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Microsoft, RIM plan services to compete with Apple's iTunes

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
Two of Apple's chief rivals are working on their own separate services to compete with iTunes, as Research in Motion has partnered with 7digital for its PlayBook tablet, and Microsoft is cooking up a secret project dubbed "Ventura."

RIM's PlayBook to have 7digital store

When RIM's PlayBook touchscreen tablet ships this year, it will come preloaded with the 7digital store and offer access to about 13 million songs, the company announced Wednesday. The inclusion of the 7digital store is a change for RIM, which has not preloaded such services on its BlackBerry smartphones.

The British music service offers pay-per-track songs at a quality of 320kbps. A preview of the PlayBook with 7digital is said to be planned for this week's South by Southwest conference in Austin, Tex.

"The 7digital Music Store is a perfect complement to the high-performance BlackBerry PlayBook, providing users with fast searches and downloads, and a slick interface that makes it very easy to discover, purchase and enjoy music," said Alistair Mitchell, Vice President, BBM Platform & Integrated Services. "We are thrilled to be working with 7digital to provide BlackBerry PlayBook users with access to an amazing catalog of 13 million tracks."

RIM's alignment with 7digital is clearly an effort to counter Apple's iTunes Store, which comes installed on every iPad and iPhone. iTunes is by far the largest seller of digital music, with one recent study estimating that Apple controls 66 percent of online music sales.

RIM's 7-inch PlayBook is scheduled to launch in the coming months as RIM plans to enter the tablet market and take on Apple's iPad. The Canadian device maker has not yet announced a price for the multi-touch device.

Microsoft's "Ventura" product

Microsoft may replace its Zune brand with a new music and video discovery and consumption service codenamed "Ventura," according to Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet. The new project is said to be in development in the Redmond, Wash., software giant's Entertainment and Devices division.

Microsoft reportedly said it is "committed to providing a great music and video experience," but would not comment on the project. Rumors have persisted that the company plans to abandon the Zune line of devices and rebrand its music and video services entirely.

The Zune started as a portable media player intended to compete with Apple's iPod, but failed to gain traction. Microsoft's last update to the hardware line, the Zune HD, was released in September 2009.

In addition to hardware, Zune also became a brand for Microsoft's digital content sales and streaming music subscriptions. The Zune storefront was expanded to other Microsoft products like Windows and the Xbox 360 in an effort to compete with Apple's iTunes.
post #2 of 47
Imagine:
Caught with trousers down with a product that is too late to market, too expensive and without much content. This is the sign of desparation I would say..



Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Two of Apple's chief rivals are working on their own separate services to compete with iTunes, as Research in Motion has partnered with 7digital for its PlayBook tablet, and Microsoft is cooking up a secret project dubbed "Ventura."

RIM's PlayBook to have 7digital store

When RIM's PlayBook touchscreen tablet ships this year, it will come preloaded with the 7digital store and offer access to about 13 million songs, the company announced Wednesday. The inclusion of the 7digital store is a change for RIM, which has not preloaded such services on its BlackBerry smartphones.

The British music service offers pay-per-track songs at a quality of 320kbps. A preview of the PlayBook with 7digital is said to be planned for this week's South by Southwest conference in Austin, Tex.

"The 7digital Music Store is a perfect complement to the high-performance BlackBerry PlayBook, providing users with fast searches and downloads, and a slick interface that makes it very easy to discover, purchase and enjoy music," said Alistair Mitchell, Vice President, BBM Platform & Integrated Services. "We are thrilled to be working with 7digital to provide BlackBerry PlayBook users with access to an amazing catalog of 13 million tracks."

RIM's alignment with 7digital is clearly an effort to counter Apple's iTunes Store, which comes installed on every iPad and iPhone. iTunes is by far the largest seller of digital music, with one recent study estimating that Apple controls 66 percent of online music sales.

RIM's 7-inch PlayBook is scheduled to launch in the coming months as RIM plans to enter the tablet market and take on Apple's iPad. The Canadian device maker has not yet announced a price for the multi-touch device.

Microsoft's "Ventura" product

Microsoft may replace its Zune brand with a new music and video discovery and consumption service codenamed "Ventura," according to Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet. The new project is said to be in development in the Redmond, Wash., software giant's Entertainment and Devices division.

