It's a funny thing, really. iTunes has somehow managed to become the world's largest seller of music in just seven years, yet it's easily one of the buggiest, most resource intensive and altogether unlikable pieces of software to ever come from the labs of Cupertino. From Microsoft's perspective, however, they're really just interested in the first bit, and in particular, why it wasn't able to take advantage of the market opportunity in the way Jobs and company did. Groklaw managed to dig up a handful of email chains that were made public after the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust litigation, and the content is nothing short of eye-opening. One particular snippet from Bill Gates was exceptionally juicy, as he noted (in a number of words) that Apple had somehow managed to "get a better licensing deal than anyone else has gotten for music." Jim Allchin's terse reply consisted of two statements, one of which was "we were smoked."

Frankly, this unearthing couldn't have come at a better time. With Mobile World Congress about to get going in Barcelona, we're waiting on pins and needles to see what kind of music innovation is being veiled in the purported Windows Mobile 7 introduction. If you'll recall, we already heard that many elements from the Zune HD interface would be making their way onto the mobile side, and there's hardly a better time to really give iTunes a run for its money than mid-February 2010. Dig into the links below for more on the 2003 revelation -- it's a hoot, we tell ya.