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Microsoft Also Wants Universal Music? 219

rampant mac writes "An article over at the New York Post is reporting Microsoft has expressed interest in buying Vivendi's Universal Music Group, setting up a possible bidding war between the software maker and rival Apple Computer, according to sources familiar with the matter. Microsoft's interest is said to be at the level of "poking around, kicking the tires," but it has indeed had conversations with Vivendi executives about buying the music division, sources said." Here is a story from a few days ago about Apple and Universal.
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Microsoft Also Wants Universal Music?

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  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:01PM (#5721799)
    Usually it takes M$ a few years to copy what Apple has done. So much for my pipe dream of Apple owning a record company and making it respectable...
    • Re:Damn (Score:5, Interesting)

      by abhisarda ( 638576 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:21PM (#5721921) Journal
      If you recall correctly, then Vivendi itself asked Jobs to take up a minority share in Universal. Why? Because Steve's music subscription plan hit a sweet note with Vivendi executives. Steve might be in talks to buy Universal and that is a good thing.
      About Microsoft, they have about 45 billion in liquid assets and they can afford to run the competitors out of business. Note that Vivendi has put up Universal on the block. For Microsoft to buy it, it will have to calm the anti-trust flames that will be stoked on both sides of the Atlantic. Also remember that the anti-monopoly enforcers in the EU have not yet announced the punishment for MS. It will be coming in the next few months and MS's lawyers will be advising that bidding for Universal now won't make things easier for them.
      But, if MS is really determined to get Universal then it might take a year to complete the deal.
      One thing, I will keep my fingers crossed that this does'nt go through.
      • Re:Damn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:26PM (#5721954)
        With the current economy, I'd rather see MS buy Vivendi.

        Then they lose 6-7 billion down a hole of crappy music and Apple keeps it's money in the bank.
        • ahh yes (Score:3, Interesting)

          by abhisarda ( 638576 )
          you see short term thinking always does'nt pay off. Apple will start its music subscription with songs from 4 out of 5 major labels.

          If MS got hold of Universal, then MS would start its own service and effectively lock Apple out from some of the best musicians. Do we want that to happen? NO. There are other music subscription services but most of them are a half-assed effort.

          Quite a few people believe Apple will do a lot better in this field. Do you want to subscribe to 2 seperate subscriptions just becaus
          • Re:ahh yes (Score:3, Interesting)

            by suyashs ( 645036 )
            Correction...Apple now the backing of all 5 music labels for their online music service... ia/12MUSI.html?th Its full steam ahead for apple!
          • Re:ahh yes (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 )

            I like Apple having cash in hand instead of debt. A lack of debt keeps Apple in business and keeps PowerBooks coming out.

            I'd wager that MS is showing interest to nuke Apple's hopes. Push the price up and get Apple into a bidding war and in the end let Apple buy it at a higher price than Apple wanted to. then while Apple scrambles around shoring up finances and cutting small software projects, start cutting support for Apple at MS.

            As for this "effectively lock Apple out from some of the best musicia
          • Well, frankly if Apple's service signs the other 4 major labels and not Universal, it will probably be very successful, and Microsoft would be castrating Universal if they didn't sign as well. Like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I don't see Microsoft being able to put down control (in the form of DRM) long enough to make anything they'd offer desirable to the public. Microsoft is starting to remind me a LOT of Disney now, with their goals of control and power over profit. Guess that's what happen
          • The music industry needs some innovation. It does'nt matter where it comes from. It will give many people who use Kazaa a better piracy-free alternative.

            Unless they're giving me free music it's not a better alternative to Kazaa. Why pay for music when I can get it for free from Kazaa? Plus, whatever subscription service comes out will be cracked and we'll get the free songs from that as well. Double plus good. Christina Aguilera songs want to be free. Our founding fathers fought and died for our rig

        • Re:Damn (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          True. But MS really has no interest in getting into music except to stifle competition that flows against their business interest.

          Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with it. This would be the normal part of business. Except MS is a monopoly, and their buying power comes directly from illegal activity.

          The main reason MS can name themselves is because they are one of the few companies which could intersect their current business model with the music industry -and- have the raw cash to (or stock without
    • Given Microsoft's track record, this is not a total surprise. When they said they wanted their paws into everything a computer can offer (word processors, music, operating systems, etc.), they meant it. I'm surprised they haven't tried to offer a service that allows people to order groceries online and have them delivered, we had one where I am for a while but it went bust due to lack of customers.

