Jupiter Research’s Michael Gartenberg:
It was first announced back before CES but today, I can start talking officially about my experiences with the new URGE music service being released jointly by Microsoft and MTV. Rather than wait until Vista ships next year, Microsoft and MTV have gone ahead and released the first version of URGE this week. Closely tied to Windows Media Player 11, URGE will formally go into a public beta on Wed. and you can sign up for a free two week trial of the service.
The early release for Windows XP was not unexpected and early testers are giving the Urge and Media Player 11 betas positive reviews. Follow the link for Gartenberg’s and also see the reviews at CNET and PC Magazine.
Along with the two betas, iRiver released their 2nd generation portable media player, the “iRiver Clix,” which was designed to work well with WMP11 and URGE. Sean Alexander has more details.
The real question, of course, is whether a multiparty alliance can put a dent in Apple’s iPod/iTunes dominance, given how late they are.