Press play for more media

Microsoft is setting itself up as a one-man band for subscriptions and services based on its Windows Media technology

The Windows Media Player 9, which goes into public beta, or test, on Sept. 4, [or has already been d/led by 1000's lol] adds a new "Services" tab that initially allows consumers to sign up for a trial subscription to Pressplay, an online music service backed by Sony and Vivendi Universal. The move is part of Microsoft's increased emphasis on Web services and also an attempt to compete against similar offerings from rivals AOL Time Warner and RealNetworks, which are partners in a competing music service known as MusicNet.

"The notion of tying services in with Microsoft technologies is not a new thing," said Jupiter analyst Michael Gartenberg. "We first saw that in things like the 'My Pictures' folder in Windows XP that offered to send you to partner sites for photo reprints and the like."

The linking emphasizes the status of Windows as "valuable real estate that Microsoft controls and can use to leverage relationships," Gartenberg said.

Microsoft might have much more than just Pressplay in mind. "This is the Premium Services area of Windows Media Player, the place to get the best digital media delivered directly to you," the text of the Services tab reads. "These subscription services link directly to your media player, so signing up once means instant sign-in whenever you launch it."

News source: c|net

News source: Microsoft's media player beat goes on

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