Companies becoming involved in the digital entertainment market are seeking alternatives to Microsoft in their products.

Many are "maneuvering to make sure Microsoft doesn't dictate key technical standards for their industry, as it does the PC software business. They don't want to pay Microsoft a royalty on every device they sell, as computer manufacturers must do if they load their machines with Microsoft software," reports the Wall Street Journal.

Manufacturers of music players, mobile phones and other such gadgets are attempting to minimize Microsoft's clout by ensuring the products they build are compatible with software from other vendors, the report claims.

It cites iPod and TiVo as examples of two such products, and mentions the move by PC manufacturers to begin shipping and developing products that use the Linux OS.

"Everybody wants an alternative to Microsoft, even if Microsoft turns out to be their bread and butter," says Randy Komisar, a veteran Silicon Valley executive and TiVo board member said.

Establishing a firm foothold in these emerging markets is essential for Microsoft, the report claims, as it reacts to slower activity in its core business markets.