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HP Businesses Handhelds Apple Hardware

HP Working With Apple To Add WMA Support To iPod 840

Posted by timothy
from the wmhammo dept.
iPod Afficianado writes to a short piece at Connected Home magazine in which Paul Thurrott "is quoted as saying that HP's blockbuster deal with Apple will have one exciting side effect. The company will be working with Apple to add support for Microsoft's superior Windows Media Audio (WMA) format to the iPod by mid-year."
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HP Working With Apple To Add WMA Support To iPod

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  • Superior? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Squareball (523165) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:21PM (#7949070)
    Superior??? WHAT??? WMA??? Oh god! Leave it to Paul.
    • Re:Superior? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:23PM (#7949101)
      Superior to unencrypted audio (from a record company's point of view).
    • Re:Superior? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Logicdisorder (686635)
      There are some people at HP that need to get off the pipe. Fuck WMA, it is crap, total crap. I thought Apple would have told them to get stuffed. Wishful thinking here - they should get OGG support going on the iPod. That is the main reason I will not get one.
    • Re:Superior? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@gmai ... m minus language> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @11:11PM (#7949488) Homepage Journal
      The "WMA superior" troll is not the only thing that stinks here. This is being reported by "Connected Home Mag" which I've never heard of before. It also states that "onlookers were surprised". Surprised where? At the recent Apple conference? We didn't hear it there. At an HP conference? Why hasn't anyone else picked up the story? I think this article is a load of B.S. At least until I see an official announcement from HP or Apple.

  • DRM? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stefanmi (699755) * on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:21PM (#7949071)
    WMA is supported on more devices and players than Apple's AAC (w/DRM) and the iPod. BUT WMA support is IRRELEVANT if the Digital Restrictions Management that infests Microsoft products doesn't allow me to play it anywhere else anyway. I once had a free offer to download WMA files from some music service and found that once the files were copied to any other computer, they were useless anyway. Copying to a player which did play WMAs was fruitless as well. So the DRM (remember it's Digital RESTRICTIONS Management) is the overriding limiting factor, and not whether WMA is supported or not. All the other online music services are music RENTAL right? If so, I won't participate regardless of the format. Microsoft's argument is irrelevant until the WMA-supporting music services offer more lenient restrictions. I don't want my music to stop after I stop paying $19/month, I don't wanna have to worry if I bought the correct license to burn to CD for every single track I buy!
    • Re:DRM? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Let's face it. No matter what Jobs says about the iTunes store being there *just* to boost iPod sales, it's fales. iTunes is a tour de force in the online world right now. The imitators out there suck. Well, some are really cool -- but they don't have even a fraction of the sales that iTunes does. iTunes right now holds a stranglehold on the online music buying industry.

      The thing is that you get AAC only....that limits things. So, Apple can either let iTunes die in a decade or so (being generous here
      • Re:DRM? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by TotallyUseless (157895) <tot@@@mac...com> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @11:21PM (#7949545) Homepage Journal
        Do you know the difference between the iPod, and the iTunes Music Store? The iPod is the only thing listed as getting .WMA support. I would imagine the Store will continue to sell music in AAC format for the forseeable future.
      • Re:DRM? (Score:5, Informative)

        by zurab (188064) on Monday January 12, 2004 @02:19AM (#7950356)
        This is just expanding iTunes into a product who's viability isn't tied solely to the iPod's success. Ogg and mp3 are out because they don't have DRM, but WMA is in because it does. Simple as that.


        It is iPod getting WMA support, as others already stated.

        But beyond that, I thought this was discussed several times already in response to previous related stories. First of all, iPods fully support MP3 format, so MP3 is in no way "out" and WMA "in." That's pure nonsense. Second, you can add encryption and DRM to any compression method with relatively same level of effort. There is nothing inherent in AAC or WMA that they "support" DRM and Vorbis and MP3 don't. Any of those streams can be encrypted and wrapped around with their respective containers. No DRM for Vorbis? Bullshit! A simple googling would show you otherwise [sidespace.com].