      I'll start getting worried when Micro-soft gets into fast food, energy trading, agriculture, and steelmaking
    • Actually, the Beatles (and Apple Records) sued Apple Computer about a decade ago for having the same name. The lawsuit basically stated that Apple Computer was never supposed to become a record industry, since it would lead to confusion.

      Also, since the computers started recording sound, they decided to add "Sosumi" as one of the sounds that comes with it to make a joke. You know, like "So sue me."
  • What MS could do. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SocialWorm ( 316263 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:04PM (#5721813) Homepage

    It seems like everyone wants to buy Universal.

    This could really give MS quite a bit of leverage if it ever needed it - "Upgrade now, get 50 free songs for Windows Media Player" or some such thing. I could possibly even be tied in to some future service like X-Box live.

    It's obvious and clever at the same time.

  • Riiight (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 17028 ( 122384 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:04PM (#5721814)
    It's called driving up the price for your competitor.
  • by manly_15 ( 447559 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:04PM (#5721816)
    It would be my guess that both Apple and Microsoft would want to do the same thing - use music to promote and sell their products. However, if Microsoft bought Vivendi Music, would that not somehow be in violation of the anti-trust rulings? Couldn't Microsoft use their monopoly on desktop OS's to create a monopoly in legal music downloading?

    I might be completely wrong, but somehow the prospect of Microsoft owning such a big label seems much scarier than Apple doing the same thing.
    • Actually, Apple is in the same boat. If Apple buys a record company, it puts Apple in violation of its settlement with Apple Corps, Ltd., the record company (known for, among other things, being the Beatles' label) with which it agreed not to go into the music business with, and possibly also it's license agreement with McIntosh amplifiers.

      So the question is: which one is the evil twin []? ;)
    • I think Ashcroft has demonstrated by now the he is Bill's bitch. The chances of this justice dept pursuing MS is near zero. MS knows this too.
  • by Bendy Chief ( 633679 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:04PM (#5721817) Homepage Journal
    As I understand it, MS' coffers are essentially deep enough to buy anyone they want; witness the state of affairs with the X-Box. (Rare Studios, anyone?)

    It doesn't surprise me at all that they want to head Apple off at the pass.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "As you understand it"?

      Here's a link to the latest MS quarterly report at the SEC: Jan 10Q []

      It shows about $43 billion in cash and short-term investments. $5.5B in cash. (Why, they could almost afford to pay a RIAA judgement.)

      Microsoft isn't a software company. It's a bank... Given that they have such market dominance in their original field, they have no way to grow except to expand into other areas. That's the problem with dominating a market; nowhere to go but down or out.
  • by deanj ( 519759 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:05PM (#5721818)
    Look, Microsoft seems to think that ANY device with any computational capabilities at all for the mass market is *theirs*.

    Is it any surpise that they'd want to get into this too? Imagine if that happened? You thought the RIAA was bad....hoo boy, you ain't seen nothing yet.
  • What artists does Universal have?
  • is there anything microsoft isn't in? they are beginning to reach pokemon status in saturation, all they need to do now is have pasta noodles shaped like the m$ symbol.
  • by Surlyboi ( 96917 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:07PM (#5721831) Homepage Journal
    "For some in the beleaguered music industry - which has seen compact disc sales plummet in recent years due to rampant piracy"

    Couldn't also be the fact that CDs are still damn
    expensive and the recent mainstream music scene has
    sucked, could it? Nah, let's blame the pirates!

    Still in all, how interested would MS have been if
    L'il Stevie hadn't made public his intent to hook up
    with a Universal?
    • and they haven't 'plummeted' as you could expect..

      it's funny that they tell on other side that they are losing massive sales to rampant copying and on the other side they are saying that their growth isn't as big as it could be(meaning they are gaining sales..).
    • You're probably right about MS not even considering a Universal bid until they heard Apple may be going for it - this is most likely a ploy by them to drive the price way up. They know that if any company with a viable competing platform gains this much access to content, their content control plans will face a hard road. And can you see any of the other major non-Windows payers making this move? It would be a near-impossible fit for both IBM and Sun, and HP is not in a financial position for a move of t
    • "For some in the beleaguered music industry - which has seen compact disc sales plummet in recent years due to rampant piracy"

      I think this is the very first time that I've read an article about Apple where the word "beleaguered" appeared, and it didn't refer to Apple...

