Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and AOL Time Warner Inc.’s America Online unit are among the companies expected to launch services to compete with Apple’s 6-week-old iTunes store, which charges 99 cents to download a song onto a personal computer. Viacom Inc.’s MTV, another popular Web destination, is also exploring a download venture, according to sources.
It seems that only Microsoft could compete on the same level as Apple, bundling the store, the browser and the DRM scheme across devices. The magic of the store is how EASY it is to use and how EASY it is to use YOUR music. Because a purchased track is instantly available within a music library you can burn it, copy it to your iPod or stream it to another Mac. Microsoft is the only player that seems to be able to do most of that from within the Media Player. Real could get there, I supopse with their jukebox software, but they have not taken the download idea to seriously instead choosing to go for the streaming approach.