Apple has never really been afraid of competition. In fact, Appleis attitude toward competition is so nonchalant that one wonders if the company bothers looking over their shoulder at all. In the music download service arena, for instance, there seems to be a new player entering the field every week. One of the latest entrants is Wal-Mart with its WMA based, Windows only service, and Netscape News has posted a review. Hereis an excerpt from the article, Wal-Mart Music Download Service Mediocre:
In launching its music service, Wal-Mart enters a world ruled by Apple Computer Inc., purveyor of the iTunes online song service and the iPod music players. The landscape is thick with iPods waiting for tunes.
So while Wal-Martis price is right - songs for 88 cents apiece - itis only for PC users equipped with Windows 98 or better. Thereis no support for Apple or Linux machines.
For your 88 cents youill get a file in the Windows Media Audio format, stuffed with some license requirement verification that ``phones homeii to make sure youire the authorized listener who has rightfully purchased the tunes. You can also buy a complete album for $9.44. Thatis cheaper by 11 cents per song and half a buck per album than iTunes and competitors MusicMatch and Napster, both of which, like Wal-Mart, use the WMA format.
The article highlights several sore points with Wal-Martis music download service, including one which could get more than just the articleis author steamed;
Hereis one catch that bugged me. The songs I listened to at work would not play initially after I downloaded them again at home. I had to call Wal-Martis toll-free customer service number and have the license reactivated for that song for my second computer.
If I had a third computer, Iid have to call again.
There has to be a way to automate that process. Consumers are going to expect more consistency and ease of use.
Read the full article at Netscape News for more information.