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Amazon launches challenge to iTunes

26 сентября 2007

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has launched its long-awaited challenge to Apple’s digital music business with a new, aggressively priced downloading service that will be available to users of Apple’s popular iPod players.

Amazon is the largest online seller of physical CDs. Its new downloads will be “DRM free”, meaning that they can be accessed by both iPod and MP3 players, and be easily copied or burnt on to users’ CDs.
Given its dominance of the online market in physical goods, Amazon has been seen by the music studios as a potential counter-weight to the growing power of Apple’s iTunes service, which dominates digital downloads.
However, Amazon chose not to enter the market with only the alternative MP3 format and instead encouraged the studios to accept the principle of making music available without the DRM restrictions.
While Universal Music Group and EMI are both now releasing DRM-free music, Warner Music and Sony BMG are not participating in Amazon’s digital service.
Bill Carr, head of Amazon’s digital media, said the retailer had “waited for some time” before launching the service because it had been clear that customers were confused by the variety of players and restrictions imposed on downloads.
“It’s clear that what customers want is DRM-free downloads,” he said.
Mr Carr declined direct comment on Warner and Sony’s decision to stay out of the service but said: “We’re very hopeful that over time each and every album and song becomes available on our service.”
Amazon’s service currently undercuts Apple on price, with digital downloads of recently released albums such as “Curtis”, by rapper 50 Cent, for $8.99, a dollar cheaper than iTunes’ price.

Источник: Financial Times

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