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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

August 21, 2007 at 9:31 AM

MTV dumps Microsoft for RealNetworks

MTV’s partner on a new digital music venture is indeed a Seattle company, but it’s not Microsoft.

The Viacom subsidiary today announced a broad partnership with RealNetworks and Verizon Wireless to provide a digital music service spanning PCs, portable music players and mobile phones.

On Monday, I speculated that the Seattle company MTV might work with would be Microsoft and its Zune group, but I was off by about 14 miles.

I wonder if MTV lost patience with Microsoft after their jointly developed music service, Urge, failed to take significant share from iTunes.

Today’s release from MTV calls Urge “critically acclaimed” and says it’s a cornerstone of the new venture, but it still doesn’t look good for Microsoft. First MSN Music fizzled; now Urge is going to be linked to RealNetworks.

Maybe MTV felt that Microsoft snubbed it and the Urge partnership by launching a separate music store for the Zune.

It’s inside baseball, but you’ve got to wonder about Microsoft’s shifting digital music strategies. The company has some of the best technology for digital media, but its music initiatives and partnerships seem to come in fits and starts.

UPDATE: There are some spicy comments posted in response to this entry, but for some reason our system was recently displaying zero comments posted. I’ve asked for more duct tape to be applied to the jalopy powering our blog system. Meanwhile I hope that zero doesn’t dampen the conversation …

UPDATE2: Fast service with the tape, no more zero.

Comments | Topics: Digital media, Microsoft, RealNetworks

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