Microsoft opens a mobile music store in UK, does it all wrong

MSN has just launched a mobile music store in UK. The store, which carries 1 million tracks, 25,000 musical ringtones and 10,000 music videos from labels such as Sony and Warner, is available across all networks, with payment handled using a one-click process and the bill added to your normal cellphone bill. The service is not specific to Windows Mobile, and should work on all phones on the networks.

Of course the operative word is should. PC Pro brings to our attention the completer failure of the service to work at launch, and episodes of not allowing downloading of music even after taking payment. In our own testing we found the HTC Touch HD not supported at all, despite this being a browser-based service.

Thats just the start of the fail. With single tracks costing £1.50 (where they cost £0.79 on iTunes and even cheaper on Amazon) and with the tracks being DRM protected, meaning transfer off the phone is impossible, the service appears doomed to fail, even if it actually allowed download of files (which it did not).

While an over the air music download service that will stand in competition to Apple is sorely needed, Microsoft’s solution is clunky, expensive and restricted. One can only hope when its Zune on Windows Mobile service finally rolls out a more sensible team is placed in charge if this.

Masochistic UK residents may try out the service by visiting msn.co.uk using their mobile browser.

Read PC Pro’s report of this fiasco here.

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