (574727) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:33PM (#7249168)
      That is probably a hardware/OS problem. Your sound card IRQ is being shared with your video card's IRQ. You can check this by running MSINFO32 --> hardware resources --> conflicts/sharing. IRQ sharing occurs with Windows 2k/XP on older computers (older than P4/Athlon XP) with ACPI enabled. This problem is discussed on the WinAmp tech support boards in topics linked from here under the heading "RE: Skipping / freezing / distortion, clicking & popping during playback".
    • Not a problem here. Been using it since yesterday, and no skipping here, and I'm only running a 1.4 athlon, 256 meg machine. I had two bittorrent windows open (finally got around to getting slack 9.1), firebird, msn messenger 6.1, and IE6 pulling the latest "Features" off windows update. And I wasusing itunes to rip an old cd, while listening to the cd I had just ripped. No skipping. I'd say check you're sound card, but mines the built in ac97 type, and I don't think it gets any cheaper than that...
    • I haven't had a single skip with iTunes since I started using it two days ago on my 1.4 GHz P4 (which in theory is a bit slower than your 1.1 GHz P3).

      I have heard skipping complaints, though, mostly from friends with older hardware, but there was one dude with a shiny new Athlon XP 2800+ that was getting some skips.

      My guess is there's some driver conflict somewhere, because the skips don't seem to occur with all hardware or with just "slow" hardware. (And it runs fine on a 266 MHz G3 in Mac OS X).
    • Yeah the GUI is damn slow. It looks like apple has some kind of gui emulation layer for their apple look and feel. And like gui emulation attempts over the past 15 years, it's damn slow on my 1.8ghz ath.
    • Nope.

      iTunes hasn't skipped at all, even when scanning two drives for MP3 files, or when I'm opening movies or (accidentaly) launching Winamp while Firebird is loading.

      In fact, at the moment, it's using about 1.5% CPU use (average, it switches between 1% and 2% every update).

      I think your system might have issues. Maybe the problem is accessing the hard drive? Maybe it's memory issues? VS.Net, Mozilla, and XP Pro are not exactly lightweight, and you're likely to have craploads of crud sucking up ram that y
    • by babbage (61057)

      I've noticed that iTunes.exe does seem to be very sensitive to the amount of horsepower available, and ram in particular.

      My fiancee and her sister have near-identical Toshiba laptops. Both have 1.4ghz Celeron chips, both are running WinXPsp1. The software and configuration on the two machines is similar in most respect. The only difference is RAM: my fiancee's has been upgraded to 512mb, while her sister's is at the stock 256mb.

      My fiancee's higher ram machine has no problem establishing a connection to m

  • by sebi (152185) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:22PM (#7249090)
    Windows users like choice? Then why do most of them use Internet Explorer, Outlook Express and, well, Windows? They generally take what they are fed, right? Microsoft doesn't yet have a solution of their own for legal music downloading as far as I know. So they need some aggressive rhetoric. I was under the impression that the iTunes music store had one of the largest catalogues out there. Does the general user want to use a plethora of services to locate the right song? I don't think so, but I don't work for Microsoft's media division.
  • Did Microsoft dismiss, or just diss iTunes.

    From my point of view it is the usual MS garbage of disparaging any other system where they don't have a competative alternative in place. It's completely phony, and I hope people refuse to buy into it.

  • Well, I'm still waiting for the day that I can drag an album or an artist to a playlist in Windows Media Player.
  • Microsoft is scared (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:22PM (#7249094) Homepage
    "drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in music services, choice in devices, and choice in music from a wide-variety of music services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device."

    ROFL! Talk about naked FUD. Choice, choice, choice. Yeah, that's the Microsoft Way, isn't it? NOT. What hypocrisy!

    It's not even accurate. You CAN burn iTunes Store music to a CD. Rip it again to MP3, put it on any device you want. Oh wait, iPods are just about the best device you can use, so I'm just guessing that if you have an iPod you don't have too many other devices you care to have. For that matter, no matter what device you have, you probably don't have too many others. Why would you? Use what works and done with it.

