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"With the different media technology and rights management technology that Microsoft has, they could eventually be a provider to our service over time."
——pressplay President/CEO Andy Schuon
PRESSPLAY PRESSES FLESH
WITH MICROSOFT
Isn't It Inevitable That Anyone With A Computer Eventually Has To Talk With Bill Gates?
Almost immediately following the formal announcement of the executive team to lead its online subscription venture pressplay (formerly known as Duet), Sony and Universal Music Group have reportedly been in talks with Microsoft, viewed as a move to boost the proposed site's audio capabilities and its consumer base.

According to sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal, the music majors are negotiating with Microsoft about using its Windows Media Player as the site's audio format, couching the news by saying while "the talks are continuing and it isn't clear whether the parties will reach a deal."

Other insiders note that Microsoft’s involvement in pressplay is far from a sure thing, as the UMG-Sony tandem already has secured technology deals with MP3.com and InterTrust Technologies in place.

Representatives of Microsoft, Sony and UMG wouldn't comment specifically on any talks, the Journal said.

But newly named pressplay President/CEO Andy Schuon said, "With the different media technology and rights management technology that Microsoft has, they could eventually be a provider to our service over time."

Those in the know agree that a deal between Microsoft and pressplay may be inevitable, as the music majors continue to ally with top technology players in an effort to jockey for potential superiority in the race to deliver secure music online.

Microsoft’s interests in pressplay have surely been enhanced given that pressplay’s chief competitor will presumably be MusicNet, the subscription service developed by EMI, Bertelsmann, AOL Time Warner and RealNetworks, a Microsoft rival. MusicNet has already said it will use Real’s audio-broadcasting software.

News of this possible deal follows Monday’s (6/11) official announcement that Schuon will serve as pressplay’s President/CEO and Michael Bebel will be COO of the venture (hitsdailydouble.com, 6/11).

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