        So, moderators, stop moderating this trolling as insightful. If you don't know what you are moderating, then either go find out, or move on to the next post.
  • Superior? (Score:4, Funny)

    by neonstz (79215) * on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:21PM (#7949078) Homepage
    ...support for Microsoft's superior Windows Media Audio...

    Superior? That's a new one.

  • by Esteanil (710082) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:22PM (#7949081) Homepage Journal
    "...superior Windows Media Audio (WMA) format" ? Superior to *what*, did you say? .wav?
  • too easy (Score:4, Funny)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) * <{mrpuffypants} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:22PM (#7949082)

    Microsoft's superior Windows Media Audio

    ....too easy, I pass.
  • stupid formats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seanadams.com (463190) * on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:23PM (#7949094) Homepage
    first of all - superior to what?

    secondly: I've had it with the codec wars. Let's let the big music/hardware/software companies keep duking it out and pissing away their resources fighting over mp3/aac/wma. Personally I'm re-ripping all my CDs once and for all to FLAC. If a better lossless codec comes along later, all I have to do is batch process them all and save some space. No worries about finding a new original to avoid lossy reencoding.

    As far as my ears can tell, there is no appreciable difference between ANY of the lossy codecs about 192kbps. But they all seem to come with DRM these days, and that's just anacceptable.
    • by jcsehak (559709) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:44PM (#7949277) Homepage
      first of all - superior to what?

      1. A kick in the head.
      2. Finding your girlfriend in bed with those twins that ride tiny motorcycles and hold the guiness record for the world's fattest men.
      3. Poop.
      4. Cleaning all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station, but only if all you had was a toothbrush.
      5. Contracting one of those tiny fish parasites that swims up your stream of urine if you're peeing into the Amazon and lays eggs in your joystick.
      6. Working in sales.

      the list goes on...

      As for your other part, AAC isn't strictly DRM. It's mp4, with the ability to slap DRM on it when it's made. A normal AAC extension is ".m4a," and a DRM one is ".m4p." I'm guessing they stand for "Mp4 Aac" and "Mp4 Protected."

      I just ripped nearly all my CD's to 192 AAC. The general consensus seems to be that the sound quality is indistinguishable from the CD, and damned if I can tell a difference.
    • by justMichael (606509) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:45PM (#7949284) Homepage
      Rip to FLAC.

      Then use this [sourceforge.net] to encode to the codec of the week on the fly.

      Yeah it takes more space, but gigs are cheaper than time (my time at least).
  • Superior... (Score:4, Funny)

    by jmv (93421) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:23PM (#7949099) Homepage
    Microsoft's superior Windows Media Audio

    Will it also run on Microsoft's superior operating system so it can benefit from superior crashes and viruses?
  • Not sure. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:25PM (#7949117)
    I'm not sure, but it looks like the article says WMA is superior.

    Correct me if I misread it, though. Nobody in the comments seems to have anything to say on it.

    - foad
    • by r00zky (622648)
      Since it doesn't mentions what it is superior to, i'll concede the benefit of doubt in case it was being compared with the internal pc-speaker.
  • by ghettoboy22 (723339) * <scott.a.johnson@gmail.com> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:26PM (#7949124) Homepage
    I'd like to see this WMA news confirmed by a few more sources - until then I'll definatly be taking this with a grain of salt. If true however, I guess the only thing I could say is I sure hope Jobs knows what's he's doing. If he goes and supports WMA, it wouldn't be too unreasonable to think the RIAA would want the iTMS to switch to the more restrictive WMA DRM, rather than the AAC I currently favor. If the iPod is going to support WMA, it would have to support the more-restrictive DRM as well.