    Choice in music? Well, the biggest choice is probably Kazaa, but that's beside the point. We're talking about the pay sites, and iTMS has 400,00 and growing. Not much of a problem, and becoming less so as time goes on.

    Apple just signed with Pepsi and AOL to do cross-marketing. That's some big partners to get the word out. But the word is out already. I see so many iPods in use it's amazing. In short, Apple did something right and Microsoft is running scared about it. With only the Mac market so far, Apple captured, what, 30% of paid downloads. Now the other 90% can use their service, so watch out Microsoft.

    • by gfilion (80497) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:37PM (#7249191) Homepage

      With only the Mac market so far, Apple captured, what, 30% of paid downloads. Now the other 90% can use their service, so watch out Microsoft.

      No, with only the Mac market, iTMS has 70% of the paid music downloads. Imagine what they'll have after Pepsi will have given 100 000 000 songs for free!

      30% is the iPod market share, and they have 50% of the revenues for portable digital players.

    • Actually, they only need to capture the REMAINING 30%. At the iTunes announcement, they revealed that with just the Mac market, the iTMS was responsible for 70% of legal downloads in the previous week. Despite all the (lousy) copycats out there, I don't expect that to go down anytime soon.

      Now if only I could get it in Canada. I'd be responsible for quite a few more legal downloads.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:42PM (#7249233)
      After watching the presentation Apple gave on the release of the new iTunes features I have to say that everything else doesn't even seem to be coming close to Apple's position of sheer domination.

      iTunes is a nice start, but to have it for both platforms AND the best mp3 player on earth AND have every AOL user on the planet instantly be abel to use the ITMS (it uses the credit card from the AOl account) AND have Pepsi do a huge push during the Superbowl to give away 100 million songs (and at the same time having literally millions of people install iTunes in short order) AND having a means for parents scared of lawsuits to provide music for kids (allowance) AND to have thousands of audiobooks and other great content like NPR shows...

      Apple has set a goal of 100 million songs downloaded in the first year of iTunes (starting in April). But frankly I think they have set their sights way too low. I think 200 million by next April is not out of the question, and probably really low.

      One other benefit that Apple has, is that the musicians themselves are generally rooting for the store. I don't know how much of an effect that will have, if any... but a groundswell of artists demanding to be on ITMS cannot hurt.

      I have to say, if I were trying to start up another music store right now I would be quivering - even if I were Microsoft, and none of them are! I have to wonder how long it will be before Microsoft sees the whole industry slipping from them and offers a music store directly screwing over all the partners based on WMP.

      I don't understand why Dell is trying to do it's own server and doesn't just cut a deal to install iTunes on all Dell desktops. There's a plan for Gateway - are you listening?

      • AND have every AOL user on the planet instantly be abel [sic] to use the ITMS (it uses the credit card from the AOl account)

        This is an interesting part of the deal, to be sure. Does anyone know if this means that AOL will ship iTunes for Win on their CDs? Or what? Not being an AOL user, can someone explain how this looks to them? ie Does one find the music they like (listed by AOL), click on the button--which takes the user to the iTMS, purchase the music--and then what? Do you have to download iTunes then? How much clue is given that this is required? Or does the iTMS music play in a AOL media jukebox?

        I think that iTunes for Win is especially interesting, because, if I'm not mistaken, to install it a Win user also gets Qucktime installed--which is a trojan to a lot of other media opportunities for Apple. So, if AOL starts shipping iTunes for Win on their CDs, and then by extension, every AOL user has the latest version of QT installed--all of a sudden, QT is a market leader, or damn close.

        Will someone who admits to the use of AOL elaborate on the default tools?
    • You CAN burn iTunes Store music to a CD. Rip it again to MP3, put it on any device you want.

      No need to burn to CD first.

      If the Windows version is identical to the Mac version, just select the downloaded AAC songs in your library, then go to the menu Advanced->Convert Selection to MP3

      Easy.

