Dear Richard Branson: Siooma

You tried to take on El Jobso with your own online music store. And guess what? It crashed and burned and got ground up under the mighty wheels of iTunes. Little advice for you, Goldilocks — stick to runnning airlines and throwing water on talk show hosts, and leave the online music business to me.

Money quote from the Wired article: “News of the closure comes at an especially active time for the digital music market with high profile competitors like Sony also shuttering its online music store just last month. In an attempt to avoid a similar fate, MTV Networks and RealNetworks recently merged their online offerings, but with the increasing popularity of iTunes it’s looking like the market is only going to get smaller and pricing less competitive.”

Prediction: Within the next six months someone will accuse us of engaging in anti-competititve behavior. We’re already hearing rumblings about this. They’ll get Congress to hold hearings. Or get the DOJ to announce it’s looking into it. Or more likely they’ll start in Europe, where there’s already some momentum in this direction. The guys who bring the charge will know it’s horseshit. But they won’t care. They’ll get up there and act pious and pretend they really believe what they’re saying. Look for Rob Glazer of Real Networks and maybe some music industry types. Microsoft won’t participate but they’ll be enjoying it, trust me.

The guys complaining won’t really care if they win. The idea is just to slow us down — to distract us and hobble us and tie up our resources so our rivals can try to gain ground in online distribution. Why not? Worked on Microsoft, right? Difference is that we’re already anticipating it and have a plan in place to fight it off. At least I think I do. Note to self: Ask Jerry York what the plan is. (Photo: Burt Hammer, Men with Manes magazine.)