Napster vs. iTunes

This article has a bit of a sensational headline.  If you don't read past the headline it appears that the Napster CEO, Chris Gorog, is bashing Microsoft pretty severly. If you read further, however, he's actually very bullish on Microsoft's strategy.

"Ultimately, the consumer electronics giants ... are all going to come to this Windows Media party," he said. "This is really going to be the ubiquitous format."

I'm a huge fan of Napster's subscription based service. The holy grail of music libraries is a service which enables me to play any song in recorded history at any time on any device. Napster is on the path to making that a possibility.

Gorog is right, better devices are needed. I was at Comp USA yesterday and they had a whole aisle of iPod devices. I didn't see a single device capable of using Napster's subscription service other than the Windows Mobile phones and PDAs. We need inexpensive home stereos, car stereos and portable devices, all with build in WiFi.  The iPod model of taking your iPod and plugging it into all these devices is silly.  If you had subscription based devices all with WiFi you could just stream whatever content you want to you office, living room, deck, car, etc.

We also need better software from Napster. I've been using Napster since before it was Napster, over four years, and the software is completly unevolved. The interface is clumsy and doesn't provide anything more than very basic search and sorting capabilities.