On Friday, Apple’s iTunes Music Store recorded its one billionth downloaded song – Coldplay’s ‘Speed of Sound,’ purchased by 16-year old Alex Ostrovsky of West Bloomfield, Michigan. After weeks of building antcipation for the landmark download, Apple capitalized by tying the event neatly into the marketing campaign for its flagship products and awarded Mr. Ostrovsky a new iMac, ten iPods, and a $10,000 iTunes gift certificate.
But despite having reached the one billion download mark in only three years, some analysts are ambivalent about the future of iTunes. While iTunes currently accounts for 70% of the legal music downloads in the U.S. and UK, major competition may emerge soon in the form of Microsoft and MTV’s URGE music service. Scheduled to debut this year, URGE will be closely integrated with the latest version of Windows Media Player, and the wide exposure it is expected to recieve from the partnership with MTV and bundling with Windows Vista may present the first serious challenge to Apple’s iconic combination of the iPod and iTunes.
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