  • by pkunzipper ( 652520 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:07PM (#5721832)
    If they actually buy the company, I'm interested in seeing what stance they will take in the fight against p2p networks and media company's current fight against free sharing of media, knowing M$ can be very rough in the courts.
    • I'm sorry, I RARELY defend Microsoft, but they've been far from wildly litigious. I mean, I honestly can't think of a time that MS brought anyone to court for, well, anything. I seem to remember one case where some russian company tried to market something called Windows 95 beer, but I don't recall what happened to that. Please correct me if I've missed some case.

      Anyway around it, microsoft has been much more well behaved than Apple when it comes to suing/threatening people. (Recall the case w
  • Indeed (Score:4, Funny)

    by psicE ( 126646 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:08PM (#5721835) Homepage
    rampant mac writes "An article over at the New York Post

    Silly mac user, use a more reputable news source like the National Enquirer.
  • Wonder if.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kewsh ( 655090 )
    Wonder if this is just what Apple wanted to happen? Im not usually one for conspiracy theory but Apple may have something up their sleeve here.
  • Interference (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:08PM (#5721838) Homepage Journal
    Obviously, MS isn't really interrested in buying Universal, but its good buisness to make sure that your competitors have a hard time pulling their deals.

    MS makes a bid, forces apple to hike up their bid. In the end, MS doesn't buy anything and apple had to spend way more to get what they wanted, wich hurts them and therefore indirectly helps MS.

    Is tricky, its devious, its evil...its Microsoft at its best.
    • No, it makes terrible business sense. What happens if Microsoft pushes the price up too high, and Apple decides to bail out?
      Microsoft ends up with a white elephant, that they will eventually have to sell (possibly to Apple), at a lower price than what they payed for AND what Vivendi was selling it for.
  • Damm (Score:5, Funny)

    by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:10PM (#5721848)
    I was worried about this when I saw the /. story a couple days ago but didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to give M$ any ideas myself. But I guess they read the /. story too and got the idea anyways. If only Pudge hadn't posted the story M$ would never have found out and Apple would have gotten away with it.
    DAMM YOU ?> !!!!

    (?> == /. in capitals)
  • Smart money shouldn't be going after dying music companies.
  • I predict (Score:3, Funny)

    by The Dobber ( 576407 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:11PM (#5721854)

    A kick-ass soundtrack for Doom 3

    • "A kick-ass soundtrack for Doom 3"

      Yeah, knowing Microsoft they'll demo Doom 3 with music from NIN, Eminem, Blink 182 and DMX...

      ...only to release the final version filled with Banarama, Erasure, Bryan Adams, and Marky Mark music.

  • good ! (Score:5, Funny)

    by selderrr ( 523988 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:15PM (#5721881) Journal
    this means that we'll keep on getting music for free ! I can not see MS create a safe, closed system being hacked in less than a month.
  • Crap (Score:3, Funny)

    by dupper ( 470576 ) <> on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:17PM (#5721894) Journal
    If you thought the RIAA was bad, wait until we're up against someone who has half a clue about technology!
  • by tealover ( 187148 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:18PM (#5721905)
    In fact, I hope they buy movie companies, publishers, etc. Sony has done the same thing and I see Microsoft and Sony as being the two competitors that need to be balanced.

    Sony doesn't get a lot of flack in these parts because they haven't made the political mistakes Microsoft has, but they're just as much a threat with their stranglehold on manufacturing and content.

    I would love to see Microsoft start spending their money in these areas.

  • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:18PM (#5721906)
    ... there will be an announcement about, the FSF, a few of the Debian developers, and Linus himself all going in together to buy this music company.
  • Raising the price. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mullen ( 14656 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:21PM (#5721919)
    The only reason MS is doing this is too raise the price of the music company.

    Apple does not have the cash that MS has, and MS has tons of cash. MS can raise the price 30% and not blink, Apple would be hit hard.

  • Maybe.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sounds like horizontal integration [] to me.

    I'm no economist, so maybe I'm wrong.

