Ah, the beauty of competition. The term 'open secret' has been used several times in reference to the rumors of Microsoft creating our own version of a portable media player with all sorts of WiFi and Live connectivity goodness. The most interesting part:

To attract current iPod users Microsoft is going to let you download for free any songs you've already bought from the iTunes Music Store. They'll actually scan iTunes for purchased tracks and then automatically add those to your account. Microsoft will still have to pay the rights-holders for the songs, but they believe it'll be worth it to acquire converts to their new player.

That's an expensive proposition for Microsoft but one that will probably pay off handsomely in getting users to convert over. One of the major barriers in front of me that prevents switching away from my iPod is the hundreds of songs I've bought from iTunes over the years. Sure, I could use one of the numerous methods of ripping the DRM off and work around the problem but who wants to deal with that? This purchase conversion of iTunes music on a Microsoft-designed device would be sweeeet.