    From a pure "bottom-line" viewpoint, it would mean a big boost to iPod sales, as those people who's entire library is WMA, or even people who use "other" online music services can now enjoy the beauty that is iPod. While not a bad thing, it's still diluting the iPod brand IMHO.

    I think I'd rather see the iPod stay AAC only.
    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:41PM (#7949252)
      I don't believe for one moment that he did. The only source is Paul Thurrott on winnetmag.com. He is a anti-Apple, pro-Microsoft commentator who's shown zero respect for the truth in the past. Indeed the "superior" reference rather gives that away doesn't it. Actually, did I say commentator? I meant troll.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:26PM (#7949127)
    I, for one, welcome our newly superior WMA overlords.
  • by Saxton (34078) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:26PM (#7949129) Homepage
    I don't think this is far fetched: WMA on iPods. If there's WMA on iPods, then there's WMA in iTunes. If there's WMA in iTunes, then there's WMA in QuickTime.

    Maybe HP will go off on their own branch... but maybe not... just a thought.

    -Aaron
  • by Jim_Hawkins (649847) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:27PM (#7949133)
    Okay. Yes. I realize the guy said that WMA is suprerior. Now, I do have to say that I have recently been playing around with WMA files a bit.

    1.) 64-bit WMAs do have a little less quality than 128-bit encodings of MP3's. However, because 64 is half the encoding of 128, this is only to be expected. However, unless you're specifically listening to it, you may never notice it.

    2.) The WMAs are smaller in file size (even at the same bit encoding). This is nice. Especially if you plan to put the songs on some sort of MP3 player with limited memory.

    3.) Yeah. The DRM thing sucks. I totally agree. This is why I chose not to go with WMAs in the end. (I was considiring converting my MP3s over.)

    WMAs are not all bad. In fact, they do even have good qualities. But, the DRM overrides any benefit that they may have.
  • by squarooticus (5092) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:27PM (#7949134) Homepage
    Yes, I'm sure I will get plenty of replies stating that Vorbis support doesn't matter. Well, sucks for Apple: they're not getting my $400 because they don't support Ogg Vorbis, the format in which my 1,200 CD's/14,000 tracks are all encoded in. But these are the choices one must make, and they've made the calculation that they can do without Vorbis users' money. Time will tell whether this is a good calculation or not.
    • by Mononoke (88668) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:41PM (#7949243) Homepage Journal
      Well, sucks for Apple: they're not getting my $400 because they don't support Ogg Vorbis, the format in which my 1,200 CD's/14,000 tracks are all encoded in.
      Well, sucks for Apple: they're not getting my $400 because they don't support Vinyl, the format in which my 1,200 LP's/14,000 tracks are all pressed in.

      Somehow, I don't think Apple will miss the money.

    • by matastas (547484) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:41PM (#7949249)
      So, I gotta ask: how many people outside the open-source/Slashdot community are really aware of Ogg? A dozen? Twenty, maybe?

      Look, my parents can barely program the VCR, much less decide between audio codecs, and they're typically technologies buyers. They may not get the hardcore geek sale, but they'll get The Masses, and that's where the money is. DRM will give them a backlash, yes, but the codec wars are not fought in the Best Buy crowd. They're fought here. And frankly, we're about the only ones who give a damn.

      Give The Masses something that's portable, sounds like a CD, and is flexible, and they'll buy it. Argue with them over open source vs. licensed and bitrates and OHMYGODMYHEADEXPLODED.

      You get the picture.
    • Considering 99% of the 70+ million people out there with digital copies of their songs in WMV, or MP3 have never heard of OGG, I'd bet the loss of you, or the rest of that one percent doesn't concern anyone at Apple in the slightest.

      I had almost all my CDs ripped as OGG files five years ago. It was a moral thing, a statement by myself to the world that frankly didn't give a crap. I eventually took the time and re-ripped everything to MP3. Sure the files were bigger, but storage was a lot cheaper. And I can
    • by greygent (523713) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:45PM (#7949291) Homepage
      Jesus, so don't buy an iPod. The rest of the world uses the MP3 format, so that's what Apple supports.