    • by CountBrass (590228) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @04:04PM (#7249754)

      They should be scared.

      August 2002 I bought an iPod. Loved it so a month later I bought a PowerBook, my first ever Mac.

      September this year I bought a DP G5.

      And I plan to replace my wife's PC with a Mac sometime soon.

      Without the iPod I would never have even considered a Mac. Microsoft should be scared.

  • News at 11 (Score:2, Funny)

    by leerpm (570963)
    Software company criticizes competitor!

    Why is this even news?
  • I encouraged my father to install this on his Win XP laptop. Found out a few hours later that it managed to completely hang his system on boot, trying to set up his "drivers and devices" after he restarted after installing iTunes.

    He had to hit F8 during boot, choose last-known-good configuration- and then he was able to get back into his system. iTunes launched, but complained it couldn't access his burner and such. It uninstalled cleanly and completely, near as he can tell, but he's flat-out refused t

  • by HebrewToYou (644998) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:26PM (#7249123)
    Windows media == closed format supported completely over windows and partially on the Mac and *nix. AAC == open format (Mp4) supported completely over all major platforms. DRM rules -- unlimited CD burning over the iTunes music store, three separate computers able to play downloaded tracks, unlimited iPod transfers. I truly don't understand the criticism coming from MS over the iTMS and iTunes music software. Apple has never claimed it's the end-all software jukebox -- but, as others have pointed out, it's very simple and straighforward. Much like iMovie compared to FCP or CakeWalk to ProTools, iTunes is a simple way to manage a library of music and transfer it to a number of different formats. You can easily convert CD's burnt from Mp4 (AAC) tracks over to mp3 by merely ripping the burnt CD. That allows folks to still use Mp3-CD's with their entire collection and to share them with whomever they'd like. All that I feel coming out of Redmond right now is Hot Air....especially after hearing Longhorn ain't arrivin' until '06. Long time to wait, so I'm sure there will be lots of potshots directed at Apple in the meantime.
  • "Additionally, users of iTunes are limited to music from Apple's Music Store ... if you use Apple's music store along with iTunes, you don't have the ability of using the over 40 different Windows Media-compatible portable music devices

    What typical Microsoft FUD!

    That is a complete and boldfaced lie! You are absolutly NOT limited to music that you purchase from the ITMS if you use iTunes. I installed iTunes for windows the day it came out and today I have about 1.6 gig of music in my library. Guess how many

  • by dten (448141) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:27PM (#7249125)
    I downloaded iTunes yesterday. Within 5 minutes I had imported my music library, set up all the options I wanted, and I was listening to music. It has a very pleasant interface and includes all the features I want -- nothing more, nothing less.

    Who wants crazy flexibility when you don't even use half of the extra options and they just clutter up the user experience? I'm ditching the other jukeboxes I've been suffering with all year and sticking with iTunes. It may even influence me to buy an iPod -- if it works as seamlessly and easily as iTunes, sign me up.

    I'm tired of frittering away so much time trying to overcome the learning curves of PC software and trying to get programs to work and play together. I'm not into computers because I'm in love with jerking around in advanced options settings all day long, I'm into computers because of what they can do for me. My job already pays me to spend 10 hrs a day getting computers to work, I don't want to spend the rest of my free time doing the same thing.

    Mac stuff works, first time, every time, it does what you expect it to do. I think that just might be worth paying for. I think I'm going to start saving my pennies for a nice little PowerBook.
    • by Graff (532189) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @04:27PM (#7249865)
      Oh yeah, the iPod is just as smooth as iTunes and more. It really is a cool as everyone says. It's simple, it works, it gets out of your way, and it does its job perfectly. Not only that but it looks good doing it. The best thing is that just about every software update for the iPod has improved how it works so it's almost like getting a new iPod every couple of months, with new games, functions, features, etc.

