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Microsoft Media Media (Apple)

Microsoft's Take on iTunes for Windows 588

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hello-mr-kettle-meet-mr-pot dept.
Skruffy writes "The Register has an amusing article about Microsoft's reaction to the launch of Apple's iTunes software on Windows. It seems that Microsoft is very keen to warn its users of the dangers of using a service that would restrict them from accessing music from other sources... Oh the irony."
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Microsoft's Take on iTunes for Windows

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  • by rmohr02 (208447) <`ude.uso' `ta' `24.rhom'> on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:01AM (#7270078)
    [U]sers of iTunes are limited to music from Apple's Music Store.
    No shit! I'm getting rid of iTunes right now!
    • Um... (Score:3, Insightful)

      Isn't this article incredibly redundant? The last article linked to Microsoft's comments on iTunes. People already discussed it.

      What more is there to say? Should everyone just repost their comments from yesterday? Or was this just another Microsoft-flamebait-for-page-hits article?
    • I would like to see the selection before downloading the app, but when I have briefly gone to the site, I could see no way to browse without installing i-tunes.
      • I, for one, agree with you that it would be nice to know what you're getting into before downloading. I'm not sure why everyone is so up-in-arms about letting you see what the selection is, but it seems like a legitimate complaint. If you have a very specific taste in music, for example, it could just be a waste of time downloading and installing iTunes just to uninstall it a few minutes later.
    • FWIW, you can rip to formats other than AAC and you can certainly download and play pretty much any other format. I assume that they meant you can only "legally purchase music" from Apple's store as opposed to the much broader "you can only use itunes with music from AMS." Clearly this was a minor oversight on their part... /rr
    • by nutshell42 (557890) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @12:42PM (#7272005) Journal
      Dear Mr. Jobs,
      we the geeks are in full support of Microsoft's demand to open up media players for all competitors and hope you will give in.

      A possible loss of revenue could be compensated by a new program with the tentative title "Apple Office for Windows" and we're all looking forward to Microsoft's complaint that office suites should be open and support all competing document formats.

      etc...

  • ... is that M$ starts a new monopoly on iTunes-like apps, especially that Napster 2 has been launched a while back, isn't this what M$ does all the time?
    • But Napster 2 sucks. There was a review on /. the other day, and the poor reviewer couldn't get his machine to stop crashing when he attempted to open it. Plus, Windoze users seem to have taken to iTunes like a duck to water (my girlfriend is probably buying music right now). iTunes is here to stay, and I wouldn't be surprised if it had a monopoly on pay-for-play services within a year.

      • Well, according to the Napster web site [napster.com] Napster 2 is currently still in beta testing anyway. That bug should have been fixed before the software went to Beta, but hopefully it'll get caught (or have already been caught), before the release of the "finished product" on the 29th.

      • my girlfriend is probably buying music right now

        You read /. and have a girlfriend? Begone, infidel!
      • by Talez (468021) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @11:19AM (#7270944)
        Plus, Windoze users seem to have taken to iTunes like a duck to water.

        I know I have. I've been spending the past few days sorting and cataloguing my music. Normally I didn't give a shit about ID3 tags but iTunes has changed all of that.

        Its just so insanely powerful and simple. I think most of the Apple bitchers at the moment are having trouble switching from a "Now Playing" style playlist to the library style of iTunes. It eventually grew on me and now I can't live without my Library and my Browse button.
        • Those things have been in Winamp since forever. I'm sitting here right now staring at the library manager, it has a three-pane view of artist-album-track, and a search field. I use it all of the time, in fact I don't have a single playlist file anywhere. I used iTunes a lot when my Mac was working, and I still think Winamp is a lot handier, it can be collapsed to take up very little screen space yet still expanded and/or controlled with just a few keystrokes.
          • by Talez (468021)
            They've been in Winamp 3 but not in Winamp 2. Winamp 3 just felt like a three toed sloth on Valium while iTunes runs at a fair clip sorting through my 3,000 or so songs quite quickly. Hopefully those issues will be sorted in WA5 (currently in beta) but I don't think I'll be trying it anytime soon.

            I won't argue with you on the very little screen space. Minimode takes up more space than WA's windowshade mode but at 1280x1024 it doesn't really bother me that much.

            Winamp 3 was a good rough and ready solution
    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:11AM (#7270202)
      Unless they pull an Internet Explorer and give the software away with Windows (even then, the next version of Windows is years away), I don't see how they could steal users away from Apple's service without actually making their service better than Apple's - which would actually be a great thing. Two huge corporations battling to make music services better and cheaper - nice.