Microsoft reportedly said it is "committed to providing a great music and video experience," but would not comment on the project. Rumors have persisted that the company plans to abandon the Zune line of devices and rebrand its music and video services entirely.

The Zune started as a portable media player intended to compete with Apple's iPod, but failed to gain traction. Microsoft's last update to the hardware line, the Zune HD, was released in September 2009.

In addition to hardware, Zune also became a brand for Microsoft's digital content sales and streaming music subscriptions. The Zune storefront was expanded to other Microsoft products like Windows and the Xbox 360 in an effort to compete with Apple's iTunes.
post #3 of 47
Competition is good ... and i hope both companies release something much better than Apple. But the track record of both companies does not bode well for them ... Alas. iTunes is not a great app by any means, yet apple has had virtually no pressure to make it better because frankly they have no competition.
post #4 of 47
Good 'ol Microsoft. 7 years late but still trying.
post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

Competition is good ... and i hope both companies release something much better than Apple. But the track record of both companies does not bode well for them ... Alas. iTunes is not a great app by any means, yet apple has had virtually no pressure to make it better because frankly they have no competition.

I can not even try to tell you how right you are...

I agree, we need some competition here.
post #6 of 47
We just call this effort "BrownBerry HD 5.0" and be done with it.
post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post

I can not even try to tell you how right you are...

I agree, we need some competition here.

For a variety of reasons, I went with an Android phone last year and, after trying several of the music players settled on Doubletwist. It could use a prettier interface, but I love the wireless syncing and ability to stream audio/video from my phone to any Upnp client. All I really miss is the genius playlist, but I can get over that.

On a related note, if/when I get an iPad I'm really going to miss Swype. That's probably the most innovative thing I've seen on a non-iDevice that isn't a clear knockoff of some Apple innovation.
post #8 of 47
ITunes has been out for a decade. Why is MS just waking up now? I hope they don't call it Ventura because I own Ventura.com and don't need their traffic eating up my bandwidth.

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post #9 of 47
Explain to me why people would once again buy digital content they already own or bought many times over in various formats.

Having this store for people who are new and do not already own content make be attractive proposition, however, why would people want to re-invest in this stuff. The same hold true to apps, if you own the app on you IOS product why would someone buy yet again on another OS device.

This was the biggest reason most people did not migrate from windows to Mac for many years they did not want to buy all their stuff again. It was not until software company made the upgrades almost as expensive as new people say why not move to the Mac.
post #10 of 47
But RIM keeps telling everyone the Playbook is for business.
post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

But RIM keeps telling everyone the Playbook is for business.

and the NFL is planning to use iPads for their new PLAYBOOKS.

how confusing is that?
post #12 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

... Alas. iTunes is not a great app by any means, yet apple has had virtually no pressure to make it better because frankly they have no competition.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that the "compete with Apple's iTunes" line refers to the iTunes Music store, not the iTunes application.
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugzy View Post

and the NFL is planning to use iPads for their new PLAYBOOKS.

how confusing is that?

That's funny!

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post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

ITunes has been out for a decade. Why is MS just waking up now? I hope they don't call it Ventura because I own Ventura.com and don't need their traffic eating up my bandwidth.

I have a client who may be interested in acquiring Ventura.com.
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by go4d1 View Post

I have a client who may be interested in acquiring Ventura.com.

It is unlikely they will call it Ventura because MS has never contacted me. I doubt they would launch a new brand without first acquiring the domain.

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post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul94544 View Post

Imagine:
Caught with trousers down with a product that is too late to market, too expensive and without much content. This is the sign of desparation I would say..


It's like that every time a company tries to take down the iTunes/IPod/iPhone/iPad ecosystem. It's also like that with every iPad and iPod "killer" released. It's actually quite pathetic. Apple releases something, and everyone from Sony to RIM to M$ spends two years trying to catch up and release a "really great product that is in some ways better than the _____"

In each instance, they fail to realize that Apple's device is more than the sum of its parts. Everything works together seamlessly, even if there are some spec and feature flaws. Take that seamless, sleekly designed device, then add Apple's undeniable brand and "cool" factors, then combine it with a rabid fan/customer base and great marketing. Bingo, the Apple i____"

It's funny to watch company after company fail to "get it." They release products that are often technically better than Apple's (and sometimes not). But their phones are not iPhones. Their tablets are not iPads. Their stores are not Apple Stores. Their products quietly slip into obscurity...and not the "cult classic" kind of obscurity...just regular obscurity. They fail to realize that as much R&D as Apple does, as much innovation as they do...they have done just as much or more building of their gobal brand...eh... ICON. That is the icing on the cake. Apple is seen as cool, sexy, smart, modern, hip. Does anyone thing RIM or Microshaft are sexy? Cool? Smart? Hip? Of course not. These companies just don't realize that people aren't just buying products. They're buying the brand itself. They aren't just buying an awesome phone, or tablet, or computer that does really cool things. They're buying Apple.

