Microsoft is poised to launch its long-awaited online music store in late August, a move sure to intensify competition in the nascent internet music market currently dominated by Apple Computer's popu

Microsoft is poised to launch its long-awaited online music store in late August, a move sure to intensify competition in the nascent internet music market currently dominated by Apple Computer's popular iTunes store, the Financial Times reported today (July 30)

People familiar with Microsoft's music site told the newspaper it would offer an "á la carte" service from which consumers could buy and download digital audio tracks to their personal computers.

It is unclear how much Microsoft would charge per track, but it is understood that major record labels grant the software giant the same terms as they offered Apple, which sells single tracks for 99 cents, the FT said.

People familiar with Microsoft plans told the FT that the music store was slated for a "soft launch" in late August, meaning the software giant won't market its store until it has been operational for several months and the company has been able to iron out any glitches it may discover.


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