Imagine, if you will, a mentally handicapped man. In front of him is a wooden puzzle with triangular holes in it. In his hand he tightly grips a square block.

He tries to push the square block into a triangle slot. He looks to you for approval. When you shake your head, he pulls back. Then he sits there for five minutes. And then he tries again to put the square block in the triangular hole. This repeats ad infinitum.

This is Microsoft and almost every other major competitor to the iTunes Music Store so far. They all try the exact same formula to beat iTunes. When it fails, they wait a few months and launch another clone service. The same DRM-laden WMAs. The same MusicNet front end attempting to emulate iTunes. I really don't understand it.

I caught part of Dave Chapelle on Inside The Actor's Studio today. At one point, he said that America is the best country in the world by default, but it could be so much more. It is the same with Apple and music. They get to be the top dog because their service annoys users the least. There is still plenty of room for improvement that competitors should be taking advantage of.

Lossless FLAC/WavPack files really aren't that big. Ideally a service would sell DRM free music that played in any music device you could buy, and ideally it would be a lossless format that you could burn to a CD and have an identical copy of the original disc. But even selling MP3s would be an improvement (*winks at eMusic*).

I know I'm not saying anything new here, but this URGE+Zune thing is right around the corner and it is just more of the same. I see no reason why it won't meet the same fate.

1 Aug 06 | +Permalink+ | Comments (1)