      You shouldn't have picked some smalltime format to encode everything in. It doesn't make good financial sense to support every little "eleet" latest fad format that the relatively small population of Linux geeks whine about this week. Next week, it'll be "GNU KewlAudio" or something.

      Apple has heard you and they obviously don't care (as Ogg Vorbis support still isn't there). So, buy something else and stop whining.
  • by boatboy (549643) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:27PM (#7949136) Homepage
    ...Sony also announced today that it's newest CD player will support the superior 8-track and Vinyl formats. In addition, plans are underway to scrap the existing DVD line of products for the ultra-lo definition VHS format.
    • Well, you are right about vinyl being the ultimate format. Distributing an analog medium in digital format will always yeild lossless data. With records, you get the original analog master, which sounds amazing. Anyone who has every listed to a record on a high quality sound system will tell you they are amazed at how incredibly lifelike the sound is, myself included.

      It is just too bad that records have to be so big and the very fact that you listen to them degrades their quality overtime.
      • Re:In other news... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Hoser McMoose (202552) on Monday January 12, 2004 @12:47AM (#7949979)
        Records often sound good, but it's not because the quality of the medium is good. In fact, it's just the opposite. Many people like the distortion added by vynal records, and most older music was written with the intention that such distortion would be added in. When you listen to the music on a CD with no distortion, it just doesn't sound as good because the original analog was mixed with the intention of getting some distortion on playback.

        Sure, encoding to digital will lose you some data, and CDs aren't ideal. The use of a linear codec instead of a logrithmic one seems to me to be it's biggest mistake (this causes some problems at low volumes, which isn't exactly a strong-point for records either).

        Most people who think vinyl is a better medium than CDs are under the mistaken belief that a) CD's can not reproduce an analog signal of an exact frequency (they can, up to their 1/2 the sampling frequency of 44.1KHz, ie 0 to 22.05KHz), or b) that the best records and sound system CAN exactly reproduce the amplitude of the sound wave (the signal to noise ratio of even the very best records and sound systems is not as large as the dynamic range of a CD).

        Of course, as mentioned above, a more exact reproduction of the original does not always equate a better "sounding" copy.
  • by feldsteins (313201) <{scott} {at} {scottfeldstein.net}> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:29PM (#7949158) Homepage
    So does that mean iTunes will support WMA? I doubt it. Does it mean the iPod or iTunes will be able to play the particular flavor of DRM used in online music stores using WMA? I rather doubt that too. So what exactly does this get anyone?

    And who would want to use WMA in iTunes or on your iPod, unless you were at least going to be able to play a competitor music store's goods.

    And why on earth would Apple agree to opening up the iTunes/iPod combo to someone elses store?
    • Apple doesn't make much money, if any, off of iTunes. They pretty much break even after paying off bandwidth costs and management fees. When it comes down to it they make the most money off the iPod which sells for a lot more than what it costs to make. If Apple could allow the playing of WMA files on the iPod they would have far more people purchasing the iPod; because, to tell you the truth the iTunes music store is pretty limited in size. I'm sure some of the other music sites out there have different co
  • They promote an alternative to WMA in the AAC format, and it seems that incorporating WMA support into the iPod would only hurt iTunes Music Store, since many of its competitors sell WMA files.

    I wonder if WMA will be available only on HP's version of the iPod, and if so, will HP's device support the Macintosh?
  • Hey, (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:34PM (#7949186)
    I heard of this new audio codec called Ogg Vorbis. Is there any more information about it? I'm suprised no one has mentioned it in this thread yet.
  • by inkswamp (233692) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:36PM (#7949203)

    I thought laying flamebait in the article summaries died with the end of the "but they ruin it all by having a one button mouse" type posts. Anyway, I'm too tired to make a logical argument against it (and many others have done already) so I'll just fall back on an oldie but a goodie from Usenet. Come along kids... it'll be a trip down memory lane.