  • Meta-post (Score:3, Funny)

    by Elphin ( 7066 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:21PM (#5721924) Homepage

    I'm sure we can expect the following exciting new releases if Microsoft makes this purchase. Not being much of a shining wit, I will leave the hard part up to you:

    <pun involving "windows"> - some artist

    <clever parody of blue-screen-of-death> - a band

    <clumsy attempt at humurous title> - <artist with "gates" as surname>

    <mildly amusing dig at open source> - obscure indie band

    Oh the fun you could have. If you had time.

    • Fine. (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:30PM (#5721973)

      Falling Out The Windows, Landing In The .NET - The Allchin Brothers (country, classic rock)

      My Baby's Givin' Me The Blues - Bluescreen Traveler (blues, contemporary)

      Heaven's Openin' Up For Me - Bill 'Pearly' Gates (gospel, contemporary)

      Free is Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose (Linux sucks) - Janis Joplin (remixes, classic rock)
      Kids these days. Don't even bother doing their own work.

  • In other news, Slashdot is reporting that the 'yuvtob' corporation also wishes to buy Universal Music. Spokesperson for yuvtob said: "at this point the company is only looking at the tires, and from a very long distance".
  • by Anonymous Coward
    of MS buying the game division of Vivendi?

    Personally (and off topic)I hope MGM picks up Universal Studios, then maybe we may see the return of Farscape on Sci-FI.
  • FLAWED INFORMATION (Score:3, Informative)

    by kaamos ( 647337 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:26PM (#5721955)
    Apple had conversations with Universal music divison earlier in march but they left without putting any offers on the taple. - is never wrong, check them out.

    This whole thing feels like M$ only did the same thing looking to check out what they could do

  • by artemis67 ( 93453 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:27PM (#5721958)
    ...start rumors of their interest in buying out insanely large and bloated corporations, then sit back and laugh while the mindless paranoids at Microsoft fall over themselves to beat Apple to the punch, depleting their coffers.
  • by Winterblink ( 575267 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:27PM (#5721961) Homepage
    Vivendi Universal should just put itself up on EBay and let all interested parties duke it out in 10 dollar increments :)
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:29PM (#5721969)
    These "synerigies" rarely pay off. Both AOL and Vivendi had (at one time) deep pcokets (AOL from dial-up fees, Vivendi from utilities), and they were unable to make the confluence of technology and media, largely because there is no huge profit windfall and no pressing need. Music libraries can be licensed. With the value of the record industry dropping in aggregate, these license fees will only go down.
  • Microsoft's interest is said to be at the level of "poking around, kicking the tires,"

    Vivendi is like a shitbox Ford Pinto. Jokes aside about the dangers of kicking ANYTHING on a Ford seems like cars and companies do have one thing in common- they both attract idiots who think they can fix 'em back up, make 'em stop leaking, polish the fenders, and show 'em off to the world, for a few weekends in the summer, a little elbow grease, and a little bit of money.

    It NEVER turns out that way.


    • "Apple's stock took a serious dip when this rumor(and I stress, rumor) hit."

      Apple's stock always take a hit at any rumor. If you look hard, you'll see that Apple's stock movement has been a terrible indicator of the wisdom of their dealings.

      Remember, stock investors seldom ever understand what the companies they've invested in do. Witness Enron.

      Investors don't like to have their boat rocked. What you saw was a bunch of nervous "investors" who should never have bought Apple stock in the first place. They
    • You're mistaken in assuming that Apple can't focus on improvements in their core business while also (potentially) changing the music industry through Universal Music. Pixar has focussed succesfully on making great animated films, and an even better example is how Filemaker has retained focus on it's core databases while being a part of Apple. So, more than merely managing TWO companies, Jobs & Co. are managing MANY companies successfully - look at new developments with Spruce, Emagic, Silicon Grail,
  • If Apple does make the buy, as rumoured, I wonder how that will play out with regards to their infamous lawsuit brought by Apple Corps (the music holding company that handles The Beatles properties). My understanding is that the settlement was only good as long as Apple Computer stayed out of the music business.
  • Good vs. Evil (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Feztaa ( 633745 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:33PM (#5721999) Homepage
    Apple and Microsoft fighting over which one gets to own Universal is truly a fight of Good vs. Evil.

    Apple has their "Rip, Mix, Burn" attitude towards fair use: fair use is, well, fair. Apple wants you to buy CDs and then put that legal music onto your iPod. Apple is Good.

