Tomorrow’s European iTMS Launch Garners Headlines; Microsoft Moves First

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Appleis impending launch of the iTunes Music Store in parts of Europe is garnering headlines even before it launches. Todayis Financial Times of London has a report on both Napster and Apple, as the two companies prepare to fight for position in the European market. In the report, Apple is largely painted as the favorite in advance of Appleis press conference to be held tomorrow in London. From the article:

Apple, whose iTunes store and iPod digital music player have all but defined the US internet music market, has scheduled a press conference in London tomorrow, claiming "the biggest story in music is about to get bigger."

One person in the industry said Steve Jobs, Appleis chief executive, was expected to be on hand to announce Appleis music store would immediately be available to consumers in the UK, Germany and France. Mr Jobs was also expected to announce plans to eventually roll out the service to other European countries.

"Thereis clearly been a lot of pent up demand for it. I think it will have a pretty good reception," said the person.

At the same time, Reuters is reporting that Microsoft beat Apple to the punch by a day. The wire service reports that Microsoft unveiled SonicSelector in its own press conference today, a service developed in conjunction with European market leader OD2. SonicSelector will be built into Windows Media Player, with the content provided by OD2. From the article:

The announcement comes as OD2, long Europeis dominant download firm, and Microsoft brace for the European arrival of the iTunes Net music store, a launch that is expected to jumpstart Europeis tiny music download market.

[...]

Until recently, OD2 dominated the small European download market as it was one of the few services to have signed licensing agreements from all five major music labels including EMI, Universal Music and Bertelsmannis BMG.

But it now must contend with well-financed rivals. For this purpose, OD2 is using the massive installed base of Microsoft Windows Media Players to get a jump on iTunes, Napster and Sony Connect.

Thereis more information in the full articles:

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