URGEnt FUD alert

Say hello to yet another attempt at attacking Apple’s leading position in the (legal) music download market. This time, it’s a service called URGE, which is backed by an alliance of Viacom, owner of MTV and numerous other media outlets, and Microsoft. Unlike Microsoft’s own MSN Music Store website, URGE lives inside the Windows Media Player, just like the iTunes Music Store lives inside iTunes.

However, unlike iTMS, URGE will only work on computers running Windows Media Player 11 (which is only available for Windows XP), and I would not have felt the urge (so sorry…!) to waste any time mentioning this new site if it weren’t for the fact that even they feature the usual annoying-to-no-end Microsoft FUD, although the only indication of its relationship with Microsoft is the WMP11 requirement and the Windows Media logo.

Here’s what it says in their FAQ about compatibility with the iPod:

Music you download or purchase from URGE is in Windows Media Audio (WMA) format and protected by the Windows Digital Rights Management (DRM) software which is not compatible with the iPod. Apple has currently only made the iPod compatible with another format called AAC.

What Microsoft wants you to read into this is:

Apple does not want to give you the freedom of listening to the tracks you can buy from this site. They are a bad, bad company!!

What that FAQ excerpt really means, though, is this:

The fact that there is an important market in the digital realm that we don’t own yet is hard to bear for us, and it is even worse that this specific one is dominated by those folks from Cupertino. However, we just don’t understand what it takes to build a portable media player that is at least half as cool as the iPod, or a media player application that is anywhere near as elegant, easy-to-use, and reliable as iTunes.

So we’ll just use our usual tactics of fear, uncertainty, and doubt to make you think that that neat iPod you already own is worthless, because it won’t play the music we offer. Well, we do know that you probably couldn’t care less, since you’re happy with that iPod/iTunes combo, but we will give it a try, because we just can’t stand it that there’s a corner of the digital world outside our control.

Fact is that there have been numerous attempts at Apple’s dominance of digital music, but none, not one, of the competitors really understand that, what makes the iPod/iTunes/iTMS combo so successful, is the original goal of providing a great music experience to-go. No hidden agenda about market share, platform wars, etc.; that’s the stuff that comes after the product’s design, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. And it’s this thing exactly — providing a great experience for your users, first of all — that Microsoft knows nothing about, nothing whatsoever.

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  1. flash developer

    Urge software is crap.

    After 9 MB download, you will have to download 25 MB media player software crap, then after that again 25 MB Urge Library, shit.

    After All, they forgot to make an uninstall button???? This software is worser than a virus. It makes your PC like a slave.

  2. flash developer

    the say in their terms and conditions, that they will pay up to 5 dollar. this is nothing against all the anger, they produce within the community.

  3. Jochen Wolters

    You can compare the 25MB player download to downloading iTunes to your computer if you want to access the iTunes Music Store. I’m not sure, though, why they require two more downloads, but this kind of requirement is in line with the last sentence of my post. ;)

    About the missing Uninstall button: can you uninstall it from the Software control panel?