One of the rumors buzzing around the internet this past week is that Microsoft is working on a tough competitor to the iPod. Oooh! Shiver me timbers! The chances of Microsoft taking Apple down in the portable music arena are so miniscule that even John C. Dvorak thinks it’s impossible.
I heard him say so on today’s episode of This Week in Tech, one of the very best (and most popular) podcasts available. Another purported impossibility had to do with associated rumors that Microsoft was planning some kind of “buyback” plan for iTunes customers. The idea is that as a lure to switch to their service, Microsoft will offer to give you for free Windows Media versions of some number of songs from your existing iTunes library. The consensus seemed to be skepticism that Microsoft could even figure out which songs were the ones you had bought.
What immediately came to mind for me was the AppleScript interface to iTunes which, while pretty weak in some regards, still exposes quite a bit of information about the users’s music library. I was surprised the idea didn’t occur to host Leo Laporte, because I’ve heard him express a fairly high level of knowledge about AppleScript in the past. As a proof of concept, I’ve put together a simple script application. You Own It presents a list of all the purchased music from your library. If you’re at all concerned, or just curious, about what it does, just open it with Script Editor and read the script code yourself.
The crux of this functionality is based on a single iTunes AppleScript request
I’m sure there are some loose ends here, but if Microsoft really wants to do this, it won’t be hard for them to do it right, or at least 95% right. Anyway, if they’re going to be giving out free songs, chances are they don’t really care if the songs are actually ones you bought from iTunes, or not.