Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Microsoft's "Ventura" Focuses On "Discovery" – Just Like Every Other Digital Media Service

Microsoft, which has never figured out how break into the digital media business, is trying again. Part of its new effort, ZD Net’s Mary Jo Foley reports, is code-named “Ventura.”

Foley has found a Microsoft job posting that mentions the project, and notes its reference to “services and experiences revolving around music\video discovery and consumption”.

That nugget is enough for some observers to conclude that Microsoft is going after Pandora, the Web radio service, because Pandora’s service also fits that description.

Here’s the thing, though: Basically all Web media services now focus on “discovery and consumption” — that is, helping people find stuff they didn’t know they were looking for, and helping them buy/play it.

The one big exception is Apple’s iTunes store, which is primarily a place to go buy things you know you want. The fact that iTunes dominates the digital media market (particularly in music) is one of the reasons other services have focused on “discovery and consumption” — it’s a way to differentiate yourself against the market leader.

And for all we know, Ventura could feature an iTunes-style store, too. But based on Foley’s reporting, it’s likely to feature more than that, as well — just like every media service on the Web.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald