MSN Music falls silent on downloads

by admin November 3, 2006 at 11:38 am

Two years after opening its MSN Music store to compete with Apple’s iTunes, Microsoft plans to stop selling downloads from the site.

Beginning on 14 November, MSN’s music site will begin redirecting music purchasers to either the Zune Marketplace website or to RealNetworks’ Rhapsody site.

MSN Entertainment general manager Rob Bennett said in an email to MSN Music customers: “After 14 November, the ‘Buy’ buttons that you’re used to seeing on MSN Music album and artist pages will change to links that connect you to Zune and to Real Rhapsody.”

When it opened its online doors in September 2004, MSN Music had high hopes of competing with Apple, touting the fact songs bought from the site could be played on a variety of Windows Media-compatible devices.

However, MSN Music, as well as other stores that sell tracks in the Windows Media Audio format, have been unable to compete with iTunes, which has maintained its dominance. Apple had dismissed Microsoft’s effort when it launched, saying its lack of support for the iPod would prevent it from becoming a hit.

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