Microsoft Replacing MSN Music With Zune Store - InformationWeek

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Microsoft Replacing MSN Music With Zune Store

Consumers attempting to buy from MSN Music will instead be directed to the Zune store or Real Rhapsody service after Zune goes live Nov. 14.

Microsoft said Friday it will no longer sell tracks on MSN Music, starting with the launch of the company's Zune store.

Zune is scheduled to launch Nov. 14 along with Microsoft's portable media player of the same name. On that day, music will no longer be available on MSN Music. Instead, buy buttons on album and artist pages will take visitors to Zune and the RealNetworks music-subscription service, Real Rhapsody.

Microsoft's support of the RealNetworks site is the result of a $760 million antitrust agreement announced a year ago between the two companies.

"Rather than operate multiple music download services at the company, we have made the decision to consolidate our efforts to make the Zune Marketplace the destination for music download fulfillment," Rob Bennett, general manager of entertainment and video services, said in an e-mail. "Specifically, on Nov.14th, MSN Music will no longer offer music downloads."

Microsoft is borrowing from Apple Computer's playbook. Apple became an online music leader by providing an easy-to-use device, the iPod; and tightly integrating the player with Apple's music store iTunes, analysts say.

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