securitas writes "USA Today's Jefferson Graham reports that today Sony launched its online music download store, Sony Connect, to compete with Apple's leading iTunes service. The tracks use the MagicGate DRM copy-protection scheme and will work only with Sony Memory Stick-compatible devices including VAIO computers, CLIE PDAs, MiniDisc, CD and Walkman products. Sony will also launch a new line of 1-gigabyte Hi-MD disc players that support the service. Sony Connect's catalog sports 500,000 tracks from independent and major labels and songs sell for 99 cents each or $10 per album. The service uses Sony's SonicStage software and works with Windows 98SE-XP PCs only. It is only available in the USA until the planned European launch in June. That's a whole lot of restrictions in an already-fragmented market. More at The Register and The Age."