      -- Dr. Eldarion --
      • Automatically installed with a SP or something maybe? Or with the next version of windows media player?
        • Yeah, but how many home users actually install service packs or upgrade media player? I'd say at least a good 85% of home Windows users don't even know how to get to Windows update.

          Unless it comes in one of the auto-updates (which I really doubt they'd do), I don't think they'd be able to actually get it to a significant amount of people through an update.

          -- Dr. Eldarion --
      • would be to have Clippy play air-guitar while listening to music. and include even more purple color in their default skin.
      • by Graff (532189) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @11:47AM (#7271275)
        I don't see how they could steal users away from Apple's service without actually making their service better than Apple's - which would actually be a great thing. Two huge corporations battling to make music services better and cheaper - nice.

        Yep competition is a good thing. The problem is that when you have a company that is a monopoly in a market and it uses that monopoly position to create a barrier to entry into that market then any other company will find it too difficult to enter into competition.

        Take cars for example. Suppose Ford has a super engine that runs only on fuel made by Ford. Now Fords sell like crazy and take over the market. Years down the road the gas stations only sell Ford fuel because there are so many Ford cars. What are the chances of a new car being made that runs on Ford fuel? None, because Ford engines are the only ones that can. What are the chances that new cars come out that don't run on Ford fuel? None, because there are hardly any service stations that sell non-Ford fuel. The net result? Only Ford cars and Ford fuel are produced.

        Yes, this is a simplistic example and might not be 100% real-world but it does highlight the basics behind monopolies. Right now Microsoft has a monopoly because it is the predominant operating system. If it uses that monopoly to drive out competitors in related markets, say web browsers, then it is abusing its monopolistic position.

        The same thing goes if Microsoft decided to release a security update that breaks Apple's iTunes without telling anyone. Boom, iTunes starts working crappy and people blame Apple when the fault is all Microsoft. Don't think this can't happen, it has happened before with Quicktime. It was shown in internal memos that Quicktime was broken on Windows for a while because Microsoft deliberately changed a few libraries without warning.

        As long as there is fair and open competition the consumer, and the companies, will benefit. If any company is allowed to squash its competition entirely then the consumer will suffer.
  • OR (Score:3, Funny)

    by da3dAlus (20553) <dustin@grau.gmail@com> on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:01AM (#7270084) Homepage Journal
    "from the doesn't-play-well-with-others dept."
    or
    "from the I'm-taking-my-toys-and-going-home dept."

    What a bunch of babies.
  • OK... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:02AM (#7270091) Homepage
    But how does iTunes restrict you from obtaining music from other sources? I can go to a concert. I can listen to the radio. I can play my own music. I can go to the record store. I can even use Kazaa. How is iTunes restricting me?
    • Really? You can listen to the radio? Try one of the 128k stations. Total crap even with massive bandwidth. Worthless.

      Heck, even the 28k stations are horrible compared to what I listen to through Media Player 9.

      iTunes restricts what you can do with what you buy. You have fewer rights with iTunes than with buying CDs, although the cost is roughly the same. It will only take you a few minutes of education to burst your bubble.
      • I know this may be shocking for some high-tech folks but I believe he was saying he could listen to the RADIO [reference.com] not to a streaming media service calling itself radio.

        In other words, having iTunes does not in any way "limit" his ability to use other means of obtaining music. It merely provides the convenience of obtaining music in a user-friendly environment for use on a limited set of devices.
      • Re:OK... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by quigonn (80360) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:21AM (#7270304) Homepage
        You have fewer rights with iTunes than with buying CDs

        Not of you burn them onto a CD and rip them again. And that is the major difference between Apple and Microsoft: Apple provides a legal way to "circumvent" DRM when the user is willing to spend some time to burn a CD and rip it again. That is real fair use, IMHO.
        • Please provide a link to something saying that the circumvention is "legal". I suspect you are in murky waters if you do such a thing.

          Anyway, isn't that just security through obscurity? Aren't we slashdotters trained to spite such means? Where is your outrage and disgust at AAPL for using such measures?

          I call "double standard" on you!
          • Re:OK... (Score:2, Interesting)

            by stanmann (602645)
            See the COngressional ruling IRT Betamax and time/media shifting... It it "legal" for me to record TV shows on my computer, it is not "legal" for me to download the same show from the interweb while watching it on TV.
          • All the music from iTunes store allows you to burn the downloaded music to cd, using the iTunes software. This isn't exactly circumvention, unless you use the feature to distribute the music to others. But it is definatly legal (as long as you don't distribute the cds or rips of the cds).
            Oh yea you wanted a link.. ok.
            http://www.apple.com/itunes/store/
            "the iTunes Music Store lets you quickly find, purchase and download the music you want for just 99 per song. You can burn songs onto an unlimited number of C
      • Re:OK... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EricWright (16803) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:25AM (#7270349) Journal
        ...yet with iTMS, you have far MORE rights than you do with any other major online music purchasing site. The whole point is that the masses want a method of buying music without either a) going to the store and dropping change for a physical disc, or b) buying a CD online and waiting 1-7 days for delivery.

