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No WMA for HP iPod 484

Posted by michael
from the acronym-soup dept.
finelinebob writes "In spite of Paul Thurrott's wishful thinking, Wired is reporting that HP will not support the WMA format in its version of the iPod. From the article, according to HP spokesperson Muffi Ghadial, "'We're not going to be supporting WMA for now ... We picked the service that was the most popular (Apple's iTunes Music Store). We could have chosen another format, but that would have created more confusion for our customers.' He added, 'Most customers don't care about the format they're downloading.'" Thurrott's singing a different tune lately, anyway...."
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No WMA for HP iPod

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  • by Eyah....TIMMY (642050) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:17PM (#7965414)
    I wonder if Microsoft is threatened HP to restrict the Windows and Office licenses if they made a player that could play WMA and ACC.

    Not too long ago, they were threatening Dell of not giving them Windows licenses if IE wasn't the only browser in new computers... here's a /. article around that subject [slashdot.org]. Well, I hope that's no surprise to anyone. Although M$ does make good products (and I don't mean to start a whole debate here) they have a tendency to use their monopoly to force products.

    I also wonder if Apple restricted HP from supporting WMA? Yes, Apple does these kind of things [chaosmint.com] too!

    Eh, a war of monopolies! They've just found common grounds to fight on...
    • by Fortunato_NC (736786) <verlinh75NO@SPAMmsn.com> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:22PM (#7965478) Homepage Journal
      It's HP licensing Apple's technology and manufacturing capability, not the other way around. Apple has the right to support whatever file formats it wants (and can pay license fees for, if appropriate). It also has the right to determine what formats WON'T be played on its devices.

      If HP wants to demand WMA support, and Apple doesn't want to budge, HP can spend the R&D dollars to build its own portable music player.

      This isn't a Bad Thing. This is a company acting in what it feels are its best interests.
      • according to some of the articles it says that Apple will be making the HP iPods with the blue/grey case, not licensing the technology out. It will effectively be the Apple iPod with a HP wrap. It's the same guts as the Apple model (even the Apple symbol on startup), and will work with the same accessories as the Apple one because it's the same form factor.
        Points to HP for bucking the trend and using standards instead of the Microsoft assigned format.
        • Points to HP for bucking the trend and using standards instead of the Microsoft assigned format.

          Oh come on. As the parent (or grandfather) says, this is a war of two monopolies. Neither one is using standards. I can't play iTunes files on my computer even though I have half a dozen players that will play, rip, and burn AAC files, because of Apple's DRM. I can't play them on my portable player either. DRM may be considered a necessary evil for these companies but it also means that all of these forma
          • by mikedaisey (413058) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @07:49PM (#7967913) Homepage
            "I can't play iTunes files on my computer even though I have half a dozen players that will play, rip, and burn AAC files, because of Apple's DRM."

            i think you are talking about ITMS files, and not the standards-compliant AAC files one can choose to rip your files into with iTunes. You see, I think it's important in discussions like this to be specific.
      • Nice attempt at spin control.

        If, and that's a big IF Apple is the reason for no WMA support on HP's iPod-like device. That's a really shitty thing to do.

        You're answering the wrong question. Sure Apple has the right to set whatever terms they like in their licensing, but the more important question is "Is it right" for them to restrict people like this?

        This isn't a Bad Thing. This is a company acting in what it feels are its best interests.

        And please tell me, what the fuck was it when Microsoft was thr
        • by JudgeFurious (455868) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @06:44PM (#7967157)
          I don't know, I can't think of a company more due for the wrong end of the shitty stick than Microsoft.

          And how "restricted" are the people really. It seems to me that both companies are pimping their own "standard" but a majority of devices out there support Microsofts standard PLUS mp3 or Apples standard PLUS mp3. Granted mp3 isn't a truly "open" standard either but it's at least non-aligned in this particular feud.

          So what's so restrictive. I'd feel more inclined to think it was restrictive if the iPod only played ACC.

          The clone manufacturers had a sweetheart deal that let them eat away Apple sales while in no way pushing the platform to greater market share.