      I use my iPod for listening to music but I can tell you that's only part of what I like it for. I am constantly using it to store information I need to shuttle from one computer to another. I have contact information on there so I can call up a persons phone number or address in a second. It is great for storing little notes such as directions or shopping lists. The best thing is that all of these features can be displayed without a computer, they appear on the iPod display. So no carrying around address books or little pieces of paper, I shove it all on the iPod. Now you are able to do voice recordings and store digital photographs on the iPod. Very cool additions that I can see a million uses for.

      As far as getting a Macintosh I have always said that people should get the computer they feel most comfortable with. I can personally say that for me Macs have the perfect balance between simplicity and complexity. If you want to just stay in the GUI then pretty much is simple and just works, if you want to use the Terminal then everything is as geeky as you want it. It's a great balance and I enjoy both sides of Mac OS X.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:28PM (#7249138)
    SONY should be the angry party here. They could have owned the iPod market for Windows, and they let their music division shoot down their technology division.

    Funny how they still sell so many CD-burners and blank media though, isn't it?

  • by Greenrider (451799) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:30PM (#7249148)
    be sure to check out your QT settings in the control panel. If the audio out is set to DirectSound, you will probably experience muddy audio clarity. Change it to waveOut and the clarity should be just as good as it is in Winamp.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Additionally, users of iTunes are limited to music from Apple's Music Store

    untrue

    Most of this guy's comments seem to be based aroundthe fallacy that iTunes can only listen to music from the iTunes Music Store. No, it can listen to absolutely anything you, or your programs, or your perl scripts choose to import into iTunes. The only conditions is it doesn't support RealAudio or WMA. Oh, but that's what this is really all about, isn't it? ... this is a drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in mus
  • I recently went looking for a good online music website and hardly found anything. I haven't seen anybody offering what everybody obviously wants - a huge selection of music for low prices with immediate fulfillment.

    No, I don't like the idea of integrating the music store with the music player, but I guess 1 choice is better than 0. Personally I'm not an ITunes customer because of DRM, but I don't expect Microsoft to offer anything more free... think about it, if MS did offer a music service, it just w

  • "[Apple's <service>] ... is a drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in <service> services, choice in devices, and choice in <service> from a wide-variety of <service> services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device."

    Did you really expect something else from Microsoft? That form filler could have been used about Windows vs OS X, WMP vs iTunes or pretty much everywhere they compete. My take is: Give me one good service (with like mainstream music) first, then we can talk

  • There are dozens of music players for Windows, Linux, and MacOS, some of them with tie-ins to on-line stores. While it's fairly well written and easy to use, iTunes is just one of them. If it didn't come from Apple, nobody would think it worth mentioning.

    • ...is well all know Apple is going to do it right, as opposed to the other services? ;-P
    • I think it's less that it's from Apple, and more that it's clean, it's simple, it works well and without fuss, it arranges everything to be as smooth and easy as possible for you, and most importantly, the entire thing from mp3 player to music store to portable music player is just one seamlessly, effortlessly integrated product...

      That's Microsoft's big point of obsession, isn't it?

      "Integration"?
  • Apple makes no money on the iTMS [appleturns.com]; iTunes and the iTunes Music Store exist solely to sell iPods, or entice people to buy Macs.
  • The note about iPod's market share is a good one, and I think the most interesting part of all this. Microsoft might try their own foray into the embedded music device market, but I doubt it; the iPod has huge amounts of name recognition already. Also, if they did try to move in that direction, Microsoft politics would dictate that the CE people be given charge of the firmware (a task that CE is a bit heavy for), leading to the need for an expensive and energy-hungry processor, leading to low battery life,
  • Unless Apple decides to make radical changes to their service model, a Windows-based version of iTunes will still remain a closed system,

    Closed system? What, closed like Office file formats? Like middleware portions of the OS? Like network communications? Like the MSN Messanger service? Like pretty much everything Microsoft has ever done?

    Where iPod owners cannot access content from other services

    Wrong. If said other services allow users to burn CDs or download MP3s then yes, they can. If said o
  • MP3, RIP (Score:4, Informative)

    by LostCluster (625375) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:44PM (#7249253)
    The death of the MP3 is upon us.