        The iTMS restrictions are a) no more than 10 burns of a playlist containing an iTMS track (fine, make a different playlist), b) sharing iTMS tracks with no more than 3 (or is it 5) other computers on your local network, c) no sharing over external networks, d) no direct conversion to another format (gotta burn to disc, then re-rip in another format). What about that is so awful? No, it doesn't allow for wholesale piracy, I mean sharing. Yes, the tracks are in protected AAC/MPEG4 format. How is this better/worse from protected WMA format? Have you looked at the restrictions on tracks from buymusic.com? Many (most? all?) of the other sites restrict your use of the purchased tracks to the machine to which you originally downloaded the tracks. That's it...

        Checking a select few sites:

        napster.com (pressplay.com is a redirect here) requires Windows, requires IE5+, requires WMP7+.

        buymusic.com requires IE5+ and Windows (not using IE, I don't get any further than that requirement page... I'm sure WMP is required).

        iTMS requires iTunes. Now, there is no restriction to Mac only, and an external browser is not needed at all. This seems less restrictive than other sites (fine, bitch all you want about no linux/*BSD/etc. support).

        I do wish the quality was a bit higher, since the price of an full iTMS album is relatively similar to the price of a CD, but it's a trade off. You get (almost) what you want, when you want it, and you have more control over iTMS tracks than any legally downloadable music.

      • Granted, I don't listen to a ton of online radio, there are a couple stations I listen to, though I don't do it that often. Anyway, when I do listen, quality seems fine. I tend to listen to the same streams (or similar in content) at work in WMP (though soon will be using iTunes) and at home on the iBook in iTunes. I don't notice much of a difference, other than WMP tends to have more buffering hiccups, and the apps it self is a lot more bloated.

        iTunes restricts what you can do with what you buy. You ha
      • Re:OK... (Score:5, Informative)

        by shotfeel (235240) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @12:34PM (#7271895)
        iTunes restricts what you can do with what you buy

        Can we please get our terminology straight so people like me at least have a chance of understanding the arguments?

        iTunes is a program used for listening to and organizing music on a computer.

        The iTunes Music Store or iTMS is a service which sells music in an standards compliant format (AAC) wrapped up with a proprietary (FairPlay) DRM scheme.

        Thus iTunes does not restrict anything and can be used with several different audio formats and transcode between many of them. The iTMS sells music with some restrictions that are easily worked-around.
    • I think they are restricting you in what hardware your downloaded songs will play on, but that is a pretty thin argument really. It sort of glosses over the fact that the iPod is a seriously cool, useful, and attractive device.
    • Re:OK... (Score:5, Informative)

      by The Only Druid (587299) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:10AM (#7270189)
      You're misunderstanding Microsoft's claim. They're saying that by using iTunes to rip CDs [to AAC] or the Apple Music Store [to purchase AAC files] you are limiting your ability to use those files [since they not only contain DRM, but cannot be played in some software or on some MP3 portable devices].

      The logical fallacy is that iTunes can of course play AAC [negating the concern about playing the files on your computer], and that iTunes is actually a sales-device for the iPod which of course can play AAC.

      What's more ironic, and is being stated by several people already, is that all of Microsoft's efforts at distributing music [i.e. as partners with music distributing sites] involve the use of WMA format and DRM. Those files, of course, are no more useable than AAC, not to mention the particular point that WMA is not compatible with the iPod.

      What it comes down to is this: there is a true dividing line between the Apple music scene [i.e. AAC/iPod/iTunes] and the Microsoft music scene [i.e. WMA/Napster 2.0/Media Player], and Microsoft isn't happy that the Apple side is beating them.

      That said, I'm still using windows...just also using iTunes with my iPod, and purchasing AAC music.
      • Re:OK... (Score:5, Informative)

        by stanmann (602645) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:14AM (#7270232) Journal
        But Ripped AAC don't contain DRM, only downloaded AAC from the Apple music store..., and Itunes can Rip MP3 as well...
        • Re:OK... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by The Only Druid (587299) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:16AM (#7270254)
          Hey, I'm not supporting Microsoft's argument, just trying to explain it. As I said, I think Microsoft is at best criticizing Apple for precisely what they [microsoft] are doing, just because Apple is doing it better.

