While Apple has been criticized for not sharing its software and media standards with others, Microsoft has been accused of competing with its own customers.

Unlike Apple, Microsoft wants its music software and media standards used by as many services as possible. One the latest music download services can be found at MSN – Microsoft Network.

MSN's Yusuf Medhi told The Guardian's Jack Schofield: "One of the reasons we're doing our own music services is that MSN makes its revenues by aggregating large audiences and then selling advertising. Music is a top activity on the web and can drive the advertising business."

"We want to drive Windows as a great place to manage digital media, and by developing a best-in-class music service, we can show people how great it is on Windows – better than any other ecosystem.

"You might say, 'Hey, you can let partners do that,' but my view is that the market is very nascent, and if we can all grow the market, we'll all benefit. The real competition is not each other but the move to free and pirated music, and we are a company that believes in intellectual property."

Exploring Internet Explorer

Microsoft has also been criticized for not developing its IE browser, but MSN has been offering a more advanced version with pop-up blocking, MSN Explorer, notes the Guardian's Jack Schofield.

"Would it have been better for Microsoft to ship that to everyone, instead of MSN's premium service users?" Schofield asks.

"We are pioneering a lot of online services for the company: the online advertising platform and strategy for the whole company – because we're looking at bringing advertising to other software products, and high-scale operations such as our Hotmail service and forthcoming search service," explained Medhi.