    Microsoft's main complaint is that AAC is a closed format, which is only useful with iTunes, the iPod, Apple's Music Store, and QuickTime, and throwing the stone that the Windows Media Player format is compatible with 40 devices and several download sites... but let's face it, WMA is a closed system to. The WMA system has a few more choices, but not an unlimited number.

    What I really see is a future where you're about to lock yourself into the music network you pick today. If you buy your music by AAC, then you're stuck in the Apple products universe, if you buy your music by WMA you'll get stuck in the Windows Media products universe. If you want to stay with MP3s, you'll either have to buy CDs or risk the P2P cops finding you...

    Yeah, there are you options. How would you like to pay today?
  • by jerkychew (80913) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:44PM (#7249257) Homepage
    My Mac friends told me to download iTunes for the PC. I leap at the chance to badmouth Apple products any chance I can, so I went ahead and downloaded it. I wasn't interested in the store side of things, I just wanted to see how the player stood up against Winamp.

    Let me say that over the years, I have tried dozens of MP3 players, only to keep coming back to Winamp. And yes, I'm one of the few that admits to liking version 3 more than 2.x.

    Anyways, I've been searching for a long time for an app that will create a good, reliable, playable index of all my songs. I remember when Freeamp came out, its big claim to fame was the ability to build an index of songs according to their ID3 tags. Unfortunately, the app would ALWAYS crash while indexing. I went back to Winamp.

    Eventually, the app I found that came the closest to doing what I wanted was MusicMatch jukebox. The problem came in its sorting - it would sort by album/artist/whatever, but I wanted an app that would sub-sort the songs in the order they appeared on the album.

    For the record, I have about 300 albums' worth of songs. Each album has its own folder, and the songs are numbered in the order they appear on the album. I'm a big stickler for listening to songs in the order they were intended to be heard.

    So I download iTunes. No, I don't want it to be my default audio player. You gotta earn that trust. No, I DO NOT want Quicktime to be the default video player! Why the hell are you asking me this? I tell it to index all my music, and not to copy the songs into the My Music folder (this is just plain dangerous for people that don't know how to organize their local files. I see lots of disks filling up due to copies of their songs living in multiple folders).

    I fire it up, and nothing. Go into prefs, tell it where the songs live, and RE-TELL it not to associate Quicktime with my movie files (sigh).

    This time it indexes all my songs. Pretty slick, if HUGE, interface. Still doesn't sub-organize songs by order on their album. But wait! Edit - Options - view track number! Huzzah!

    Since my MP3 ripper of choice automatically puts the track number into my ID3 tags, suddenly I can see what order the songs are in! And it automatically sub-sorts by track number! This is huge!

    The longest I used an MP3 player other than Winamp was probably the 2-day stint I did with Sonique back in 99 or so. But iTunes just might break that record. I'm very happy with it thus far. The only complaint I have is that it doesn't appear to have a 'compact' mode, where I can shrink the player to a reasonable size. Instead I have this huge monstrocity of an app on my desktop. But if it's the price I pay for a reliable, indexing MP3 player, so be it.
  • Troll. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NineNine (235196) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @03:09PM (#7249430)
    This article is ridiculous. Who cares what ANY company's PR group says about a competitor's product? It's always going to be the same: OUR COMPETITOR SUCKS. This article is just trolling for "M$ is stoopid" posts. The story is iTunes, not what any other company says about 'em.
  • by dr.badass (25287) * on Saturday October 18, 2003 @03:10PM (#7249439) Homepage
    Thank you, Microsoft for standing up to my right to choose. Now fuck off.

    I already have choices, and I choose iTunes, the iTunes Music Store, and the iPod. I've looked at other options, and with rare exceptions, they all suck. Some of them (like Buy.com's music downloads), sucked really fucking hard. If Microsoft (or anybody else) wants me to choose anything else, they should try creating something that doesn't suck, instead of telling me that I'm being "locked-in" when I choose to use iTunes.
  • Choice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @03:13PM (#7249452)
    Its rather interesting to see the issue of choice brought up in this context. While the point is a good one, it misses the mark for a couple of reasons.