          Incidentally, as to circumventing the AAC DRM: if you burn to a CD [which you can do unlimited times with AAC files] you can then re-rip it to either DRM -free AAC files or MP3 or whatever. Obvioulsy, a loss of quality incurred whenever you recompress, but from my tests thus far [going from 128 AAC > CD > 128 AAC or 192 MP3] I've yet to notice any actual difference [although file size sometimes varies].
          • Re:OK... (Score:5, Informative)

            by infiniti99 (219973) <justin@affinix.com> on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @11:11AM (#7270889) Homepage
            And you don't necessarily need to recompress to a lossy format. For instance, AAC -> WAV -> Ogg FLAC would retain as much quality as you purchased. The Apple DRM is essentially non-existent.

            It appears the only real problem with the service is that you can't buy a higher-quality song that would be better for ripping to your own lossy format (or that Apple doesn't simply supply Vorbis/MP3 in the first place). But this is a problem of quality, not DRM.
      • Those files, of course, are no more useable than AAC

        Not really - there are FAR FAR more MP3 players out there that support WMA than there are that support AAC. Every new player that I've seen has had WMA support, but I don't think I've ever seen one besides the iPod that's had AAC support.

        -- Dr. Eldarion --
      • iTunes (for Windows) will rip to MP3 just as well as AAC. iTunes will play MP3s just as well as AACs. The iPod can play MP3s and AACs. Windows Media Player can play Windows Media and MP3s.

        Admittedly, if you buy AACs from the iTMS, and want to get them onto your non-iPod device, you need to burn them to CD, and rip them back to MP3.. but it's not impossible by any means.
      • Re:OK... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Technician (215283) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @11:06AM (#7270837)
        Both Apple and MS are using something other than industry standard MP3's making both incompatible with both my car and my portable. I guess I'm stuck with the shiny silver disks and my favorite ripping program.

        Too bad the industry doesn't get it that it is possible to sell high quality MP3's from a reliable quality source and compete with free. The bottled water industry gets it. They compete well against tap water. The music industry doesn't get it. Bottled water is drinkable out of the bottle or in your favorite glass. DRM files are not playable in my car or my portable player. Sombody please release a quality compatable & reliable pure source.
      • Re:OK... (Score:3, Informative)

        While AAC still requires license [vialicensing.com], it is listed under ISO standard 14496-3. I should also point out that Linux users can use AAC files, since there are a number of open source projects out there. Searching sourceforge.net and freshmeat.net will turn up a few. To save you a bit of the leg work, here are some:

        It should also be noted that AAC is part of MPEG 4, so it could be said that AAC is ro MPEG 4 what MP3 is to MPEG 1.

      • Re:OK... (Score:3, Informative)

        by feldsteins (313201)
        ...by using iTunes to rip CDs [to AAC] or the Apple Music Store [to purchase AAC files] you are limiting your ability to use those files [since they not only contain DRM, but cannot be played in some software or on some MP3 portable devices].

        Not to beat a dead horse here, but some are bound to mis-understand this. It sounds as if you're saying "if you rip your own CDs using iTunes the resulting files are a) DRM'd and b) unplayable in anything but an iPod. That is, of course, wrong on both counts. Nothi
    • by mblase (200735) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:26AM (#7270355)
      Microsoft's #1 complaint, although unspoken, is that while iTunes can play downloaded MP3s, it can't play the DRM'ed WMA files that Microsoft promotes. In that sense, it's at odds with Microsoft's designs. Songs downloaded from iTMS only play on iTunes and iPod players, while WMA songs downloaded from other legal services can't and probably never will.

      In that sense, it's iTMS vs. every other MS-sponsored service, and iPods vs. every other MS-sponsored player. However, Apple hasn't closed the format. It's just as possible for other download services and MP3 player manufacturers to support AAC just like iTMS and the iPod do. They simply don't at this time.
  • by Gunfighter (1944) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:03AM (#7270097) Homepage
    Hrmm... I guess, according to Microsoft's logic, I should switch to WindowsXP so that I won't be restricted to viewing music, movies, etc. in non-Microsoft^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hstandard formats.

    Yeah, right. If Microsoft understood open formats, they would have launched their own music download service months ago.

    Now I remember why my cluebat has a permanant imprint of Mr. Gates' forehead on one side.

  • Cool! Taco must be shaking in his boots, running scared due to today's release of Office 2003.

    OK. I'm just sort of kidding. But really. This ramped up bashing does not look good when MS does a big release like they are today. It looks like sour grapes. Which, of course, it is...

    Why not get more positive on what you believe in, rather than bash?

