I got a chance to take a look at Vista Beta 2. While I'm not normally a guy that likes MS products. At first glance, Vista looks good. I could never forget what my wife said when I showed it to here, "That looks like Linux". What?
Anyhow, this post is not about Vista, but a service that comes bundled with Vista called, URGE. URGE is Microsoft's and MTV's joint venture into the online music sales market. There is one good thing with the service and a few flaws I see with the service.
One of the good things with the service is that you can pay a flat rate every month, $14.95 I believe, and download as much as you want. That sounds like a deal to me. I see many music pirates going legit with such a plan. I just hope they don't screw the pooch on this one and make the songs expire after a month.
And now for the problems I see. URGE is bundled with Vista. This technique has proven a dangerous practice with Microsoft **cough IE **. What I see happening is other music services will cry and say that because URGE is preinstalled, it's hard to get customers.
The second problem is that URGE doesn't work with iPods. It uses MS' Play's for Sure DRM with works with just about every portable music player I've seen except the iPod. I don't know if this was a great plan on Microsoft's part to get all those pmp's out there to gang up on the iPod, but all those iPod owners are gonna see that the iPod restricts them to giving Apple money via the iTunes music store and that they have no freedom of choice (i.e. Apples' Monopoly on iPod's money).
While I don't think the second flaw is a flaw with URGE, but more a revelation of Apple locking iPod owners to iTunes when legally purchasing music. There will be two outcomes to this revelation. Apple will open on their AAC DRM to others, so that other services can provide music for the iPod. The other outcome will be that iPod's will provide support for MS' Play's for Sure DRM. Both outcomes means a loss of control for Apple.
We'll see what happens, until the war of the DRM's begins, iPod owners will be left in out of URGE's 14.95/mo unlimited downloads and will either pay Mr. Jobs for their music or continue pirating.