Is the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) for Windows too late? I think it is. I think they needed to come out with it either right before BuyMusic.com launched, or right after. Now Napster 2.0 is coming, there is also MusicMatch, and Rhapsody (listen.com) that was recently bought by RealNetworks.
I think this is another case where Apple is too little, too late (Apple always seems to be the first to bring new innovative ideas to the table, only to loose out to the cloners.). When BuyMusic.com came out it really made iTMS store look great, wether it liked it or not, it showed that Apple had the right idea, and BuyMusic did not. That is when Apple needed to launch. But iTMS for Windows must not have been ready at that point.
There is also this thing about AAC files. The AAC file format is/will be more easy accepted by the Mac crowd then by Windows users.
This is mainly due to the fact that Mac users will go along with virtually anything Apple throws at them, and accept it. If you have a Mac and you want an MP3 player, why would you buy anything else but an iPod?
Windows users have had MP3 players a lot longer (it took a while to get Mac support, part of the reason for the launch of the iPod in 2001) then Mac users have. Most MP3 players support MP3 and WMA file formats. Some even now support alternative formats such as ogg. Even though a Windows user can use an iPod, there are many other products out there that are cheaper, and support WMA, which happens to be the file format of choice for many online music sites such as BuyMusic, etc.
Will Apple support WMA on the iPod? I think it would be in the best interest of Apple. Unlike Mac users, Windows users are not only going to use the iTMS to get digital music, and I do not mean using p2p file sharing, I mean the other Windows music services available. After all, the iTMS has some holes in it, specific artists are not listed, so people are going to go elsewhere.
If I only owned a PC, why would I get an iPod if it only supported MP3 and AAC, and did noy support WMA, the reining champion of Windows music file formats? I would get it because it is so cool, but that is beside the point here .
There is another argument here. The iTMS for Windows might not have WMA, but Windows users might see it as being the least restrictive of the available music sites. Every song you download has the same restrictions, (BuyMusic anyone?) Napster 2.0 (and BuyMusic,com for that matter) has buy only music, you cannot burn it. Another thing I noticed about Napster 2.0: It is an all inclusive Music Store/ Jukebox, but you cannot rip your own CDs – what a shame.
I really do not think that Apple will support WMA on the iPod and use it for the Windows iTMS, but they may sell more iPods to the Windows crowd. That is the plan, isn’t it? Of course there are Windows users that are able to look past the no WMA problem, as seen in the sales figures of the iPod (because we all know there are not THAT many Mac users).
It doesn’t seem reasonable to sell WMA file to Windows users and AAC files to Mac user on the iTMS, but Apple should think about supporting WMA on the iPod because the other Windows only music stores use WMA. Windows users would not be tied down to the iTMS.
But this would not push people to the iTMS. I doubt that WMA support for the iPod will happen, but it sure would be nice. Sorta like I doubt a 1st party 2 button mouse is going to happen, but it would be nice if it did.
While doing reasurch for this post I found a great discussion about this very issue over at Chaosmint (that would be an anagram for Macintosh). I have also added Chaosmint on my blogroll, check the site out, its got some good reads.
I do not see the iTMS for Windows launch being as big as a lot of people think it will be. We will see, maybe it will be big.
Originally posted on Breaking Windows.