Will Microsoft's Zune do away with PlaysForSure?

Microsoft finally owned up to developing a rival to Apple's iPod and iTunes combo last Friday, but some believe the upcoming music player will do away Microsoft's own PlaysForSure program. PlaysForSure certification ensures compatibility between the vast majority of non-Apple music players and services, such as Musicmatch, Napster, and Urge. Today, however, SanDisk CEO Eli Harari stated that "Based on what they have publicly said, we believe that Microsoft will mimic Appleā€™s proprietary closed-system solution."

Microsoft's official position on the subject is somewhat ambiguous. The company doesn't plan to abandon PlaysForSure, CNet says, but it has made no mention of either PlaysForSure support in Zune or of the Zune's player interoperability with other services. Furthermore, speaking about Zune, a Microsoft spokesman told CNet, "Any experience, whether it is device and service and software, will be tightly integrated." An IDC analyst believes the arrival of Zune is a sign the PlaysForSure strategy did not successfully thwart the iPod's success, and that the certification effort could become redundant if Microsoft focuses on its own service and hardware.

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