          It was lousy Apple management that allowed that deal to happen (a bad idea, the time for licensing clones was long past) but it was Jobs who said basically "This isn't helping, it's hurting" and pulled the plug. Call the guy slime for keeping the company alive if you like. I don't see it though.
        • If you read the "findings of facts" against the microsoft corporation you would see how microsoft leveraged their os to do predatory business. It wasnt so much about the browser but more about locking out java, (java apps can eliminate the need for an os, just need a java capable browser on any os). Microsoft withholding their OS from IBM (an OEM manufacturer) during the dotcom era (by draconian certification procedures) had devestating effects on IBM's sales, and showed the industry what they (Microsoft) c
    • by nate1138 (325593) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:34PM (#7965606)
      Eh, a war of monopolies! They've just found common grounds to fight on...

      I do not think that word means what you think it means.

      Seriously, how do you figure apple as a monopoly on anything?
      • They're a monopoly on making cool-looking overpriced hardware ;)


        (Posts like this are like setting fire to your own Karma...)

  • the reason (Score:5, Funny)

    by commodoresloat (172735) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:17PM (#7965416)
    They didn't want to limit their customers' choices.
    • by hummer357 (545850) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:30PM (#7965573)
      wow...

      anybody actually read the first article?

      talk about being superfanboy! ;-)

      some quotes:
      - "Microsoft's superior Windows Media Audio format " (ehm... yeah)
      - "Portable Media Center Devices Will Blow You Away" (wha? no it won't!)
      - "Predictable Open-Source Advocates Decry Microsoft Anti-Linux Ads" (this on't a bit like those old beatles records... play it backwards, and you get the *real* hidden message!)

      and this one is the best of the lot:
      - "Jobs's Disappointing Macworld Keynote Address Makes Even Gates Look Good"
      (okay, so maybe Jobs is boring, he always is, but making Gates LOOK GOOD? Paul? ya smokin' crack?)

      well,

      h357
  • Unfortunate (Score:2, Interesting)

    by exhilaration (587191)
    HP appears to be more interested in iTunes than the iPod. They could radically expand their reach if they supported WMA and the various online music stores that are popping up.
    • Re:Unfortunate (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They could radically expand their reach if they supported WMA and the various online music stores that are popping up.

      ....or they could adopt a standard that has a better chance of being implemented on most/all consumer level operating systems (e.g. WMA w/DRM for Linux? never). HP also gets the benefit of working with a DRM system that the majority seem to prefer. I don't see how this is unfortunate at all...but I'm sure someone will reply with a different view!
    • Re:Unfortunate (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Englabenny (625607)
      Are you sure about that? Supporting WMA playback is one thing. Supporting each different DRM version of WMA from each of the different (and in comparison very small) music stores is completely a different thing.
    • Re:Unfortunate (Score:4, Interesting)

      by shotfeel (235240) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:05PM (#7965962)
      They could radically expand their reach if they supported WMA and the various online music stores that are popping up.

      That's exactly what HP has done. They've actually expanded support and given users an additional choice. You can use what came with Windows to handle all the WMA stuff (songs, online stores, portable music players) just like all the other PC makers, or you can also choose to use iTunes and the iTMS and an iPod -the industry leaders at present.

      I really don't understand how HP adding iTunes and selling a rebranded iPod can possibly be said to limit choices.
  • But... (Score:5, Funny)

    by paul248 (536459) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:17PM (#7965419) Homepage
    Jeez, whatever happened to WMA being superior?
    • Re:But... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by krog (25663)
      In my experience AAC is superior to WMA (and they're both superior to MP3). Where the comment in the /. article of a few days ago about the "superior WMA format" came from, I'll never know (but I'm guessing Redmond).
      • Re:But... (Score:2, Informative)

        by Fuzzle (590327)
        It came from Paul Thurrott [winnetmag.com].

        Exclusive: HP Working to Get WMA on iPod
        HP's blockbuster deal with Apple will have one exciting side effect, I discovered today. 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. You heard it here first.

        and apparently you heard wrong!