    Drum roll, please...

    The company will be working with Apple to add support for Microsoft's superior Windows Media Audio

    You misspelled "crappy."

    Ba-dum bum!

    (Raucous laughter)

    Thank you. Thank you. Thanks so much. I'm here 'til Thursday.

  • First of all.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:42PM (#7949256)
    HP is definitely on my shit list after Carly's little speech: http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/34804.html

    Secondly, another DRM silliness to fiddle with? No thanks. I'm about to stop buying anything produced by Big Music and Big Film.

  • Probably just on HP (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LinuxInDallas (73952) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:45PM (#7949292)
    I would imagine that only the HP model would support WMA. After all, if Apple really wanted to put that feature into the ipod it would have already. It's not like the engineers at Apple aren't capable of it. After all the kick-ass work they have done on that device, adding WMA would be a walk in the park I would think.

    As a side note, I wonder if the decoder on the ipod is in software or on an ASIC (for lower power). If on an ASIC then the WMA decoder would be as well. Maybe that's why HP is involved, fronting the money for a new ASIC that supports both.

    In any case, I would almost bet money the Apple version of the ipod is AAC excusively.

    That PR page at Apple's site we saw posted on Slashdot a couple days ago had Steve Jobs touting about how great this was since it would mean more customers for the iTunes store. Wouldn't WMA support hurt that? Maybe Apple will give in and have an option on their site: either download the AAC or WMA. Hmmmmm.
  • by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:47PM (#7949306)
    How is this really all that unusual? What if Apple released a WinCE version of Quicktime player that let you play Quicktime videos on an HP iPaq? But that iPaq can also play WMV files, so is this smart or stupid of Apple?

    I would say smart, because now they have another platform for their content. So isn't the same true for audio? Isn't of looking at it as "Apple is letting WMA infiltrate their iPod!" why isn't it "Apple has expanded AAC to another major portable brand."? You don't think HP has the resources to design their own player? If they had, it would almost assuredly be using Microsoft blessed DRM hobby kit known as WMA. But then HP would need to make decent player software, and find a partner to provide content...by partnering with Apple, they are piggybacking on the success of the existing iTunes client and store. Meanwhile Apple now is selling a player every time someone buys an iPod or the HP version and now has a new customer for iTMS either way.

    Apple gets a larger audience used to AAC and iTMS which will someday make a profit, no doubt about it. Maybe right now its a loss-leader to sell iPods, but what do you think will happen next year when music companies post their quarterly reports showing the profits from this major new (and free) income stream? What happens when Apple goes back to renew the contract and says "you know this free money pouring in? Well, you're going to settle for $.30 or we start giving priority placement to indie labels" Not to mention, with the release of GarageBand, Apple is about one puzzle piece away from becoming a completely end-to-end music enterprise, starting with a dude running GarageBand and ending with a thousand people clicking "Buy It Now" on iTMS.

    - JoeShmoe
    .
    • by Selecter (677480) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @11:10PM (#7949478)
      Mr. Shmoe is th only poster I have read so far on this topic that

      A: makes any sense at all.

      B: gets the big picture.

      it's all about payback time. Apple lost the battle last time around, and this time they are gonna make Microsoft eat shit. It's all about the player itself and the music store, not what damned format the music is in.

      When the iPod plays wma files, any leverage MS had is gone. iPod will GAIN market share, not lose it. It's the op system war all over again, only Apple is fighting the battle smartly this time and using it's competition's strengths to add to it's own, on it's own terms.

      One iPod to rule them all. :)

  • The explanation... (Score:5, Informative)

    by EduardoFonseca (703176) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:47PM (#7949315) Homepage
    Ah... the facts...

