July 8th 2006
By Mike Flaminio
Microsoft will reportedly introduce what The Inquirer aptly labels 'volish' spyware which will scan iTunes libraries and add songs purchased from the iTMS to their Microsoft (presumably URGE) account, engadget reports.
The difference? The tracks will be in .wma format. But they're free. For now.
That's the bait. MS hope to get you to latch onto their new music service by reeling you in by duplicating the tracks you already own. By definition, this is spyware, pure and simple.
The catch? None of these free tracks will play on your iPod. But you already have them in AAC format anyway, right?
Now, of course, MS will have hardware to complement the software. The player will reportedly be WiFi, so content can download directly to the MS player.
Now this will cost MS a veritable fortune - paying for the tracks that is, especially if you're that guy who buys 10,000 iTMS tracks.
What will Apple do? Initially, probably watch with amusement as Microsoft tries to turn a loss-leader into a viable product. If it looks like succeeding, well Apple could always pull an anti-Real trick and lock the MS vole out of iTunes.
But would they? Despite being bound by a 5-year agreement, there are a number of dirty tricks MS could pull on Apple. Like delaying the UB Office: Mac, for instance.
Too little, too late? Probably. People have already voted with their feet for their favorite music service.