Microsoft Music, Can ITunes Be Challenged?

Microsoft will launch a music streaming service, that is free on Windows 8 PCs and tablets. The program will offer music subscription service and a pay-as-you-go music store that sells individual tracks and albums. Microsoft’s music service coincides with the Oct. 26 launch of its Windows 8 operating system for computers and Windows RT for tablets and the arrival of new Windows phones later this fall.

Despite Microsoft’s attempts with its Zune devices and music players, Apple remains dominant in digital music sales. In the second quarter of 2012, Apple accounted for 64% of digital music sales, according to market research firm NPD Group. Apple also sells nearly one-third (29%) of all music, digital or physical. While Amazon commands 16% of the digital market, Microsoft and others, including Google Play, had market shares of 5% or lower. When Xbox Music hits the Xbox 360 video game console Tuesday as part of an overall system update, users can apply for a free 30-day trial of Xbox Music Pass (after that it’s $9.99 monthly). That will give them access to on-demand streaming playback of a library of 18 million songs in the U.S. Owners of computers and tablets upgraded to Windows 8 – and new Windows 8 device purchasers – will have an ad-supported free Xbox Music streaming on-demand program on board. Upgrading to the $9.99 monthly service allows ad-free streaming across devices and offline play.

Online music is the present and future of the music industry. But does Apple have too strong a hold on the market with ITunes or does Microsoft have a chance to break into this new market?



11 thoughts on “Microsoft Music, Can ITunes Be Challenged?

  1. As of right now it seems that Apple has way to much of strong hold on the market. When it comes to online music it seems that Microsoft is trying to take the next step forward with the same type of service that spotify already offers with online streaming of music. This is what the music industry wants next with all instant streaming of these songs instead of each individual owning the song after the purchase. But even with Microsoft’s new music service I personally think its a lost cause; even with the release of the new ipods it seems that this market can’t improve any more. So i highly doubt that anyone will switch from itunes to this new Microsoft music product just because of the hassle that it will bring.

  2. I agree with the commenter above. Even people without iPods use iTunes to organize and store all of their music, and because of that people are used to it and will be reluctant to change. Not to mention, iTunes works so well, why would people want to change? If Microsoft had a music device that caught on and had significant market share (like the Zune never has), then they could stand a chance. But with this service they are going up against Spotify too, not just iTunes, and this move seems like it will be too little too late.

  3. There are too many barriers to entry in this space to successfully topple the reigning champion. However, I think one of the comments made an interesting point about ownership. A lot of people are opting to stream instead of purchase songs–it’s much less expensive than the alternative. Small companies, such as Spotify, are really gaining traction in this area and it’s possible that the tech giants will eventually notice and do the same. Microsoft has moved somewhat faster than Apple in this regard, so they might have a chance.

  4. Can iTunes be challenged? Well, I think that it is very hard for Microsoft to bounce back and compete against Apple at this point. Apple has created a competitive advantage by creating customer value with the consumers. Apple has effectively created customer equity and have captured the loyalty of consumers within the marketplace as far as the sales of Apple products. And unfortunately for Microsoft, they are suffering from it. They continue to make upgrades and continue to come up with new products such as just recently adding a new interface to their new windows tablets and offering windows 8 on the tablets, but it still hasn’t been able to knock out their biggest competitor, Apple. So to your question, it might be a possibility, a very low possibility that iTunes will be challenged. But eventually I agree with the comment above, that people are steering away from purchasing songs and are opting to streaming free music. So eventually both Microsoft and Apple will suffer from what consumers are choosing to do with their money.

  5. I Agree with what everyone said before me. Today, everyone uses iTunes and I don’t see why anyone would want to switch from something that has been working so well. I think this is not a smart move on Microsofts part and I don’t think that they will succeed in the end. I use iTunes on a daily basis and I don’t see myself personally switching anytime soon.

  6. I do not think Microsoft will have a chance to survive in this online music industry. It is obvious that Apple is dominant in this field with iTunes. I agree with the comments above that majority of the people still use iTunes, even if they do not have Apple music devices. Purchasing music with iTunes service is simple and easy to use. Microsoft might have a chance if there any benefits for customers to use their service rather than iTunes. If there are no incentives, consumers are not likely to switch over to Microsoft when they are already comfortable with using iTunes.

  7. ITunes was the first music manager that allowed for users to purchase and sync their music to the same location. The emerging music manager has gained serious market share throughout its existence in the market and it has proven to be the most user friendly option for users. This leads me to agree with many of the comments above; users will resist change from what they already know. Today so many consumers have Apple products and because of this ITunes is the obvious choice for a good portion of the market. Those who do not have an iPhone or some other Apple product to sync their music with, I believe Microsoft may stand a chance at appealing to those users, but I do not think they will gain significant influence over the market. Ideally Microsoft should target the issues that people face with ITunes; purchased music are mp4s not mp3s, it has a tendency to crash and lose music etc. ITunes will remain the popular music manager, because so many users have invested money into their ITunes music. This will become especially significant because people are not going to change their music managers if they think they will lose the hundreds of dollars they have already spent on ITunes mp3s. I think there is more in favor of Apple’s music manager then for Microsoft’s.

  8. I agree with the above comments that Apple Inc. has a very strong hold on the music market. Basically, with the increased demand and popularity of iPods, many consumers believe that iTunes will work better and more efficiently than any other option. Also, since iTunes is so far ahead in music selection and customer satisfaction, it is highly unlikely that any other competition will even come close to threatening their success. Overall, I do not think that Microsoft will be as successful or even make Apple Inc. sweat at all anytime in the near future.

  9. Yes there is room for another competitor in the online music space. Although Apple holds the dominant position it is not an impenetrable one. That being said what have we seen in the past decade when Microsoft and Apple do battle? They (Microsoft) will lose if the battle is about technology, but it has a chance if it decides to compete on prices. Microsoft has not beaten Apple in a resent technology competition and its hard seeing Microsoft beat Apple at this stage.

  10. In my opinion I believe for as long as Apple holds its top spot in the technology world Microsoft will always come in second place. Most of us have at least one Apple product (iphone, iPod, iPad, macbook, etc) that automatically operates via a iTunes account. Even Microsoft users that I know download iTunes because they find it easy to use and its what works best with their device they are trying to input music onto. As most of us continue to only buy our music online it all comes down to convenience for the consumer as well as cost. I doubt there will be a large demand in paying a monthly fee to get music. And as Apple iTunes has been the top leader in digital music sales, I doubt many consumers will switch back to Microsoft because as consumers we like what we know and that is itunes.

  11. I completely agree with most of the comments above, that because Apple has become so established in the digital music market with not only iTunes but also the various iPod generations that have come out for around the last ten years. I believe since consumers have become established with the Mac systems, even if they own PC’s, it would be harder to transition over to Microsoft music store than to stay put with their iTunes accounts. The consumers who do pick up on this new music system will most likely be the die-hard Microsoft fans, who probably were not buying their music from Apple in that case either. With this new launch, it is hard to say if Apple will lose any of it’s music business at all, but I don’t feel Microsoft will become the top leader in digital music either.

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