Dell to Try to Take on Apple's Online Music Dominance?

BusinessWeek reports on an upcoming plan from Dell to try to topple Apple's dominance in digital downloads.

The threat is being spearheaded by a former Apple executive Tim Bucher who left Apple on bad terms:

According to a lawsuit later filed by Bucher, Jobs said: "People think you are sometimes manic-depressive.... I think I'm going to have to ask you to leave the company." Bucher was stunned: He'd been promoted only a few months earlier. Bucher left Apple but soon sued for wrongful termination. He says the charges of mental illness are "completely false."

Bucher has since taken a job with Dell and is leading a 120 person team to counter Apple's current dominance in online music and movie distribution.

Dell is reportedly working on standardizing a system across computers, mobile phones and online music sites to provide a universal system for digital distribution.

Central to Dell's plan is software acquired a year ago when it bought Zing, the company Bucher founded after leaving Apple. The software handles behind-the-scenes translations so that content can be "zinged" between computers and other compatible devices. Dell hopes to announce the Zing software as a feature on small, cheap laptops expected in September and to have the software installed on all of its consumer PCs by the end of the year.

Details remain sketchy but some analysts are understandably skeptical about Dell's chances. Dell is expected to unveil details of their plan in September.

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