16 May 2006

The URGE to blog

My first reactions on hearing about the release of the MTV/Microsoft joint venture music download service is that this is not so much a threat to Apple as a serious threat to the other non-iPod download services. If you had invested lots of money in a WMA-based music store business only to see Microsoft launch their own, I expect you might be a bit upset. Why Rob Glaser was banging on about Apple last week is beyond me. It will be Microsoft that will hit the final blow, Rob. Napster, Yahoo and others are going to find it tough when the default store is set as something else.

But, I think there is another obvious weakness here. While the store may launch now as a beta in the US (would you buy something from a beta?), it is not due outside the US until the final release of WMP11 as part of Vista. So that gives Apple another 9 months on the rest of the world. In fact, it is in the rest of the world that Apple is more vulnerable as it does not hold market-strangling marketshares in countries other than the US, Canada and the UK. While of course the logistics of launching stores in many lands are not to be sniffed at, it seems that this will be too little and too late.

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