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MS to 'quietly launch' iTunes rival this week

Janus DRM tech due too

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Microsoft will this week release the next major version of its Windows Media system - incorporating its 'Janus' DRM technology - along with its much-anticipated online music store.

So claims a report at SiliconValley.com, which reckons the new player looks not unlike Apple's iTunes.

Napster, for one, is known to be preparing a Janus-based update to its service. Janus will allow subscription services to better support portable players, and is seen as a key factor in making the subscription model more attractive to consumers.

Given the timing of Virgin Digital's expected US and UK launch, it's likely it too will be based on Janus. Virgin Digital is powered by digital music distributor MusicNet, which has just updated its web site, logo and such.

Certainly, Rio's upcoming Carbon portable player is Janus-compatible, and it's expected to go on sale at the end of this month - circumstantial confirmation perhaps that Windows Media 10 is due to ship this week.

Windows Media 10 was released as in beta form in June. ®

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