Apple iTunes vs Other Services
Many readers have noted comments made by Microsoft's Dave Fester, General Manager of Windows Digital Media Division, the day prior to the Windows iTunes Music Store launch.
Fester describes the iTunes Music Store as a closed system "where iPod owners cannot access content from other services" and users of iTunes are limited to music from the iTunes Music Store.
Fester's points are valid, however, as Apple has chosen not to provide Windows Media Audio playback in either iTunes or the iPod.
At present time, the other major music download services (BuyMusic, Rhapsody, MusicMatch, and Napster) on Windows are providing their content in Windows Media Audio.
Whether Apple should or should not provide WMA support in iTunes and the iPod is a matter of opinion, however, Apple seems to have chosen their path. However, with the aggressive marketing partnerships (AOL and Pepsi), and powerful brand recognition, Apple appears to be in a solid position.
Of interest, Apple has stated -- first in September, and again yesterday -- that the goal of the iTunes Music Store is to act as a "trojan horse" to convince more people to purchase iPods (and in time, possibly Macs).