    Paul Thurrott is the news editor for Windows & .NET Magazine. He writes a weekly editorial for Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE (http://www.win2000mag.net/email) and writes a daily Windows news and information newsletter called WinInfo Daily UPDATE (http://www.wininformant.com).

    from http://www.connectedhomemag.com/Articles/Index.cfm ?AuthorID=879
  • exciting? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chunkwhite86 (593696) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:52PM (#7949355)
    HP's blockbuster deal with Apple will have one exciting side effect. The company will be working with Apple to add support for Microsoft's superior Windows Media Audio

    I'm not sure how "exciting" this is to the average slashdotter. It doesn't mean jack to me, considering all my music is in either MP3 or OGG.

    I think that would make a good /. poll: What format do you keep the majority of your music in?
    - MP3
    - WMA
    - AAC
    - OGG
    - CowboyNeal just sings to me

    Thoughts?
  • No no no, you guys are taking the word "Superior" out of context. This is understandable, since he has a few typos. He didn't mean "Superior Quality". Far from it.

    He clearly meant "Superior" as in:

    "Superior Officer", you know... the guy at boot camp who tells you to clean his boots with your tounge or he'll kick your ass.

    "Mother Superior", the lady who wacks your knuckles with her yardstick and put's soap in your mouth for speaking out of turn.

    "Superior", as in "above being affected or influenced; indifferent or immune" [reference.com] BY THE LAW.

    They just think they're SOOOOOO superior...
  • by jonesvery (121897) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:54PM (#7949367) Homepage Journal

    It's technically a bit offtopic, but apparently MS was taken by surprise by the HP/Apple announcement, and wasn't able to put together a good spin quickly enough. The snip below is from a NY Times article [nytimes.com]:

    Thursday the company appeared unprepared for the Apple-Hewlett agreement, which clearly stung Microsoft executives. They said the agreement would limit choice and harm consumers.

    "Windows is about choice, you can mix and match all of this stuff," said David Fester, general manager of Microsoft's Windows digital media division. "We believe you should have the same choice when it comes to music services."

    Priceless... :)

  • by skintigh2 (456496) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @10:56PM (#7949382)
    Superior number of artifacts even at the highest "quality" setting, superior amount of information lost, superior amount of annoyance to a listener with any amount of hearing, superior at convincing people to stick with CDs, etc. etc. etc.
  • Licensing Issues (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CatPieMan (460995) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @11:00PM (#7949399)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but, doesn't MS make a lot of money by licensing the WMA technology to other companies (DVD players, Dell [for the jukebox], etc)?

    So, if this were to be true, every sale of an iPod would generate revenue for MS.

    Somehow I don't think that apple would really let this happen -- at least not to Apple branded models.

    -CPM
  • by ProtonMotiveForce (267027) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @11:07PM (#7949460)
    Who wants to bet that over 90% of the replies blather about "Superior?!"?

    Get a grip. WMA has been proven time and again to be one of the best codecs in both overall sound and in efficiency (sound per bitrate). This is a simple fact.

    Now, next issue - DRM. It's here to stay and I don't have a problem as long as the restrictions are reasonable. If they're not - it's an easy solution. Don't use the service.

    Finally, Ogg Vorbis. OK - we get it, it's a good codec. Big freaking deal. It's _never_ going to storm the market. It's not even that much better than WMA - most people would be extremely sensitive to hear any difference.

    Oh - and WMA keeps improving. I'd take a $200 bet that in 2 years the latest WMA codecs will sound as good or better than Ogg Vorbis. And then why would anyone use OV?

    You're basically marginalizing yourself if you use anything other than MP3, WMA, or AAC.
    • by evilviper (135110) on Monday January 12, 2004 @04:49AM (#7950809) Journal
      Get a grip. WMA has been proven time and again to be one of the best codecs in both overall sound and in efficiency (sound per bitrate). This is a simple fact.


      Feel free to point us to ample data that proves your "simple fact."

      It's _never_ going to storm the market.


