Summary:

Microsoft is trying a “Plays-For-Sure + WMP11-Urge-iRiver” hybrid strategy in Japan, where iPod is the dominant music player (though not as…

Microsoft is trying a “Plays-For-Sure + WMP11-Urge-iRiver” hybrid strategy in Japan, where iPod is the dominant music player (though not as much as U.S.). Anyway, it is tying up with Toshiba, Victor Co. of Japan, NTT DoCoMo and five other companies to offer music and video distribution services and media players in Japan. The “iPod rival” thing is cliched but obvious. Microsoft will develop the software while CE makers Toshiba and Victor, will make the portable device. Napster Japan, NTT DoCoMo and Aoyama Capital will provide content and other services. NTT is also expected to come up with a music/video phone.
The numbers at stake are big: The value of music downloads in Japan rose to

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