    • Re:But... (Score:3, Funny)

      by phalse phace (454635)
      Maybe WMA is so superior that HP (and Apple) realized that they weren't worthy enough to support the format on the iPods, so they scrapped their plans.
  • Paul Thurrott (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Triumph The Insult C (586706) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:19PM (#7965437) Homepage Journal
    is also *ONE* very biased person

    who gives a shit what he thinks? not me, probably not you. obviously not apple and hp. big whoop
    • Re:Paul Thurrott (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RoLi (141856) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:33PM (#7966366)
      is also *ONE* very biased person

      Reading his article where he parrots everything that Microsoft feeds him, I don't think he is biased because you would need an opinion and some traces of personality (both missing in this case) to be biased.

      He's just an extension of MSFT-marketing.

  • Nice for Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AkaXakA (695610) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:19PM (#7965443) Homepage
    I guess that either Apple doesn't actually wants wma on iPod themselves (for business/tech reasons) or, they've been forced to by a certain company which have expressed their dislike of the plan [slashdot.org]. Either way, there isn't all that much music in wma format anyway online, except other than the iTMS rivals stores...(!)
  • Kinda Dupe (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FortKnox (169099)
    From just a few slashdot articles ago:
    MS unhappy with HP [slashdot.org]. Either HP is really sticking it to MS, or MS is sticking it to HP. Either way, it isn't surprising.
  • AAC vs WMA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Azadre (632442) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:20PM (#7965454)
    I am not meaning to sound redundant, but isn't AAC an actual standard while WMA is propietary to XP? Why is WMA more popular by Windows users if AAC can do the same drm wise and in a majority of cases sounds better?
    • Re:AAC vs WMA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by happyfrogcow (708359) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:26PM (#7965514)
      I am not meaning to sound redundant, but isn't AAC an actual standard while WMA is propietary to XP? Why is WMA more popular by Windows users if AAC can do the same drm wise and in a majority of cases sounds better?

      because Microsoft is using its monopolistic hold on the desktop operating system sector to push it's other less superior products?
      • Re:AAC vs WMA (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kenja (541830)
        So when my non Microsoft audio player holds twice as many songs when I use WMA (compressed using a non microsoft application) then when I use MP3 with no noticable diference in quality, how is that Microsoft "using its monopolistic hold on the desktop operating system sector to push it's other less superior products"?
        • You are misinformed (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:04PM (#7965947)
          At a given bit-rate, every compressed/encoded song will be roughly the same size.

          Now, what you're doing is encoding it at a lower bit-rate (probably an ear-numbing 64kb), and saying "Hell, *I* don't hear a difference its fine".

          If you're happy at 64kb, congratulations...you have tin ears and that's a good thing because you'll fit four times as many songs on your player as a discerning person.

          But WMA can't compress *better*. Its a physical impossibility.
          • by Kenja (541830)
            bitrates are not equal between codecs. Encode the same source to 64kb MP3 and 64kb WMA/ACC and the MP3 loses. Most players support WMA while far fewer support ACC. For solid state players, using a codec that saves space makes a lot of sense.
            • by sl3xd (111641) *
              No, the bitrates are in fact equal. There is in fact the same amount of data (at least approximately). The reason why MP3 sounds 'worse' is because some of the data is 'wasted' so to speak because less was understood about human perception of sound when MP3 was written compared to newer codecs. In other words, the newer generation of codecs (OGG, AAC, WMA) manage to make those bits more meaningful to the human ear than MP3 does. (Note, that an important part of this is the human ear; not a microphone or
    • Re:AAC vs WMA (Score:3, Informative)

      I am not meaning to sound redundant, but isn't AAC an actual standard while WMA is propietary to XP?

      They are both proprietary formats. AAC is owned by Dolby, WMA by Microsoft. You want to make an encoder or decoder for either, you need to get out the checkbook and write a big check (bigger for AAC than WMA).

      AAC is available on Mac and Windows. WMA is available on Mac and Windows.

