I guess “entertainment industry executives” just can’t keep their lips zipped since after yesterday’s Bloomberg News story about a Microsoft plan to compete with Apple’s iPod, they seem to have been falling over themselves to dish to a reporter. Jeff Leeds at the NY Times:
Microsoft has been developing its own hand-held music and video player to challenge Apple Computer’s iPod and expects to have it in stores in time for the holiday season, entertainment industry executives briefed on the company’s plans said last night.
The company has also held negotiations, the executives said, with major record companies and some major television networks in order to settle on terms that would allow it to sell music and video content online through a service similar to Apple’s iTunes Music Store.
A senior executive at a major TV network said Microsoft had not yet received commitments from the networks to supply programming to its online store. But the executive said that the networks would welcome competition for Apple in downloads.
Music industry executives in particular have complained about Apple’s control over the digital music market and its power to determine pricing of songs and albums.
And the fact that Microsoft’s previous hardware partners for the Portable Media Center specification and related media player software would be getting the shaft has begun to attract notice:
The shift is likely to anger Samsung, Sony, Creative Technology and other manufacturers that were persuaded to use Microsoft’s software in their devices, because a Microsoft player would compete with theirs.
It’ll probably get smoothed over, but it does make you wonder how Microsoft feels about its personal computer partners.
Update: Engadget has more including this gem:
To attract current iPod users Microsoft is going to let you download for free any songs you’ve already bought from the iTunes Music Store. They’ll actually scan iTunes for purchased tracks and then automatically add those to your account. Microsoft will still have to pay the rights-holders for the songs, but they believe it’ll be worth it to acquire converts to their new player.
They also are predicting a combo player and mobile phone.