Feeds

Apple and Microsoft to sing from same digital music sheet?

Talking about it

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

News magazine The Economist this week forecast that Apple's share of the emerging online music business would plummet later this year when Microsoft moves into the market.

But according to a Billboard report, the two firms' love-hate relationship may be tending toward the former in order to build links between their music encoding and digital rights management technologies.

Essentially, the hardware and music industries want a single standard to work to. While that might have fallen to Microsoft's Windows Media format, the success Apple has experienced with its iTunes Music Store, which uses MPEG 4 as the basis for song encoding, has made Microsoft's dominance less certain.

In any case, music industry staff have long told us they are very keen not to allow the Beast of Redmond to control the technology on which their future fortune may be based.

The upshot: "There's a substantial discussion going on among these companies [Apple and M$] about interoperability," says Paul Vidich, executive VP of strategic planning and business development for Warner Music Group, quoted in the Billboard story.

Apparently, the talks centre on ways Apple's AAC files and Microsoft's WMA files can be easily cross-coded while maintaining each's DRM data.

Certainly the availability of a variety of formats has always been viewed as one of the chief barriers to building a successful online music market. Few users are happy about running different applications to find, purchase and play songs from different services. Or with the limitations some services put on which devices songs can be transferred to.

Napster chairman Chris Gorog recently lambasted Apple for not providing WMA support, particularly on its popular iPod player. Equally, it hasn't proved keen to allow other hardware vendors to support iTMS through their devices. We can't see it changing its mind on that point, nor about extending support to WMA, but industry and - to a lesser extent - consumer pressure may force a rethink on Apple's part.

We'd certainly welcome one. If you can buy a CD from any store and know for sure it will play on any make of hardware, you should be able to do the same with a digital download. Building a strong digital music retail presence should be dependent on providing quality of service, good branding and so on, not on the extent to which you control the technology. ®

Related Stories

Double Jeopardy for kids caught in Pepsi Apple promo
Free legal downloads for $6 a month. DRM free. The artists get paid. We explain how...
Coke's music download site falls flat
How HP invented the market for iPod resellers
DRM: who needs it? UK label stands up for its customers

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.