I'm starting to wonder when some of these companies will just go their own way. Motorola has done that somewhat with its marketing towards men with the Droid. Some should just do what they do. Often, what they "do" is not where Apple lives. Does Sony really need a music store? Why does Micro$oft need to be in the phone OS business? Focus on what what got you there...Office and Windows...maybe XBox more recently. Samsung makes great displays/TVs. Stick to it. Sony makes audio/video equipment, PCs and video game systems. Stick to it. Apple doesn't care about TVs and video game consoles and AVRs.

Seems to me we have a whole bunch of huge companies consistently trying to out-Apple each other. FAIL.
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post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

Competition is good ... and i hope both companies release something much better than Apple. But the track record of both companies does not bode well for them ... Alas. iTunes is not a great app by any means, yet apple has had virtually no pressure to make it better because frankly they have no competition.

If by competition you mean Microsoft making its music store the default option for Windows users and overriding iTunes unless the user modifies the registry then you need to think again, think IE. Then there's the throny issue of allowing iPods, iPads, and iPhones, and all the Android crap to sync to this default music store. It won't succeed on just Zune and WM7 traffic I would assume.
post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndesmarais View Post

Actually, I'm pretty sure that the "compete with Apple's iTunes" line refers to the iTunes Music store, not the iTunes application.

They are really going to compete against the "whole package" ... that means content and user experience. Content is the easy part ... if they figure out a way to sync and organize better than iTunes, that would be a good thing for everyone.
post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

If by competition you mean Microsoft making its music store the default option for Windows users and overriding iTunes unless the user modifies the registry then you need to think again, think IE. Then there's the throny issue of allowing iPods, iPads, and iPhones, and all the Android crap to sync to this default music store. It won't succeed on just Zune and WM7 traffic I would assume.

No i just mean better user experience. Microsoft can't get by with that especially in europe.
post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

We just call this effort "BrownBerry HD 5.0" and be done with it.

I think it's more of a "DingleBerry 1.0".
post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugzy View Post

and the NFL is planning to use iPads for their new PLAYBOOKS.

how confusing is that?

Hmm, I think I am confused too. Can you explain?? Sounds funny anyway!
post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

It is unlikely they will call it Ventura because MS has never contacted me. I doubt they would launch a new brand without first acquiring the domain.

No problem. MS is probably going to use ventura.NET
post #23 of 47
"...abandon their Zune users to create a new music store..."

Yep, that's a great way to inspire confidence that:
1. MS stuff will work together.
2. Assuring customers that customer purchases of digital media will be usable on future generations of MS solutions.

MS fail.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

ITunes has been out for a decade. Why is MS just waking up now? I hope they don't call it Ventura because I own Ventura.com and don't need their traffic eating up my bandwidth.

Oh boy! You are soon going to be a millionaire. MS has more money than brains. You could potentially sell them the domain name for "millions".

Congrats on your new found wealth.

JDS
post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

ITunes has been out for a decade. Why is MS just waking up now? I hope they don't call it Ventura because I own Ventura.com and don't need their traffic eating up my bandwidth.

Put up your own music service. Then when MS indeed call it Ventura, bam, slam a trademark infringment suit on them. Should make you a boat load of money when MS buy the name from you.
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

But RIM keeps telling everyone the Playbook is for business.

I know right, RIM is like a dog that meows. I'm so confused.
post #27 of 47
You know Micro$ucks state of affairs is worsening (if that's possible) when they have to partner with RIM.
post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugzy View Post

and the NFL is planning to use iPads for their new PLAYBOOKS.

how confusing is that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit_Coach View Post

Hmm, I think I am confused too. Can you explain?? Sounds funny anyway!

Try Googling NFL, iPad and PLAYBOOK.
You will get a ton of stories about how the NFL is planning on getting rid of their paper playbooks and replacing them with iPads.