    And just look at the story just before the consecutive MS bashing stories... It's about linux zealots gone wild. Hmmmm.
  • <img src="http://img.fark.com/images/2001/topics/ironic .gif">

    Oh wait...wrong site.
  • by westcourt_monk (516239) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:05AM (#7270127) Homepage Journal
    I think MS might be worried here. Apple has product placement now and it has the cool factor. MS will have a hard time breaking into the market for sure now. Their stance on DRM makes their AAC criticism look foolish. Do they not have a public relations office?

    If Apple hits the 10 million mark by Christmas I will be impressed, MS will be scared, and the RIAA might start to be quiet.. maybe.

    • by bubbasatan (99237) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:25AM (#7270348) Homepage
      If Apple hits the 10 million mark by Christmas I will be impressed...

      I think I heard that Unca Steve and company have stated that their goal is 100 million songs sold by the end of this year. Considering that they sold 13 million to approximately 5% of the market (Apple users), and have since sold 1 million in the first 3.5 days of iTMS for Windows and Mac, that's pretty impressive. I don't know if 100 million is gonna happen, but hey, everybody needs to aspire to something.
    • by Luscious868 (679143) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @11:15AM (#7270919)
      I think MS might be worried here.

      Two things. First, you're completely right. Anytime Microsoft or any Microsoft employee talks about "choice" with a straight face then there is definitely something going on.

      Second, they should be worried. I downloaded iTunes when it was released and immediately started using it as my main media player / jukebox. After buying some tracks from the iTMS I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new 40 GB iPod from the Apple store. Granted I had wanted to buy some kind of MP3 player for a while but I was heavily leaning toward one of the 128 or 256 MB flash players. I had absolutely no intention of buying a hard drive based MP3 player and definitely nothing as expensive as even the 10 GB iPod. After using iTunes and the iTMS and reading about how great people thought the iPod was I decided to go with the iPod. I had it shipped overnight and spent the entire weekend ripping my CD collection to MP3 in iTunes and playing around with the iPod. After a few days I can say that I am thoroughly impressed with both products and my satisfaction with them will result in having to take a serious look at a Mac the next time I buy a computer.

      The iPod, while expensive, is such a great product. I can take my whole music collection with me where everywhere I go. The batter lasts 7 - 8 hours, it can be charged to 80% capacity in an hour (it takes about 4 for 100%) and it's small enough to fit comfortably in my pocket. The user interface makes it easy to interact with. It comes with a dock that has a line out jack so I can hook it into my stereo or take it with me to a friends and hook it into their equipment. With the car adaptor kit I can use it in my car.

      The iPod also acts as a portable hard drive and a mini PDA. Setting the it up as a portable hard drive takes one click in iTunes. I had to buy the USB adaptor and a cable but now I can use the iPod to transfer files between my PC at work and my computer at home. You can also export your contact and appointment information from Outlook and store it in the iPod. It's even easier if you have a Mac as iSync can automatically sync your contact and calendar information for you.

      I'm thrilled to death with the iTunes / iPod combo and I don't recall ever feeling this way about anything Microsoft has produced. So, to summarize, I think Microsoft is scared and they very well should be. I'm a happy Apple customer who will consider buying other Apple products in the future. Before iTunes and the iPod I wouldn't have even considered buying a Mac, or anything else produced by Apple.

      Microsoft won't be able to one up Apple anytime soon by bundeling their Music Store / Jukebox with the next version of Windows because Longhorn is still such a long way off. That means that Microsoft is going to actually have to compete with Apple on the merits of it's own software and DRM format. That's going to be increadibly hard to do.

  • by Dr. q00p (714993) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:06AM (#7270132)
    Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. What's your problem?
  • Round 2! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1010011010 (53039) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:07AM (#7270139) Homepage
    I think we had this story already.

    It *is* extremely hypocritical, but also typical, of Microsoft to make thiese kinds of statements. They're really upset that

    1. iTMS is better than their "solutions" for digital music.
    2. iTunes is better software than Windows Media Player 9 (wuh, it's awful to use).
    3. It doesn't lock anyone into MICROSOFT products
  • Irony (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Oh the irony.

    Irony:
    1. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
    2. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.

    Dishonest, but not ironic.

    • by snarkh (118018)
      irony (def 3b), Merriam-Webster:
      incongruity between a situation developed in a drama and the accompanying words or actions that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:12AM (#7270206) Homepage Journal
    In related news [com.com]:

    Federal and state regulators have voiced concern that a feature in Windows XP that involves online music purchasing may violate terms of Microsoft's antitrust settlement.

    The issue surfaced in a court-mandated briefing filed jointly by Microsoft and federal and state regulators. The compliance update says there are ongoing discussions over the "Shop for Music Online" feature in the operating system.

