Apple has been incredibly successful but products based around Windows will be the ones that push up market share, according to HMV.

The music company has announced that it will invest £10 million in its own music download service based around Microsoft's Windows Media Audio software – meaning it will be incompatible with the iPod.

Defending the incompatibility with Apple's iPod an HMV spokeswoman said: "It is going to be important that the service is compatible with Microsoft."

Market force

The retailer told The Times: "HMV is determined to become a market force in this new channel to market. Uncertainty about how this market will develop requires us to select investment opportunities with considerable care."

The initiative will be developed by a joint team "combining the industry knowledge of HMV with the software development product expertise and consulting skills of Microsoft," according to managing director of Microsoft UK Alistair Baker.

HMV chief executive Alan Giles said that the company was "delighted" to be working with Microsoft. "We have a unique opportunity to leverage the HMV brand…to establish a strong position in the newly emerging market for paid-for downloads," he added.

HMV launched a digital music download service with OD2 two years ago.