Microsoft Adds Europe to Download Music Service

Microsoft launched its MSN music download service in eight new European countries on Thursday as it tries to duke it out with Apple Computeris iTunes Music Store.

The new countries include Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Microsoft now has its service in 17 countries, including 13 Western European countries. Apple last week launched its iTunes music download service in nine new European Union countries, bringing its number of markets to 12. Apple currently has coverage in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Microsoft MSNis spokesman Arndt Salzburg told the Reuters news agency, "if you take all the new countries, we expect to overtake iTunes very soon because we will have a larger user base to tap."