      Yes, and 640K will be enough for anybody, and there's a market for about a dozen computers in the world. Your prediction is just that, and they are proved wrong all the time... Even the best are commonly wrong, and I don't think you qualify for that status.

      - most people would be extremely sensitive to hear any difference.

      Not true... Encode a WMA and an Ogg at 4Kbps (that's not a typo) and any idiot could tell the difference.

      Yes, at large bitrates the two might be indistinguisable to most people, but you could say the same thing about MP3s, or perhaps even MPEG1-layer 1/2. If you are going to limit yourself to 300+kbps, few people will hear any difference between any codecs, limiting yourself to a slightly smaller number is not a fair comparison.

      I'd take a $200 bet that in 2 years the latest WMA codecs will sound as good or better than Ogg Vorbis.

      Yes, in 2 years, whatever version WMA is up to, will be better than Ogg is right now... Ogg is constantly improving, and will continue to be better than WMA in 2 years.

      You're basically marginalizing yourself if you use anything other than MP3, WMA, or AAC.

      Every group is marginalized until they've gained critical mass. The early adopters of MP3 were marginalized (I was one of them)... The early adopters of CDs were marginalized... et al.
  • *rolls eyes* (Score:4, Informative)

    by demon (1039) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @11:45PM (#7949666)
    Hah. Gee, what a shock. Paul Thurrott whores himself out to Microsoft again. I'm SHOCKED, SHOCKED I say. He's only done it a few times before [winsupersite.com]... not so surprising that he should do it yet again. He's just a pro-MS troll who happens to get paid for it.
  • by myov (177946) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @11:50PM (#7949690)
    http://www.connectedhomemag.com/Articles/Index.cfm ?AuthorID=879 [connectedhomemag.com]

    Some highlights:
    • Jobs's Disappointing Macworld Keynote Address Makes Even Gates Look

      Lost amid all the hubbub of CES was the start of Macworld Conference & Expo, which opened Tuesday with an unexciting Steve Jobs keynote.

    • Will Apple Users Strike Back?

      Apple might have to face music of another kind in a class-action lawsuit that will likely be filed this month against the company in California.

    • Microsoft: Get the Facts About Linux

      Microsoft, the industry's 800-pound gorilla, has just launched an advertising campaign aimed directly at Linux's OSS solution.


    Positive MS articles, negative Apple/Linux articles.
  • by lost_n_mad (521867) on Sunday January 11, 2004 @11:56PM (#7949733)
    Has this "reporter" ever done one minute of research? 2 points alone kill his article.
    1. Jobs stated in the last conference call (look it up at apple.com), there is no need to work with #2 when they are #1. This was in response to weather or not the iPod would support WMA.
    2. Why would Apple allow HP to rebrand their player and gut their online store? Where is the profit? I know the argument of more iPod sales, but if that was all Apple really was after then why bother with the store in the first place? They could have spent that time and money making sure the iPod worked with every format known to man.
  • by mistert2 (672789) on Monday January 12, 2004 @12:12AM (#7949825) Journal
    OS x + Itunes 4 + ( software drop [illadvised.com] or mac os x hints [macosxhints.com] ) = Happy OGG Listener

    I use Amadeus II [hairersoft.com]for my music editing.

    I can't believe I can listen to the files in I-tunes, thanks slashdotters. I know one good thing that came out of this "news" article.

  • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Monday January 12, 2004 @12:49AM (#7949985)
    In regard to the 'superior' comment..

    Before more of you go off on a flamewar against poor old Paul - who is a paragon of virtue, by the way - I have taken the time to paste the definition of 'superior' here, and I have highlighted in italics the particular usage that I believe was intended, for the WMP format.

    Once you all read this I'm sure it will all make sense.

    superior

    \Su*pe"ri*or\, a. [L., compar. of superus being above, fr. super above, over: cf. F. sup['e]rieur. See Super-, and cf. Supreme.] 1. More elevated in place or position; higher; upper; as, the superior limb of the sun; the superior part of an image.