RIM could give away their PLAYBOOK to the NFL in exchange for the PR, but they currently have nothing to give away.
I just found it ironic and amusing that RIM named their tablet after something the NFL uses but it does not appear that the NFL will be using RIM's product.
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

But RIM keeps telling everyone the Playbook is for business.

And they keep saying no one needs apps but all their TV ads show how much useful it is to use apps available on BB!! This just show you how clueless and lost RIM is.
post #30 of 47
What a bunch of lost puppies MS & RIM and MS & Nokia look like these days...

Borderline pathetic... Ballmer should take good notes and write a book on what NOT to do when steering a major corporation of a service you know little about, just name it, when Ballmer steps into a room he is the least smartest person there!

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post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

iTunes is not a great app by any means, yet apple has had virtually no pressure to make it better because frankly they have no competition.

Not trying to pick on your opinion here, but I'm honestly at a loss every time I here about what a poor app iTunes is. First of all ... a disclaimer. I'm still running Tiger and, as a result, iTunes 9.2.1 (4). Now I can't talk about any version newer than that but I have to say that, for me, at least, iTunes is a great app. It handles my music collection of over 13,000 songs, a small movie, tv collection plus a podcast (200) collection easily and swiftly.

It gives me access to university lectures, video and audio only, and over 200 internet radio stations. I don't know what more people could want. I often hear people complain .... but never with specific complaints .... just a general complaint about how bad it is. Please explain what I'm missing.
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post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

It is unlikely they will call it Ventura because MS has never contacted me. I doubt they would launch a new brand without first acquiring the domain.

Xbox wasn't originally going to be the brand for their consoles; it was also just a codename at one point.

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post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

You know Micro$ucks state of affairs is worsening (if that's possible) when they have to partner with RIM.

Maybe next time try reading the article before posting a comment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Not trying to pick on your opinion here, but I'm honestly at a loss every time I here about what a poor app iTunes is. First of all ... a disclaimer. I'm still running Tiger and, as a result, iTunes 9.2.1 (4). Now I can't talk about any version newer than that but I have to say that, for me, at least, iTunes is a great app. It handles my music collection of over 13,000 songs, a small movie, tv collection plus a podcast (200) collection easily and swiftly.

It gives me access to university lectures, video and audio only, and over 200 internet radio stations. I don't know what more people could want. I often hear people complain .... but never with specific complaints .... just a general complaint about how bad it is. Please explain what I'm missing.

It's slow, freezes (I don't mean crashes) very often when trying to perform any operation and the UI is terrible. And I'm running it on a 2009 Mac Pro Quad.
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Not trying to pick on your opinion here, but I'm honestly at a loss every time I here about what a poor app iTunes is. First of all ... a disclaimer. I'm still running Tiger and, as a result, iTunes 9.2.1 (4). Now I can't talk about any version newer than that but I have to say that, for me, at least, iTunes is a great app. It handles my music collection of over 13,000 songs, a small movie, tv collection plus a podcast (200) collection easily and swiftly.

It gives me access to university lectures, video and audio only, and over 200 internet radio stations. I don't know what more people could want. I often hear people complain .... but never with specific complaints .... just a general complaint about how bad it is. Please explain what I'm missing.

It is too slow.
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Not trying to pick on your opinion here, but I'm honestly at a loss every time I here about what a poor app iTunes is. First of all ... a disclaimer. I'm still running Tiger and, as a result, iTunes 9.2.1 (4). Now I can't talk about any version newer than that but I have to say that, for me, at least, iTunes is a great app. It handles my music collection of over 13,000 songs, a small movie, tv collection plus a podcast (200) collection easily and swiftly.

It gives me access to university lectures, video and audio only, and over 200 internet radio stations. I don't know what more people could want. I often hear people complain .... but never with specific complaints .... just a general complaint about how bad it is. Please explain what I'm missing.

First the iTunes is the best app in its class, so i'm not really knocking it, i just expect more from apple because they have risen the bar on OS and apps. The biggest complaint I have is the lack of wireless connectivity between iTunes and devices you sync to it. The second big problem is that I find the organizational tools poorly done. I don't like what happens to the actual physical files on disk when I affect something in iTunes. I don't like how hard it is to use ITunes across multiple users on one computer. The App organization is unnacceptable, no way to organize in coherent groups when you have as many as I do.

