MSN Music Beta Launched
Microsoft today took the wraps off the beta version of MSN Music, the computer giant's online music sales & distribution site. Many industry analysts have said that this may be the first 'true competitor' to Apple's iTunes Music Store. The interface is similar to the iTMS interface, offering one-click purchase usability and track previews prior to purchase. Tracks are available in WMA format for use in various portable MP3/WMA players. The service appears open to Mac users as well, but since the tracks are in WMA format, the Apple iPod (+/- HP) is not a compatible player. Tracks on Windows machines must be re-encoded into MP3 or AAC through iTunes for Windows to work on the iPod.
The full version of MSN Music is due in October, 2004.