It's back to the future as the tech and entertainment industries await an Apple versus Microsoft battle once again - this time for digital-music services.

Microsoft will begin its campaign to establish its multimedia software as the standard for digital-music distribution, based on its dominance of the operating systems market, with the launch of its own digital-music distribution service on Thursday, Associated Press reports.

Analyst Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research describes Apple's iTunes service as a "big threat" to Microsoft's dominance. The company is expected to attempt to drive traffic to its service using its massive MSN online presence.