      As far as quality goes, in pretty much every blind ABX study published, they come out about the same. WMA is usually sli

  • by Kethinov (636034) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:20PM (#7965458) Homepage Journal
    I'm so tired of the WMA format. It's like a god damned virus. Just the other day I was explaining the concept of a CD MP3 player to someone I know and when he showed me his digital music collection, it was all in WMA. Now of course it's easily converted, but that's one extra thing I'll have to show him how to do. MP3 is the standard, nothing else should be supported, if only for clarity and simplicity reasons! If anything else is ever supported, it should be OGG because OGG is essentially open source MP3.
    • by radish (98371) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:29PM (#7965548) Homepage
      I'm so tired of the Linux operating system. It's like a god damned virus. Just the other day I was explaining the concept of a USB webcam to someone I know and when he showed me his PC, it was running Linux. Now of course it's easily converted, but that's one extra thing I'll have to show him how to do. Windows is the standard, nothing else should be supported, if only for clarity and simplicity reasons!

      Understand this: Monopolies suck. Monocultures suck.
      • Your analogy is flawed. MP3 is superior to WMA in every way and it's used by more people. Whereas Windows is not superior to Linux in any way despite being used by more people.
        • by radish (98371) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:41PM (#7965705) Homepage
          Crap. WMA may have DRM junk but at the same bitrate it sounds better than MP3. Numerous tests in addition to many people's ears (mine included) have proven this. When it comes to sound formats, sound quality is an important distinguishing characteristic in my book. Which is not to say I'm a great fan of WMA, I prefer Vorbis which sounds pretty similar to WMA, or even AAC (though the DRM'd version is just Apple's take on WMA). But MP3's ONLY advantage is that it's the lowest common denominator.

          Still, it worked for GIF I guess.
    • by ratamacue (593855) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:31PM (#7965576)
      Easily converted? The last thing your friend needs to do is convert from one lossy format to another. If anything, that will convince him that WMA was superior all along.
    • Yeah, I completely agree. WTF is with these companies who insist on pushing their own format. It's not like any of these formats are vastly superior to the others. All it does is end up fracturing the market and frustrating the users. But then again, that's human nature...witness our own government in action. The phrase "divide and conquer" comes to mind.

      M
    • I'm so tired of the WMA format. It's like a god damned virus. Just the other day I was explaining the concept of a CD MP3 player to someone I know and when he showed me his digital music collection, it was all in WMA

      Well, considering that most CD MP3 players can play WMA, how is this a problem him?

    • by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:00PM (#7965901) Homepage
      I'm so tired of the WMA format. It's like a god damned virus.

      It's a Microsoft thing so I don't like it.

      was explaining the concept of a CD MP3 player to someone I know and when he showed me his digital music collection, it was all in WMA

      And this is a problem because? Your friend obviously ripped his CD collection himself. Are you angry because he used WMP to do it or because he didn't just download one of the 13 million free rippers capable of writing MP3 instead? Are you pissed because he's stupid? Nothing forces you to use WMA or WMP for that matter - the fact that it ships with Windows is besides the point. CDex runs just fine on Windows, as far as I can tell. If anything it's lack of information, yes? And this gets your panties all in a bunch?

      MP3 is the standard, nothing else should be supported, if only for clarity and simplicity reasons!

      You are so right. We should also all use JPEG, because that's the One True Graphics Format. Or was it PNG? Or TGA? Or GIF? Hmmmmm.

      See, here's the thing: WMA is a choice. If you're not smart enough to figure out that you can rip your music to something else then that's just too bad. People that push things like OGG champion choice - is this a case of "yes well, but that's not the choice we like"?

      If anything else is ever supported, it should be OGG because OGG is essentially open source MP3

      No, because that would cause confusion. You just said that.

      I won't even go into the benchmarks that have proven WMA is better than MP3 at lower bitrates for most audio uses, or the fact that it's a far better streaming format than MP3. That would be besides the point. I don't like WMA or otherwise use it, but just to give you an example: if I had a player with a smallish 5 or 6GB drive that supported WMA I'd probably encode my collection to it at lower bitrates to fit more songs into the thing, and still get pretty much the same audio quality. That's called choice. Look it up.

  • Easily confused (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JThundley (631154) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:21PM (#7965461) Homepage
    I'm glad they aren't including wma. The more you ignore it, the more it'll die. Ogg support would be nice, but I guess that won't happen.

