RealTime IT News

Microsoft Said in Talks to Provide Security for Napster

Napster is said to be in talks with Microsoft about using the software giant's technology to help build "a secure, copyright-friendly version of its online song-swapping service."

According to a report filed by the online version of the LA Times, Napster, which is struggling to stay afloat amid restrictions imposed by the courts and the music industry, could use Microsoft's copyright-protecting technology to encourage the music industry to supply songs being denied, the LA Times has surmised.

LA Times sources told the paper that the two companies have been talking for weeks about a deal, and, that initially, Napster officials suggested that Microsoft buy the company, but Microsoft rejected the overture.

By press time neither of the West coast companies could be reached for comment.

A Napster spokeswoman said the company is in discussions with Microsoft, but added that Microsoft is just one of "a number of technology companies" that Napster is talking to "about how several of their products might be incorporated into the new Napster service."

Napster has recently lost several thousand users as a result of the court's insistence that the site stop swapping files that are copyright protected. The company has also infuriated U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel for not pulling out all the stops to block users from copying songs.

The company has since employed technology from Gracenote and Relatable to help weed out copyrighted materials from its offerings.

Microsoft has stepped up its efforts to enter the burgeoning subscription-based online music space -- a space already being carved out by major record labels fielding subscription services with Yahoo, America Online and RealNetworks.