    Microsoft is pushing DRM. To Microsoft, "fair use" is treated as piracy. If Microsoft buys Universal, you'll be able to play music CDs in your computer, but only in Windows and only with Windows Media Player 9. And you wouldn't be able to rip the CDs, either. Microsoft is Evil.

    Unfortunately, Microsoft has much deeper pockets than Apple, so I can't see how Apple could ever seriously hope to purchase Universal is Microsoft is truly interested in it. But, I hope to God that Apple does purchase it, because if they don't, the whole music industry will really go to shit (if you think it's shit now, you ain't seen nothing yet).
  • I'll give Steve Jobs and Apple $100 if they make sure MS doesnt get Universal. Maybe even buy an iPod too. Someone ought to get a pledge drive going to help apple combat MS. Hell, MS could pay $10B and still have enough cash to swim.
  • by MsGeek ( 162936 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:40PM (#5722027) Homepage Journal
    This strikes me being one of those consolidations like what was going on during the Dot-Com bubble. To give but one example, Time Warner snarfing up AOL basically weakened both companies. I suppose if there was a company I would like to see get weakened, it would be Microsoft. However, even if the Uni deal went totally sour Microsoft would survive. Apple could go right down the tubes if this happened.

    When I first heard about this, I thought that Apple was angling to buy Universal PICTURES on Pixar's behalf. That would make total sense, considering that Disney has not been an especially fair partner in their deal with Pixar, and Pixar has been one of the few bright spots on Disney's otherwise lackluster balance sheet. Even a threat of Jobs leveraging Apple to give Pixar its own friendly distribution path would be enough to scare Michael Eisner into giving Jobs whatever he wanted.

    In any event, this deal makes zero business sense, and seems to be turning into a pissing match between Ballmer and Jobs. Jobs should know better...Ballmer is the one who drinks the most beer. He'll win. ~_^ (grinning, ducking and running)
    • I think you're right, but a quibble: AOL bought Time-Warner, not the other way around. Also, Apple would never be able to buy Universal Pictures on Pixar's behalf -- Jobs is CEO of both companies, but Pixar is not related to Apple in any other way. It would be a pretty huge breach of fiduciary duty for Steve to "leverage" Apple for Pixar's benefit.
  • Not Likely (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GregBildson ( 316305 )
    Microsoft is definitely interested in dominating the content business. However, unlike cable they already have this entire industry in the palms of their hands.

    By holding out hope of DRM and locking down content, media companies are very favorably disposed towards Microsoft. Buying a competitor and competing directly is too large a risk for Microsoft to seriously consider.

    Then again, they want to get into recurring revenue streams of different types so eventually they need to successfully leverage thei
  • Say it ain't so (Score:3, Informative)

    by l0ungeb0y ( 442022 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:48PM (#5722076) Homepage Journal
    And we all know who'd win a bidding war.

    If M$ got their hands on Universal, we could all pretty much kiss free use good-bye.

    And I don't even think it would be a true bidding war, I think a lot of it would be "buddy buddy" talks within the RIAA as a peer consesus that M$ is good and Apple bad. Since I'm sure the RIAA and Universals shareholders would ardently support a greater partnership with a corporation that specializes in proprietary formats and who is heading up a coup d'etat on the users rights to own their machine.

    In a twisted sense, such an organization that controlled a major media producer as well as the mechanism for media playback and the operating system for that mechanism to be run on is an easy target for an anti-trust. But, we've already seen how effective the US Federal Judges are at punishing M$...

    But maybe, just maybe it will all finally hit close enough to home when a Fed. Judge buys a CD and find they can't play it without having a winCE device with windows media player installed that we might finally see some justice in action. ...just maybe.

    Man, I hope this post isn't FUD, but I am feeling fearful of the possible repercussions I as a consumer would experience if the articles speculation were to come true.

    So, hey, everyone go help Apple, buy some stock and pump them up! Apple has done more than just say "Rip-Mix-Burn". They have built some great software to make professional quality media production easy and affordable and they are staunchly against DRM on their platform. Though I know many on /. still hold a grudge against Apple based upon the Macs of the mid-90's, OS X is a Unice, Apple has embraced and aided OSS and Apple is a great commercial alternative to wintel.