    "Plaintiffs are concerned that the feature invokes Microsoft's Internet Explorer, rather than the user's chosen default browser, in a manner that may be inconsistent" with the settlement, according to the filing.

  • Let me get this straight....they were sued for having a monopoly, yet now are accusing Apple, with a market share from 4% to 5% of being a monopoly in the music service?

    Mr.Gates, the people have spoken, with 1 million songs downloaded from iTMS in 3.5 days, and they don't want your crap for "standards".
  • by 3Suns (250606) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:17AM (#7270264) Homepage
    "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. Additionally, users of iTunes are limited to music from Apple's Music Store. As I mentioned earlier, 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," said Fester. David, that is.


    Huh? iTunes is not limited to Apple Music downloads, it also plays mp3s, audio CDs, and pretty much anything other un-DRMed audio you have. The iPod has always played mp3s. What's Apple supposed to do, preemptively invent DRM solutions that profit other companies and put those into iTunes? And iTunes does allow you to burn to an audio CD. MS WMP would do no different than Apple here.

    Granted, Apple Music downloads are useless to anyone without iTunes (on Windows or Mac) or an iPod. Until I can play them in linux, they're useless to me. And don't tell me to burn everything to a CD and then rip it. Apple Music is also useless if you want to listen on a non-apple portable. Once again, Apple has chosen to support "everyone" by offering a choice of proprietary systems, rather than a single open system. "Windows or Mac" is just as bad as "Mac only" or "Windows only".
    • by Silverhammer (13644) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:37AM (#7270461)

      Blockquoth the poster:

      Granted, Apple Music downloads are useless to anyone without iTunes (on Windows or Mac) or an iPod. Until I can play them in linux, they're useless to me. And don't tell me to burn everything to a CD and then rip it.

      Burn everything to a CD and then rip it.

      Seriously, it's time to reconsider your expectations. It's an online music store -- the RIAA would not allow it to exist without some form of DRM. So be thankful for the loophole.

    • Granted, Apple Music downloads are useless to anyone without iTunes (on Windows or Mac) or an iPod. Until I can play them in linux, they're useless to me. And don't tell me to burn everything to a CD and then rip it. Apple Music is also useless if you want to listen on a non-apple portable. Once again, Apple has chosen to support "everyone" by offering a choice of proprietary systems, rather than a single open system. "Windows or Mac" is just as bad as "Mac only" or "Windows only".

      You have a good point..

  • by ih8apple (607271) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:19AM (#7270282)
    I can't believe no one looked this up yet. Anyway, this link [microsoft.com] goes to the Microsoft "Q&A about iTunes" that the Register article refers to.
  • BuyTunes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by n0wak (631202) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:21AM (#7270305) Homepage Journal
    I tried to buy, er, tunes on buytunes.com once, but all I got was:

    Thank you for visiting BuyMusic.com.

    In order to take full advantage of BuyMusic.com's offerings you must be on a Windows Operating System using Internet Explorer version 5.0 or higher.


    All for using Firebird. News flash: Microsoft browser monopoly too restrictive. Asses.
  • by 11223 (201561) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:21AM (#7270306)
    Microsoft today warned users of the danger of OSDN's Slashdot service, saying it was a single source for dup articles [slashdot.org] that would never satisfy the needs of Windows users. "Our users are accustomed to reading their dups from a variety of MSNBC and Slate-carrying services, but Slashdot is a single source for its own dups," claimed Microsoft CEO Steve Monkeyballs.

    Analysts noted that Slashdot, despite obtaining over 1 million page views in its first week, will have a hard time with the Windows market. "We believe that an open system like Microsoft's is the way to go," claimed the Garter Belt Group.

  • More interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummelNO@SPAMjohnhummel.net> on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:21AM (#7270308) Homepage
    Is that Microsoft is already being checked up on for their upcoming music service:

    http://www.salon.com/tech/wire/2003/10/20/microsof t/index.html [salon.com].

    Microsoft's idea of "choice" is a button on the side that reads "Buy Music Online". Even if you tell the system "I prefer another browser to yours", or "I prefer another media player to yours", you get sent to the "Microsoft Music Store".

    No way to override that unless you manually start up a separate program to begin with. Looks like you can't just delete that little button from the OS.

    Imagine the phone call when some irate customer calls Apple and says "I clicked this Buy Music Button on my computer and I can't play it with this iTunes thing! What kind of scam are you pulling!"

    Ah, yes - Microsoft, that bastion of choice and freedom! (Well, as long as you choose a Microsoft solution, of course.)
  • by jdreed1024 (443938) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:23AM (#7270321)
    ...but unless the users see through this, MS might just gain the upper hand. Yes, yes, it's all FUD, we know, but do the users know? These are the same users who upgrade just because something is newer, and when their 'net connection dies, they call the helpdesk saying "My Microsoft is broken".