    We could have chosen another format, but that would have created more confusion for our customers.
    So I guess that proves that Apple's customers are confused easily :)
    • Re:Easily confused (Score:4, Insightful)

      by plj (673710) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:43PM (#7965729)
      The article also mentions: "Most customers don't care about the format they're downloading."

      This is blatant BS. Most customer's would prefer non-DRMed MP3s, but due to one specific industry cartel [riaa.com] there won't be any supply to meet that demand (except P2P).
      • Re:Easily confused (Score:5, Insightful)

        by viktor (11866) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:17PM (#7966151) Homepage
        Most customer's would prefer non-DRMed MP3s

        That's cute. How many customers knows what DRM even means? Although trying our best to avoid seeing it, the world is actually made up of non-geeks. We're the exception to the norm, not them. They are "most customers", not us.

        If people actually knew exactly what DRM meant, and if they actually had a choice, then surely they'd choose files without DRM. But MP3 or WMA? They don't give a damn. They just want to listen to the music. 95% of them use Windows, 95% of them can listen to either.

        It's just like most people actually do not care exactly what kind of a motor is in the car they're driving - they just want it to look nice on the outside, accelerate fast and sound cool (and, if they're Volvo-owners, to be safe to drive in). And that's just the way it must be.

        After all, if people were informed enough, more people would use Mac (because unlike Windows, Mac OS X is actually pretty easy to use, and doesn't break down on you). People don't know. They just expect computers to require rebooting, reinstalling drivers and calling tech-support, because "that's how computers are". In the same way they just expect not to be able to do just about anything with files bought online, apart from somewhere close to the things that Apple lets them do.

  • by Shisha (145964) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:21PM (#7965467) Homepage
    In all honesty I don't really care whether its AAC or WMA. I prefer mp3s for a couple of reasons:
    Anyone can play them on their PC
    People's old mp3 players are happy with them
    192kbits gives me all the quality I can hear

    Yes I know that the patents are annoying but that's not come to bite me yet. I shall see. Also I know that I won't find an online store selling mp3s, but I still only buy CDs since, they're not all that much more expensive, you get the album artwork and they look nice on a shelf (I still have them on a computer, since it makes searching faster).

    Btw. has everyone seen the mini iPod on Apple's website yet? I wonder what the UK price will be and also when Apple makes it officially compatible with Linux.
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel&johnhummel,net> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:21PM (#7965472) Homepage
    I never saw the logic in the iPod having WMA support. Maybe in the future if the market changes, but not now.

    Right now, Apple enjoys a 70% market dominance in the online music sales market - and they have significant brand name and mindshare, which isn't going anywhere soon. Walk up to a standard non-geek person:

    Question: What MP3 player works with the Apple Music store? (I know it's called the iTunes store, but who actually says that?)

    Answer: iPod.

    Question: What MP3 player works with Napster?

    Answer: Ummmm....

    A geek might know the answer, but most people do not.

    So, based on that, Apple's move to have HP license the AAC+Freeplay system is a good move - it encourages the use of the protected AAC files, and Apple gets a cut of that licensing technology, whether through direct iPod sales, or through the purchase of "iPod compatible" devices.

    Apple has a 5% market share because they didn't license their operating system - which is fine with them, they make money off of hardware. But licensing "iPod compatible" devices is a way to make money off of every MP3 player sold eventually. If you want to use the iTunes Music Store, and you sell MP3 players, you can either compete against the "de facto standard", or play with it.

    If Apple added WMA support, perhaps that would in the short term increase iPod sales since it would work with all the music stores - but in the long term, that's bad for Apple, because then anybody who wanted to switch MP3 players would just pick any WMA compatible device.

    Apple can't break into that desktop market at this time - but if they play the cards right, they could become, as Steve Jobs said, the "Microsoft of the online music world". Once that happens, maybe they'll sell more desktops, maybe not - but it would be interesting to see how much money Apple would make from "iPod compatible" devices as opposed to just computer sales alone.

    If that became the case, then other online music stores would have to support the AAC+Freeplay "de facto standard" - which means that for every song sold online, Apple would get a cut for the licensing.

    So what makes more money: WMA in iPod for short term sales, or take a gamble at getting the whole damned pie?