If you have large lists of movies an music like i do the only way to sort and find things is viewing in that excel like format and sorting the columns. A little better organizational tools would be nice. The sharing tools are not near as good as other iLife apps.
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevetim View Post

The App organization is unnacceptable, no way to organize in coherent groups when you have as many as I do.

If you have large lists of movies an music like i do the only way to sort and find things is viewing in that excel like format and sorting the columns. A little better organizational tools would be nice. The sharing tools are not near as good as other iLife apps.

I don't have an iPad so the app thing is not something I can talk about. As far as sorting the content ... for me, at least .... that's one of the things that I like best. I can sort, alphabetically, from top down or bottom up .... over 13,000 songs .... by song, artist, album ... whatever. I'm not sure what would be any easier.

As I already stated, I'm using an earlier version of iTunes, so maybe when I get off my butt and install the SL dvd I bought 3 or 4 months ago .... and update to the latest version of iTunes .... I'll start having the same kind of issues that I hear about here. Sorry to hear that your iTunes experience is lacking .... but for me, for the time being at least, I love iTunes. We'll see in the future, I guess.
Best.
See, in the record business, you can show someone your song, and they don’t copy it. In the tech business, you show somebody your idea, and they steal it. (Jimmy Iovine)
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post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugzy View Post

and the NFL is planning to use iPads for their new PLAYBOOKS.

how confusing is that?

ahahahahaha!!
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post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

Explain to me why people would once again buy digital content they already own or bought many times over in various formats.

Quite. Almost without exception Blackberry users I see listening to music during my daily commute on the railway are listing to that music on an iPod. A notable number of Android users are doing the same. A lot of people use iTunes for digital music even if they've never bought anything on the iTS or choose a non-iPhone mobile.

I wonder what RIM/MS are planing to do to give these people impetus to change....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chabig View Post

But RIM keeps telling everyone the Playbook is for business.

LOL: makes no sense. The 'book' part sounds like a bit of a nod to the Powerbook and MacBook lines to me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post

It is unlikely they will call it Ventura because MS has never contacted me. I doubt they would launch a new brand without first acquiring the domain.

Pretty sure Apple didn't have the domain or copyright of iPhone when they announced that!
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Not trying to pick on your opinion here, but I'm honestly at a loss every time I here about what a poor app iTunes is. First of all ... a disclaimer. I'm still running Tiger and, as a result, iTunes 9.2.1 (4). Now I can't talk about any version newer than that but I have to say that, for me, at least, iTunes is a great app. It handles my music collection of over 13,000 songs, a small movie, tv collection plus a podcast (200) collection easily and swiftly.

It gives me access to university lectures, video and audio only, and over 200 internet radio stations. I don't know what more people could want. I often hear people complain .... but never with specific complaints .... just a general complaint about how bad it is. Please explain what I'm missing.

I'm not gonna jump on the "iTunes sucks!" bandwagon, but there are some fundamental changes that need to be made. The biggest is that iTunes still thinks it's just a music player. It doesn't seem to know that it's much more than that now. If you "get info" on a movie or TV show, you still get "artist", "album", "composer" etc. categories. There should be "director", "studio", "network", etc. categories, and iTunes (the name doesn't really make sense anymore either) should know if you're accessing a movie or TV show or podcast or whatever, and adjust its interface and functionality accordingly. Basically, the iTunes interface should reflect the various categories you find in the (increasingly mis-named) iTunes store.

"iMedia Store" sounds dumb. Perhaps "Apple Media Store"? I dunno. Call it the "Movies! Music! TV shows! and so so so much more! Store"
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post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorPaul View Post

"...abandon their Zune users to create a new music store..."

Yep, that's a great way to inspire confidence that:
1. MS stuff will work together.
2. Assuring customers that customer purchases of digital media will be usable on future generations of MS solutions.

MS fail.

I agree changing the name and launching a new product would be awful. People only associate Zune with being bad because it didn't do very well against the iPod, but then the hardware was never released outside the us and Canada, so all the rest of the world knows about it is what they see with wp7 and Xbox. To be fair on these it is really good and offers something completely different to iTunes and Apple tv. All they should really be focusing on is getting the service more streamlined and consistent between the devices, plus bring out a set top box seporate from Xbox, Zbox maybe.
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