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Microsoft eyeing Universal Music; Apple not too serious

Apple Computer Inc. may have some competition if it plans to purchase Universal Music Group from Vivendi Universal. Microsoft Corp. is apparently interested in buying the music giant, but its interest at this point is said to be at the level of "poking around, kicking the tires," according to the New York Post.

Some in the music industry view a Microsoft or Apple bid to become involved with Universal Music as an affirmation that digital downloading can be a profitable business. Organizations like the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) (RIAA) have blamed digital pirates for the steady decline in CD sales over the last couple of years. Among its victories to curb Internet pirates, the RIAA was instrumental in closing down the Napster file sharing service.

"It's wonderful when someone like Steve Jobs -- who is generally viewed as a visionary and a futurist -- has a genuine interest in music as an investment at a time when everyone is running scared from the music business," one music industry veteran told the NY Post.

Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting that a deal between Apple and Vivendi for Universal is unlikely. "The talks between Apple and Vivendi covered the concept of buying as much as a third of the music unit, according to people close to the discussions. But the talks appear to have been just exploratory discussions that did not go far."

News source: Yahoo News

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