Microsoft Exec Admitted ‘We Were Smoked’ When iTunes Store Opened

| iTunes

When Apple opened the iTunes Store in April 2003, Microsoft executive Jim Allchin remarked in an email: “1. How did they get the music companies to go along? 2. We were smoked.” Bill Gates chimed in to say: “Now that Jobs has done it we need to move fast to get something where the UI and Rights are as good … I think we need some plan to prove that even though Jobs has us a bit flat footed again we move quick and both match and do stuff better.”

Microsoft's response was the launch of the MSN Music Store the following year. It ceased operations in 2006 and was never compatible with the company's Zune media player, which uses the Zune Marketplace for music, videos, and the few apps that run on the touch-based Zune HD.

The 2003 emails are part of the thousands made public by a judge after the settlement of the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust lawsuit, according to Groklaw. Thos specific messages are found in a PDF of an exhibit from the case; Groklaw asks its readers for help transcribing other emails made public, so they can be searched by keyword.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

9 Comments Leave Your Own

Lee Dronick

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!

Tiger

Well played Sir Harry!

mrmwebmax

+

Nothing speaks of the problems at Microsoft so much as Bill Gates’ response:

Now that Jobs has done it we need to move fast to get something where the UI and Rights are as good ? I think we need some plan to prove that even though Jobs has us a bit flat footed again we move quick and both match and do stuff better.

He says they need to make a UI and get Rights that are “as good.” He then says they need to “match” Apple. He ends by saying, “and do stuff better” as if doing anything better is a mere afterthought. Lots of emphasis on being as good and matching makes for a follower, not an industry leader.

His words. Not mine. They speak volumes.

cb50dc

—Must—Not—GLOAT—

(gasp)

—[urg]—

HAH HAH HAH HHAAAAAHHHHH

NEENER NEENER

NYAH NYAHHH__

... (choke) ...

Must…...NOT…..GLOAT….

cb50dc

My apologies there, evil twin got out again.

pgb

I like the word “again” in Gates’ reply.

xmattingly

we need some plan to… do stuff better

Spoken like a true visionary. :D

JulesLt

He doesn’t even end by saying they should actually ‘do stuff better’ but they need a plan to prove that they do - even if they don’t.

This is something we see quite often from MS - rather than focusing on delivering, focus on the message. And hey, a lot of the time it works.

Substance

“Good enough” wasn’t good enough for Microsoft this time.  Well, more accurately, hte MSN Music Store wasn’t good at all.

Log-in to comment