Battle of the Online Music Stores

Yesterday Apple launched 4 more “localized” version of its ever popular iTunes Music Store in the nordic countries: Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the neutral country Switzerland.

Today Yahoo officially “soft” launch; since it still have the “Beta” lable, its music subscription service, ” Yahoo Music Unlimited”.

Unlike Apple’s offering, Yahoo’s new sevice is subscription based like those from its competitors: Napster’s “NapsterToGo” service and RealNetworks’s “RealRhapsody” service. Also like its competitors, it requires Microsoft Windows’ proprietary technology to play these tracks from the service, and the Windows OS platform to use its client software.

Where as Apple’s offering is open (some what), at least its client application is available on both Windows OS and Macintosh OS platforms. Tracks purchased from iTunes Music Store are playable on the dominant portable music player, iPod. This is due to the embedded DRM (Digital Rights Management) system.

It looks like Micrsoft may be doing it again. Getting content providers: Napster, RealNetworks, AOL and now Yahoo, plus the numerous hardware manufactures: Creative Labs, Dell, iRiver, to use its Windows DRM system.

Not that Apple is giving away its DRM software but Microsoft’s approach is try to force its technology onto everyone else. Instead of Apple’s approach of adopting or convicing the Standards bodies to adopt its technology as the official standard.

There’s really no need to say which way I think is the right way. Although, Apple had done this before with Macintosh OS and now it owns only 3% of the personal computer market.

Therefore, it is worrysome to me; and should be to all consumers, that manufactures and software developers are continuing to focus on revenue and profit rather than devloping Standards to move technologies forward. The ones that will lose in the end are us, consumers of technology and the services they deliver.

Someone please do the right thing.

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