    2. Higher in rank or office; more exalted in dignity; as, a superior officer; a superior degree of nobility.

    3. Higher or greater in excellence; surpassing others in the greatness, or value of any quality; greater in quality or degree; as, a man of superior merit; or of superior bravery.

    4. Beyond the power or influence of; too great or firm to be subdued or affected by; -- with to.

    5. More comprehensive; as a term in classification; as, a genus is superior to a species.

    6. (Bot.) (a) Above the ovary; -- said of parts of the flower which, although normally below the ovary, adhere to it, and so appear to originate from its upper part; also of an ovary when the other floral organs are plainly below it in position, and free from it. (b) Belonging to the part of an axillary flower which is toward the main stem; posterior. (c) Pointing toward the apex of the fruit; ascending; -- said of the radicle.

    See? Very clear - the WMP format is an ovary attached to the AAC format, or something, and is just kind of generally flower-like.

  • by caferace (442) on Monday January 12, 2004 @12:57AM (#7950026) Homepage
    The author can be reached pretty easily [mailto].
  • by vnv (650942) on Monday January 12, 2004 @06:09AM (#7951059)
    Portable music players are in their infancy. There are over a billion PC's out there, yet merely a paltry few million music players have been sold.

    We've got many millions of new customers coming into the market which will drive new music players, new music formats, new music distribution systems, etc.

    So far all we've seen is the early adopters playing around with iTunes. By no means has iTunes "crossed the chasm". Once mainstream people really understand DRM music and how it is "resolutionally challenged" crippleware that sells for full price, there are likely going to be big changes in the online music world.

    By "crippleware" I mean that you, the buyer, cannot do what you want to do with it. That is why people are using funny workarounds like snagging the temp files from Toast so they can get the unencrypted versions of their songs.

    The rate of broadband adoption is slowing in the US. And for the most part, all affordable broadband is very low bandwidth compared to the rest of the world. So at least in the USA as disc-based music gets better and better (DVD-Audio, SACD), the value delivered by the disc will continue to improve vs. what is delivered via the wire.

    Finally, at least vs iTunes, actual CD's seem like they are cheaper and easier. You get full songs, no DRM, any/all formats, and to top it off... you get a readymade CD, already printed cover art, already printed track listings, and a jewelbox. All for just about the same price as iTunes, especially if you buy used CD's or Universal's new more affordable CDs.

    All in all, it is too early in the portable music player market to worry about the small moves that are being made today. WMA will never be popular in Asia, so it will never be a world standard. There is nothing to fear there. The RIAA-friendly abd special-interest friendly USA and EU are a different matter, though, where Microsoft can use their mu$cle to drive adoption of their format.
  • by Millennium (2451) on Monday January 12, 2004 @06:49AM (#7951165) Homepage
    Frankly, I'm at the point where I consider anything by him to be an attempt at astroturfing, nothing more.

    Seriously. Take a look at what the guy's done. He runs not one, but two of the major Windows "enthusiast" sites. Design elements on these two sites are so obviously taken from Microsoft that it's a miracle they haven't sued him... unless he is already on their payroll.

    I'd say it's time we stopped taking him seriously, were it not for one thing: he's Microsoft's most successful marketing tool ever, in that he's actually managed to garner some measure of respect. That makes him dangerous enough to watch, even if his arguments can be easily exposed for the marketing bunk that they are.
  • by caudley (632164) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:47AM (#7952544)

    At the end of a story on the HP-Apple deal, the WSJ reports 'Apple executives say their company has no plans to relent' on the subject of WMA. It also quotes Jobs as saying, in regard to Apples strong position in the player/download market, "I think that favors the largest player, which is us by a mile."

    Apple has no incentive to support WMA and every reason not to. If the iPod can play WMA, it becomes the defacto standard and AAC is dead.

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