'Apple iPods are all full of stolen music'

Universal Music CEO hits out at Microsoft's rivals

The CEO of Universal Music has called owners of Apple iPods and other MP3 players thieves.

The story starts with Microsoft agreeing to share revenue from its Zune music player sales with record labels and artists. Forcing the issue was Universal Music Group (UMG), which is the only label named in the deal. UMG refused to license its music to the Microsoft Zune unless it could receive a percentage of the profits from each device sold, in addition to standard music licensing fees for downloads and subscriptions.

Trying to explain why UMG required Microsoft to pay a fee for each Zune sold, Doug Morris, CEO and chairman of UMG said: "These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it. So it's time to get paid for it."

Microsoft is working with all major and independent labels to establish similar revenue-sharing agreements. According to published reports, UMG is expected to receive more than $1 (53p) for each $249 (£132) Zune sold. UMG has confirmed that half of its takings from Zune sales will be shared equally among all its artists.