Windows or else - MS/Sony deal is a private affair

Computer users not using the Windows operating system will be locked out of the digital distribution agreement between Sony Music and Microsoft, which lets Sony sell pop singles for download over the Internet using Microsoft's Media player technology. The secure system works only with Windows.

Computer users not using the Windows operating system will be locked out of the digital distribution agreement between Sony Music and Microsoft, which lets Sony sell pop singles for download over the Internet using Microsoft's Media player technology. The secure system works only with Windows. A spokeswoman for Microsoft said there are "no plans yet" to make it work with other platforms.

Sony emphasised the link-up is "only an experiment". Other audio formats will be considered in the future the company said.

Microsoft's latest Windows Media player, now in final testing, offers security to record companies as well as smaller files and faster downloads than the MP3 format. RealNetworks says its rival G2 system does the same but works across an increasing number of platforms. A Mac player is available, and a Linux player is due "in a matter of weeks" according to RealNetworks' Systems Marketing division.

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