Samsung Planning to Compete with iTunes

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics is working on its own digital music download service as a way to increase the company’s share of the portable digital music player market

The news came from the head of the company’s digital media division, Choi Ji-Sung, on October 28 to the South Korean paper Choson Ilbo, and was confirmed by Samsung spokesperson Kwon Hyosun today. Samsung has not announced any launch date for its service.

Samsung wouldn’t be the first electronics maker to launch a music store to promote its own products: Samsung would face immediate competition from both Apple’s iTunes Music Store and Sony’s Connect. South Korea’s Funcake music store is run by Reigncom, also which produced iRiver players, and the Asia-Pacific SoundBuzz service is backed by both Reigncom and Creative Technology.

Samsung claims that its portable music players are outselling Apple’s iPod in markets where Apple’s iTunes Music Store isn’t available; the company believes, therefore, that the key to competing with the iPod where Apple’s online store is available is to emulate Apple’s integrated solution and offer an online download service for its players. Currently, anyone considering buying a Samsung player faces the challenge of locating, selecting, and signing up for a digital music download service in addition to purchasing and learning to use the Samsung device. Samsung aims to lower that barrier by providing its own, easy-to-use download service right out of the box.

Currently, Samsung devices are compatible with a wide variety of online music services, including MSN Music, Yahoo Music, and Napster, although they cannot be used with the iTunes Music Store.

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