    Personally, I think OS X has a better a chance of replacing Moms desktop that Linux does. And as it should. Let's see Linux replace Windows in the server market and OS X replace windows in the desktop market.
    • The RIAA does not have share-holders, it is an organization of record companies. They don't get a say on what Universal does, Universal gets a say on what the RIAA does. The RIAA may want MS to buy Universal but they don't have the power to make it happen.

      Also I don't think that Vivendi really cares who gives them money for Universal, they are horribly in debt and just want to survive. Personally I think the best course of action would be for Universal to simply die (along with the rest of the music indust
  • by Archfeld ( 6757 )
    at least someone is showing interest in it. It certainly isn't the customers these days...
    Honestly I really think that the baggage associated with a 'traditional' record company far outweighs any advantages you can get EXCEPT access to musicians, but I am sure existing contracts are bound up somehow in this deal to remain with Vivendi. If a company could get access to musicians WITHOUT all the overhead of the 'brick and mortar' 15th century mentallity the music industry is RIPE for a revolution...
  • Monopoly (Score:2, Interesting)

    Wasn't Microsoft in trouble with the DOJ because they have been using their monopoly in one market (desktop OS) to build monopolies in other markets? If they are serious about this, and not just trying to hurt Apple, it sounds like more of the same, and I hope the government does something this time.
    • Re:Monopoly (Score:2, Interesting)

      Not until Dubbya is out of office. Remember how quickly the DoJ backed off in what appeared to be mere minutes after Dubya was innagurated.

      MS plegded about double to Rebulican and, Dubbya's in specific, campaigns than they did to any Democratic campaigns during and after the anti-trust trial. Gates had even met with Republicans and said he felt the Republicans should be in office because they'd "be more understanding" of MS' practices.

  • by dubbayu_d_40 ( 622643 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @01:51PM (#5722090)
    I can't believe no one has pointed this out. Apple is not doing this to help prevent copying - quite the opposite.

    With a power house like Universal, Window's media and it's copy protection is dead.

    Go Apple! Free music for everyone!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2003 @02:33PM (#5722278)
    "Hey look, someone's trying to make money again."

    "Do they use, sell or manufacture computers?"


    "Stop them. I don't care what it costs."

  • Does anyone get the feeling that Bill Gates takes his direction from Dr. Evil?

    I mean, what could truly make Microsoft more Eveel than getting directly involved with funding the RIAA? Pure Evil Genius!
  • Vivendi is not being sold to microsoft. Vivendi was purchased by Iraq days ago.

    BTW, Microsoft is burning in their cubicles.

    We have won another war.
  • by Michael_Burton ( 608237 ) <> on Sunday April 13, 2003 @02:41PM (#5722319) Homepage

    On the day that Slashdot ran the story about Apple buying Universal Music, there were also stories about Microsoft authorizing a port of Windows Media technology for embedded Linux [] [] and high-definition DVD [] [] at standard DVD bitrates using Microsoft-proprietary technology.

    It's all part of the same story. The world is moving toward all-digital media formats. Microsoft wants all those formats to be Microsoft-owned. They sign up media producers with promises of copy control, pay-per-view and other DRM features. Already, some CDs have been released crippled for use on non-Windows computers (and some CD players).

    I'm guessing someone at Apple sees a possible future in which new music won't play on any computer not running Windows. If all the major music companies sign on to lock down their content with MS technology, consumers may believe they have no choice but to stay "inside the lines." If Universal Music doesn't sign on to locked-down content, consumers probably won't tolerate severe restrictions from other content providers.

    Microsoft makes some good stuff. But I'm hoping that we don't wind up in an all-Microsoft world.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Vivendi is looking to pay off $8B debt. Universal Music is for sale, however, the music business is not doing that great, and numerous companies try to bid down the price.

    Hence the decision to advertise anything, even remote interest, as strong decision to buy Universal Music. If Vivendi has their way, pretty soon stories about hundreds of buyers from General Motors to Wal-Mart asking to purchase Universal Music Group will be posted all over the Net.

    In fact, though, there's just one real buyer, and no, i
  • Microsoft Exec to the Board on Apple's move:
    "We've analyzed their attack sir, and there is a threat."

    "Abandon? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances!"
  • Terrific (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kylow ( 581998 )
    Now they won't have to buy the rights to Lenny Kravitz songs for MSN commercials.
  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Sunday April 13, 2003 @08:12PM (#5723998)
    Apple: (Stands of side of bridge, pretends to jump)

    Microsoft: AAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.