September 7, 2004 12:14 PM PDT

Jobs offered to let Sony into iTunes, report says

To counter Microsoft's planned entry into the digital-music market, Apple Computer offered to sign a strategic agreement with Sony, according to a Sept. 2 report in Japanese daily Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun, which quotes sources from Sony.

According to the sources, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made his offer to Nobuyuki Idei, head of Sony, in January during a golf tournament organized by the Japanese company in Hawaii. Apple, it seems, was ready to open up its iTunes Music Store and make the song downloads there compatible with Sony's digital-music players.

Apple and Sony representatives declined to comment.


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Apple has been reluctant to provide licenses to companies seeking compatibility between their digital-music products and iPod, much to the chagrin of other players in the sector. In July, RealNetworks drew strong protests from Apple on the launch of its Harmony software, which allows people to play songs bought from its store on the iPod and other players. The technology, which effectively recreates Apple's proprietary copy protection technology, was released without Apple's permission.

However, Apple has signed up Hewlett-Packard, which released an HP-branded clone of the iPod in August. And in the mobile space, Apple licensed its technology to phone maker Motorola to enable some handsets to play iTunes downloads.

Microsoft's music downloads, on the other hand, can be read by a far larger number of music players. Last week, Microsoft released a beta version of its online music download service, MSN Music, which lets people download tracks onto PC hard drives and onto portable devices that support the Windows Media digital audio format.

Sony has launched its own download service, Sony Connect, hoping to repeat the success of the iPod and iTunes by pairing the service with its digital music player, the Network Walkman NW-HD1. But the Walkman-branded music player and the service both depend on Sony's proprietary Atrac technology, and Sony is unlikely to want to loosen its grip. It also has a tool called Sonic Stage that lets users convert nonprotected MP3, WMA and WAV files into the Atrac format.

Christophe Guilleman of ZDNet France reported from Paris.

8 comments

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PMPs that play MS format
Christophe Guillemin says: "Microsoft's music downloads, on the other hand, can be read by a far larger number of music players", I tried to find a good supporting info for the above sentence!

I came up with another article on CNET News.com by Ina Fried [1] wich says:
"..the bigger question is whether Apple will be able to maintain its current lead--claiming 70 percent of legal music downloads and roughly half of the U.S. digital music player business."

so I wonder how the writer concluded FAR larger number of music players play MS format???

[1] <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/MSN+Music+is+off-key%2C+Apple+says/2100-1027_3-5345131.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/MSN+Music+is+off-key%2C+Apple+says/2100-1027_3-5345131.html</a>
Posted by Shauheen (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
PMPs that play MS format
Christophe Guillemin says: "Microsoft's music downloads, on the other hand, can be read by a far larger number of music players", I tried to find a good supporting info for the above sentence!

I came up with another article on CNET News.com by Ina Fried [1] wich says:
"..the bigger question is whether Apple will be able to maintain its current lead--claiming 70 percent of legal music downloads and roughly half of the U.S. digital music player business."

so I wonder how the writer concluded FAR larger number of music players play MS format???

[1] <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/MSN+Music+is+off-key%2C+Apple+says/2100-1027_3-5345131.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/MSN+Music+is+off-key%2C+Apple+says/2100-1027_3-5345131.html</a>
Posted by Shauheen (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Should Have...
With the way sony is going they should have partnered with Apple. I like the ATRAC format but their players only play that and it is a real pain, even with a fast PC, to transcode your music for their players.
Posted by crichton007 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Should Have...
With the way sony is going they should have partnered with Apple. I like the ATRAC format but their players only play that and it is a real pain, even with a fast PC, to transcode your music for their players.
Posted by crichton007 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Device support for WMA
HI, I'm CNET News.com's department editor for the Internet and Networking sections. Apple is the market leader in digital music sales, both on the hardware sales and commercial song download side. But more portable music player devices support Microsoft's Windows Media format. There are about 70 devices on the market that you can buy that play WMA files. By contrast, only the iPod plays iTunes songs. That said, the MP3 format has the most support--almost every device supports it, including iPod--but not many paid download services use it because MP3 doesn't have a digital rights management scheme to protect against unauthorized use.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Number vs Brand
Unfortunately Evan Hansen is making the same mistake as the writer of the article.

Facts:
1. Apple is the market leader in digital music sales; both hardware (iPod) and commercial song download (iTunes)

2. There are many other companies that produce portable digital music players than Apple (e.g. Creative, RCA, Rio &)

But:
The number of iPods sold, and already in the market (at least US market) is equal to the total number of all other 70 companies that produce and sell PMPs which play WMA together. Therefore it is defenitely not true to say "Microsoft's music downloads, on the other hand, can be read by a FAR larger number of music players"!!
maybe you could say "More brands can be found in the market, which can read Microsoft's music downloads".
which still would not be an informative phrase cause it misses the point that their number is FAR less than iPods!
Posted by Shauheen (23 comments )
Link Flag
Device support for WMA
HI, I'm CNET News.com's department editor for the Internet and Networking sections. Apple is the market leader in digital music sales, both on the hardware sales and commercial song download side. But more portable music player devices support Microsoft's Windows Media format. There are about 70 devices on the market that you can buy that play WMA files. By contrast, only the iPod plays iTunes songs. That said, the MP3 format has the most support--almost every device supports it, including iPod--but not many paid download services use it because MP3 doesn't have a digital rights management scheme to protect against unauthorized use.
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Number vs Brand
Unfortunately Evan Hansen is making the same mistake as the writer of the article.

Facts:
1. Apple is the market leader in digital music sales; both hardware (iPod) and commercial song download (iTunes)

2. There are many other companies that produce portable digital music players than Apple (e.g. Creative, RCA, Rio &)

But:
The number of iPods sold, and already in the market (at least US market) is equal to the total number of all other 70 companies that produce and sell PMPs which play WMA together. Therefore it is defenitely not true to say "Microsoft's music downloads, on the other hand, can be read by a FAR larger number of music players"!!
maybe you could say "More brands can be found in the market, which can read Microsoft's music downloads".
which still would not be an informative phrase cause it misses the point that their number is FAR less than iPods!
Posted by Shauheen (23 comments )
Link Flag
 

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