Doomed; DOOMED, We Say (10/20/03)

Welcome to Week 2 in the era of iTunes for Windows, and the weather is still a little stormy, but there are signs of sunshine on the horizon. Sure, Apple's support forums for the Windows users are just a little more active than is probably healthy, but after poking around a bit we found that there are quite a few occurrences of "I love iTunes!" sentiments interspersed with the "iTunes erased my hard drive, shot my dog, set fire to my car, spat in my Frosted Flakes, and won't even play my WMAs" complaints. And heck, as faithful viewer Mike "Bear" Walsh points out, at least there's a glowing review for the nerd set over at Slashdot.

Meanwhile, USA Today writer Jefferson "Where's my clue? Has anyone seen my clue?" Graham has published his own tepid review of the software, one that's admittedly far more well-reasoned than the ignorance he spewed in a chat session last Thursday after spending a maximum of 90 minutes "researching" the software. By the way, we were right about the cause of his incessant error messages; he had been trying to play purchased songs on a Thinkpad that wasn't connected to the 'net and therefore couldn't be authorized. Despite his insistence that iTunes for Windows contains no information on how to authorize a computer, faithful viewer Jeremy Boyd verifies that it's right there in the Help, just as it is in the Mac version. So much for "investigative" journalism. (And yes, we're more than a little disturbed by the Kafkaesque notion that we successfully troubleshot a problem with a remote Wintel. "When the AtAT staff woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, they found themselves changed in their bed into monstrous MCSEs...")

So how does the maker of Windows feel about iTunes and its Music Store's invasion of its platform, especially since the software, the service, and the iPod all blatantly lack support for Microsoft's Windows Media format? Well, apparently the company's just a mite uneasy about the whole thing; faithful viewer Gabe Roth pointed out a Microsoft PressPass interview with Dave Fester (Nepotism alert! Faithful viewer Paul Marshall asks, any relation to Microsoft's CEO Uncle Fester?), General Manager of the Windows Digital Media Division-- yes, Microsoft interviewed itself-- which, aptly enough, gives Windows users guidelines for "choosing a digital music service." Gee, and the interview is dated the day before iTunes came to Windows. What an incredible coincidence!

Predictably enough, Fester trashes the iTMS after answering "interview questions" obviously scripted for maximum anti-Apple propaganda. First he gushes over the "broad choice of innovative and appealing legitimate music services" (cough) now available to Windows users and makes a rash of statements like "what I think is great about most of the new services available on Windows is that being built on Windows Media enables such amazing choice." (Indeed, you get your choice of Windows Media, Windows Media, or even-- believe it or not-- Windows Media!) Then comes the slag: "iTunes captured some early media interest with their store on the Mac, but I think the Windows platform will be a significant challenge for them... iTunes will remain a closed system, where iPod owners cannot access content from other services... [and] users of iTunes are limited to music from Apple's Music Store." Ah, so this is what Microsoft considers "Information for Journalists."

So Apple's gonna have a tough time with iTMS for Windows, hmmmm? Gee, that's funny, because faithful viewer mrmgraphics forwarded an Apple press release announcing that Windows users downloaded over a million copies of iTunes in the three and a half days since the software's release. Apple also sold a million songs in that same half-week time period, compared to a million songs in a full week when the Mac-only iTMS debuted. Let's work a few numbers, shall we? Two weeks ago the iTMS had 70% market share of all legal music downloads, and Apple says that it's been selling about 600,000 songs a week. That would mean that all legitimate Windows-compatible music download services combined sold about 260,000 songs that same week. Meanwhile, Apple just sold a million songs in half that time-- if we ultra-conservatively estimate that only a quarter of those were bought by Windows users, then the iTMS still sold twice as many songs as every other service combined during the same time period. Man, what a dismal failure, huh?

SceneLink (4279)
And Now For A Word From Our Sponsors

From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


The above scene was taken from the 10/20/03 episode:

October 20, 2003: The naysayers keep saying nay, but Apple announces a million downloads of iTunes for Windows and a million songs sold in just half a week. Meanwhile, Steve has a chin-wag with Newsweek about competing with Microsoft and why the iPod is actually dirt-cheap, and cut the disrespect, because those iPod silhouette dancers have names, you know...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4280: We Have The Technology (10/20/03)   Is it just us, or does anyone else find it a little spooky that the CEO of Apple Computer, Inc. can be interviewed by Newsweek (however briefly) and never once be asked about the Mac? And isn't it even spookier that, whether he was asked about it or not, Steve Jobs didn't even mention the Mac-- not once, in answers to seven questions?...

  • 4281: They Shall Overcome (10/20/03)   Just a quickie, here, folks, in the vein of a public service announcement. We've noticed an alarming trend among the general population to marginalize a very visible minority in our community: iPod Silhouette Dancers...

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