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Napster Goes to the Chopping Block
Tuesday, September 19th, 2006 at 11:10 AM - by
Napster, the music subscription service that started life as an unlicensed music sharing system, is up for sale. Forbes reports that the company hired the investment banking firm UBS to negotiate a possible sale. Napster claims there has been some "third party interest" in buying the company.
Napster has been unable to turn a profit, or to make a dent in Apple's iTunes Store - the current market leader in legit music downloads. Most recently, Napster unsuccessfully tried its hand at advertising-based music streaming.
The company's future looks even more bleak now that Microsoft is launching its own Zune music download and subscription service. Prior to announcing its closed-system Zune player and download combo, Microsoft highlighted Napster as a partner, and at one point even featured the service in its Windows Media Player application. In the past year, Microsoft began highlighting MTV's music service over Napster.
Now that Microsoft is competing directly with Napster, the company has little chance of maintaining its dwindling user base, making it a prime candidate for a bargain-basement catch. That is, if UBS can swing the deal.
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