    First, Apple is the current "innovator" in this market.

    All jukebox hardware devices are compared to Apple's iPod. The iPod is clearly the leader in the market and defines the scale by which all others are measured. Apple leads the market with an outstanding combination of features, user interface, and overall design - from the iPods compact size to its pleasing, slick look.

    The same same is true of the iTunes Music Store. Apple was the first to deliver a service that offered a decent selection, at an acceptable price, with acceptable DRM restrictions. With this service, one is able to not only get a quality download, but retain some degree of ownership; more if you're willing to jump through the very clear loopholes created by the service. Which isn't to say Apple's service got all all right - more on that later.

    Apple does have its competitors - and there are clearly products coming out that are designed to directly compete with the iPod and iTunes Music Store. But if Windows users want to take advantage of the leading products, iTunes is the gateway. In this context, choice is not the issue.

    But what if choice is important? Users will need to avoid DRM restrictions. And they'll want to use standard formats like MP3 and (now growing in popularity) Ogg Vorbis that can be played on a wide variety of software and hardware.

    The iPod is still an option in this case... if your choice of format is MP3. But you'll have to look elsewhere if you prefer Ogg Vorbis. Some of the iPod competitors offer that choice - a distinction that may cost Apple some sales.

    When it comes to music service, neither Apple's offering nor any service featuring Microsoft's technology offers the end user real choice. There are some small label services that manage to deliver a fairly nice catalog of music from non-RIAA affiliated sources. But then, the selection is indeed limited if the end user expects to find their old favorites.

    If consumers want true freedom and choice, they will have to continue using the current collection of illegal music swapping systems. And that has been the problem all along. When it comes to the business of music, choice has never been a consideration. It still isn't. The irony of the situation is that this mind set has created an increasing market for "pirated" data - a market industry trade groups become more and more vocal about and have taken more and more drastic actions to curb. What this does to consumer mindshare is fodder for other discussions.

    Microsoft is correct to point out choice. But they're wrong in how it applies to the situation at hand.
  • CHOICE!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by 5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:04PM (#7250494) Homepage
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • iTunes is Open (Score:4, Informative)

    by piscoBandito (710202) <4n01.crashonlaunch@org> on Saturday October 18, 2003 @07:50PM (#7250650)
    iTunes for Windows requires Quicktime 6.4 to be installed for it to work (or 6.3 for the Mac version).

    Why?

    Because all the decoding of the AAC files - both DRM'd and non-DRM'd - is completed through the QuickTime libraries (NOTE: this is also a way to get iTunes to play ogg/vorbis encoded tracks). ANY application that makes the appropriate calls to the QuickTime API [apple.com] can decode and play tracks ripped by iTunes into AAC and tracks downloaded from the iTMS (assuming the computer is authorized to play them).

    So, in theory, it's possible to get WinAMP to play files downloaded from the store if you don't want to use iTunes as your player software. Toast for Mac already can burn tracks ripped by iTunes and/or downloaded from the iTMS onto an audio CD [roxio.com].

    The only problem is audio device support, but Apple likes it's iPod sales and Hell already froze over, so we probably won't be seeing WMA support on the iPod or iTMS compatibility on 3rd party devices ever - or at least not until iPod sales start slipping in a major way.
  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:15AM (#7259222) Homepage Journal
    Pop CD in WindowsXP machine (not mine, I would never submit to a convicted monopolist for my computing needs).

    Try to rip tracks of perfectly legal CD to disk.

    Try to find way of *chosing* mp3 format in place of the default WMA, MS owned, format.

    Realize *there is not choice of format* by default.

    Find out in the net that you need a third party plugin for this.

    Install another application to achieve what you want.

    Thank MS for the choice they have given you by completely ignoring the most widespread format to store music in digital format.

Whenever a system becomes completely defined, some damn fool discovers something which either abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

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