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Microsoft Offers A Thumbs-Down To iTunes, Calling It "Limited"

Microsoft Offers A Thumbs-Down To iTunes, Calling It "Limited"

by , 4:15 PM EDT, October 17th, 2003

This won't come as a surprise to anyone, but Microsoft thinks that iTunes for Windows is just too limiting for discerning Windows users. This was revealed in an "interview" with Dave Fester, General Manager - Windows Digital Media Division, titled "Q&A: Choosing a Digital Music Service for Windows Users." In the interview, Mr. Fester says that Windows users "expect choice in music services," something which iTunes does not provide. The interview with the Microsoft executive was conducted by Microsoft's PressPass PR arm.

Fortunately, Microsoft also has the solution for all those Windows users who are looking for choice in music services: The company recommends just about any service that relies on Microsoft's Windows Media 9 technology. From the "interview:"

PressPass: We've heard that Apple will be launching a Windows-based version of iTunes. Do you see that as impacting Napster or other Windows-based services?

Fester: iTunes captured some early media interest with their store on the Mac, but I think the Windows platform will be a significant challenge for them. 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. Lastly, 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. When I'm paying for music, I want to know that I have choices today and in the future.

PressPass: How do the current Windows-based services differ from iTunes?

Fester: As I mentioned, there are lots of choices in Windows music services. The service that offers consumers the most tracks and best experience will win the hearts and minds of consumers. If you look at Napster, it will launch as the world's largest online service with over half a million tracks from all the major labels and hundreds of independents on October 29. Napster goes way beyond individual downloads, offering advanced services such as unlimited downloads, customized radio, shared playlists, music videos and more. Music fans can use dozens of devices with Napster, and can even enjoy this service in the convenience of their living room with a remote control and Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004.

All told, music fans should look for services that offer the best experience and take advantage of the best digital media platform available on Windows. With Windows Media 9 Series, you get faster starts, better quality music, and support for the most devices.

You can read the full interview at Microsoft's Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The subheading for PressPass is "Information for journalists." This nonsense is aimed at journalists too lazy to do their own homework, and any journalists who buys the information provided by this "interview" without getting another opinion is a tool. Of course, the very notion of Microsoft interviewing a Microsoft executive is patently absurd, as well as being very unprofessional.

Can you imagine Apple interviewing Apple VP Phil Schiller for some answers on why QuickTime is a better media player for Mac users than WMP? It would be laughed off the Internet. Then again, we are laughing at this.

This little charade reminds us of Microsoft honcho Jim Allchin calling open source un-American, or Microsoft posting a fake Mac-to-Windows Switcher story. It's sad and pathetic.

Don't get us wrong: It's Microsoft's job to promote its own technologies, and the company takes multimedia playback on Windows very, very seriously. It's the utterly transparently manner in which the company is proselytizing that we take offense to.

That out of the way, how is it that reliance on Windows Media 9 equates to more choice than reliance on iTunes and QuickTime? The issue of choice is a red herring, at best.

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