    Apple needs to fight this with some powerful prime-time adverisements. (Like they did for the "Switch" campaign, except without the annoying chick). They need to remind users that iTunes can play any MP3s (and WAV files), and their iPods can be used to take their entire CD collection on the road with them - not just purchased music from the iTunes Music store. (Heck, that was one of the major reasons why I bought one - you can easily press "Next track" on the iPod while driving, but it's hard to change CDs, and CD changers are expensive and only hold 6-10 CDs).

    Apple also needs to do more plugging on the fact that users can burn any number of plain vanilla audio CDs containing their purchased tracks. (You can only burn the same _playlist_ 10 times if it contains purchased tracks, but you can burn the tracks themselves any number of times. The playlist restriction is to prevent you from downloading an album, making a playlist of that album, and burning 50 copies and selling/giving them to your friends. And really, that's not unreasonable - would you do that with CDs you purchased?)

  • Subject line really says all... in the early nineties, IBM had a bit of a campaign on to caution managers about this danger.
  • When the evil empire immediately reacts to something like iTunes you know that they are scared of it. M$ starting a FUD campaign the day after the service is released totally legitimizes it in the market place. I'd be willing to bet that this helped spur the sale of 1 million tunes in the first 3 days. I know it inspired me to buy some.
  • "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. Additionally, users of iTunes are limited to music from Apple's Music Store. As I mentioned earlier, 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,"

    Sure you hav

  • by TyrranzzX (617713) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:37AM (#7270468) Journal
    Accuse me of trolling and mod me down if you must, but you've always got to look into the future.

    Well, lez see, I'd bet Microsoft will use their OS monopoly to get a monopoly on selling music online...then I can also see since media formats have always been proprietary cept' for ogg of course, I can see the windows DRM being used with media player to restirct which formats windows can utilize. So in the distant future, we'll see that microsoft's WMA format becoming the de-facto standard amongst windows users. Stupid people will have to buy their media and probably can't rip their CD's, while smart people will use something else like linux or mac.

    Combine microsoft deciding they don't like competition from p2p apps or other formats with their autoupdating patch system and you've got them eliminating windows machines from the p2p scene altogether. Heck, they might even be brazen enough to do something like brilliant did awhile ago and use users machines as nodes in the network so they don't have to pay for bandwidth to host their website, patches, or anything else for that matter. Mmmm..viral microsoft patches....

    I don't trust apple either, they've done their share of stupid monopolistic stuff too, so it'll be interesting to see MS and apple fight.
  • by mojoNYC (595906)
    now that iTunes and the iPod are available for wintel, maybe some of the windoze dittoheads will realize there IS a difference in how Apple products work--how many times in the past have we all heard, 'bbbbbut, we also have a music player app (media player app, video editing app, etc) that does the same thing...does it really?;>

    -mojo

  • that's a first (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:45AM (#7270565) Homepage
    I don't think I've ever seen someone actually call Apple a monopoly, and seriously mean it, before reading this article. Is he serious? Apple a monopoly?

    I think that's the first time I've seen a monopoly with something relatively insignificant like 10% of their given market. Didn't I recently read that even linux has a higher market share than Apple?

    The fact that apple has good products, and has a very exclusive set of products that interact with each other well, has nothing to do with being a monopoly, directly.
  • As far as I know, the iPod is pretty much the only player to use AAC. I wonder if the iTunes Music Store gets popular if other players will start to support AAC and then eventually get a license from Apple to play the restricted files. I know some will argue that iTunes is a way to get people to buy iPods so it'd be silly for them to license the DRM'ed AAC files but... who knows... maybe Apple is nicer than we think? Not that it matters to me... my Mac and my iPod work just fine... I've been pulled in fu
  • by csoto (220540) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @10:48AM (#7270618)
    They seem to equate iTunes for Windows with the iTunes Music Service. One is a "digital jukebox," while the other is a download/rights management service. Use of the former does not require use of the latter. Only the latter entails any sort of "lack of choice," although it's the only REAL choice we've been offered. Here's what I sent to the author:

    "Why is it that you and just about every "rumor" site insists on confusing iTunes for Windows and the iTunes Music Service? Everyone claims that by installing "iTunes," you are effectively supporting an "Apple monopoly," simply because the DRM-enabled files purchased from the iTunes Music Store can only be played on iPods (or other copies of iTunes). This completely ignores the fact that iTunes is a "plain 'ol MP3 player" (and a rather nice one, at that). The ONLY time DRM comes into play is when you purchase DRM-enabled AAC files from the iTunes Music Service. That makes sense, given how music publishers are paranoid about "rights-free" music downloads. Installing iTunes for Windows (as I have done on my Dell laptop at work, and a Compaq Evo tablet) in no way locks one into Apple's DRM-enabled AAC "world." I can still encode CDs as MP3s, burn these tracks to CDs (although this Evo is so slow, that would be rather painful!), and transfer them to a cheesy MP3 flash player (so far, I've avoided them as mostly useless- I'm waiting to buy an iPod, once the new baby's expenses are met).

