This is big. Microsoft and RealNetworks resolve the antitrust case in a global settlement and announce a partnership to provide digital music and games.
The cost to Microsoft – $761 million with $460 million CASH UP FRONT.
Part of the music collaboration allows MSN Messenger users to share and play music while chatting from the RealNetworks’s music library called Rhapsody.
Clearing the field to battle with Google and Apple, CNET says Microsoft has already settled with AOL Time Warner, IBM, Sun Microsystem, Novell and others.
“This agreement will provide MSN’s millions of customers with easier access to subscription services for the music and games they love,” Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said in a statement. “Digital music is one of the fastest-growing segments of the online-entertainment industry, and by promoting Rhapsody’s subscription music services from within MSN, we will provide a better experience for our users.”
“It’s one of those good deals for both companies,” JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg said. “For Microsoft, it frees them up to focus on the competitors of the 21st century, like Google, or Apple (Computer) in the music space.”