    So, please get it right. iTunes for Windowsb is benign. Buying tracks on iTunes Music Service may "lock you in," but what's the alternative? Choice? What choice? Buy DRM-enabled tracks from WMA-supporting sites? No thanks. Can't even play them on one of those junky WMA-enabled flash players. Talk about no choice. Apple negotiated good DRM policy on my behalf, and that's why I've spent good money on a few dozen tracks already. Getting to play them on the best "digital jukebox" out there is just a plus..."

  • Microsoft's Right! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cmoney (216557) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @11:17AM (#7270930)
    WMA is supported on more devices and players than Apple's AAC (w/DRM) and the iPod.

    BUT

    WMA support is IRRELEVANT if the Digital Restrictions Management that infests Microsoft products doesn't allow me to play it anywhere else anyway. I once had a free offer to download WMA files from some music service and found that once the files were copied to any other computer, they were useless anyway. Copying to a player which did play WMAs was fruitless as well.

    So the DRM (remember it's Digital RESTRICTIONS Management) is the overriding limiting factor, and not whether WMA is supported or not.

    All the other online music services are music RENTAL right? If so, I won't participate regardless of the format.

    Microsoft's argument is irrelevant until the WMA-supporting music services offer more lenient restrictions. I don't want my music to stop after I stop paying $19/month, I don't wanna have to worry if I bought the correct license to burn to CD for every single track I buy!
  • by panurge (573432) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @11:21AM (#7270963)
    Obviously failed economics 101. A monopoly is something which effectively controls the supply of an economic good. Microsoft is a monopoly as regards desktop operating systems, though not as regards servers. Apple does not control the supply of anything. Orlowski does not appear to realise that vertically integrated business != monopoly.

    It's as stupid as calling BMW a monopoly because only BMW makes BMWs.

    Or perhaps Orlowski is thinking that Apple is in a monopoly position as regards the suppliers of software. Actually, because their market share is small, the opposite is the case. They have to provide reasons for suppliers to support them. The fact that some applications may be subsumed by Apple is a fact of life: every manufacturer has to make make or buy decisions all the time. Currently conventional wisdom is that everything is better subcontracted out, but eventually if you go far enough the subcontractors own you.

    Personally, I suspect that the ITMS may be too small to survive: if revenue is around $30 million and none of that is profit, there is no real budget to promote it. But at least it's a try, and Apple should be given full credit for trying.

    • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot.stango@org> on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @12:05PM (#7271540) Homepage Journal
      Personally, I suspect that the ITMS may be too small to survive: if revenue is around $30 million and none of that is profit, there is no real budget to promote it.

      Apple has a few billion in the bank, so there's your promotion budget.

      Also, no matter how well the iTMS does, Apple still only makes a pittance from it, thanks to the record labels and their huge cut. The whole service is basically a loss leader designed to sell iPods (which are quite profitable), and ideally even induce some people to switch to the Mac. The iTMS is the razor, and iPods are the blades.

      ~Philly
  • by reptilicus (605251) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @11:32AM (#7271061)
    Apple has just put out a help document for musicians looking to sell songs through the iTMS: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=931 91 [apple.com]
  • by MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) on Tuesday October 21, 2003 @02:02PM (#7272878)
    OK what I'm about to say sounds very strange coming out of my mouth... but here goes.

    I think Fester has a point.

    Using Windows Media Player, I can play DRM tunes from BuyMusic.com, Napster, and other stores which use WMA DRM (of which he purported there are several others). I can send those same DRM tunes to various supporting hardware.

    Using iTunes, I can play DRM tunes from ... iTunes. I can send those same DRM tunes to ... iPod.

    All that said ....

    I have a .WMA song I bought from BuyMusic.com, and a .M4P song I bought from iTunes. I can't play them both in a single player. To me, that's both Microsoft's and Apple's problem to solve. Apple can probably "solve" it by allowing third party hackers to write a Quicktime plugin for WMA. I wonder how Microsoft plans to solve the fact that their Media Player can't play the most popular DRM format (in terms of number of downloads) for music?

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