    Eh - just my thoughts. I could be wrong.
    • Question: What MP3 player works with Napster? Answer: Ummmm.... The Samsung Napster player, of course! I note this player is a close relative of the iPod, being also based on the PortalPlayer PP5002 chipset, which, as a matter of course, natively supports WMA. [216.239.53.104]

      Realtime encoding to MP3 and (by Summer 2003) WMA

      Realtime decoding of MP3, WMA, AAC, and ACELP(R).NET formats

    • by torpor (458) <jayv.synth@net> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:42PM (#7965721) Homepage Journal
      Dude, the logic is easy.

      If you have .WMA files floating around your disk, you want to play them.

      Its as simple as that. Any 'modern' music player shouldn't *ACTUALLY* be limited by the codec. A real music player would have -extensible- codec capabilities...

      What's needed is someone with the balls and cash to put Linux in a smallpocket format, open the source to -everything- and stand back while everyone and their brother ports their codecs to it... its not that hard.

    • You know, this could be a watershed event, where Apple really flexes their marketshare muscle in the music arena and starts calling their own shots, just like MS has been able to do ad nauseum as a result of their dominance in the PC arena.

      Apple definitely is ballsy lately, let's hope it doesn't morph into overconfidence and miscalculation. But for now I say "Go Apple!"
    • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:49PM (#7965795)
      No, in real life it would go more like this.

      Question: What MP3 player works with the Apple Music store? (I know it's called the iTunes store, but who actually says that?)

      Answer: With the what music store?

      Question: The online music store run by Apple Computers.

      Anser: What computers? I have a Dell with 256 giga pixels of CDs.

      Question: No, no. Thats a Windows based computer made by Dell. Apple computers run an OS based on BSD UNIX. The same company runs an online store where you can buy songs.

      Anser : ? ......... So you mean like Warehouse-music.com? I use that through AOL. Whats it got to do with fruit?

      Question : Never mind....

      Most people have no idea what a computer can realy do much less be able to do much with it. They walk into CompUSA or CircutCity with their pants around their ankles and their wallet open. Answer: Ummmm....

  • by rf600r (236081) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:22PM (#7965481) Homepage
    Paul Thurrott is and always has been most interested in Paul Thurrott and how the world relates to Paul Thurrott. He used to have a great website, until it got buried behind how much Paul Thurrott loves Paul Thurrott and how much you love Paul Thurrott, too.
  • Formats Confusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jetkust (596906) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:22PM (#7965485)
    We could have chosen another format, but that would have created more confusion for our customers.' He added, 'Most customers don't care about the format they're downloading.

    What does the format people download have to do with the formats their version of ipod supports? We already know what format they will be downloading if they are using itunes music store. The question is if the ipod can support formats not downloaded from the store. I think people would care if they downloaded a wma file that wouldn't run in their ipod.
    • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummel&johnhummel,net> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:59PM (#7966702) Homepage
      I think people would care if they downloaded a wma file that wouldn't run in their ipod.


      And for Apple, that's the "bingo". The first time someone goes to buymusic.com and buys a WMA file and tries to play it on their iPod, they say "Oh - damn, this sucks!"

      Guess where they're going to go next time they buy music online [apple.com]?

      Either way, Apple wins. You buy the iPod, you use their file format. You use the free iTunes, you download a song - now you need an iPod or "iPod compatible" player.

      That is what Apple - and Microsoft - is shooting for: that you support their format, or you feel pain.
  • iTunes Rocks! (Score:3, Informative)

    by HedRat (613308) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:23PM (#7965488)
    I have purchased over 300 individual songs, used the "burn" utility to make my back-up copy*, then ripped the back-up cd straight to my Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen NX with the Media Source s/w from Creative. I rip in 198/mp3 format. There is absolutely no discernable difference in quality when playing the mp3's either through headphones on the Zen or using iRock Beamit 400 FM modulator to my car or stereo. Sure, you can buy the whole cd, but I've got 300 individual songs that I WANT without the album cuts I don't but have paid for. Another tip for making back-ups in m4p format...if you dual-boot to Linux, make a tar archive of your iTunes directory (and burn that to cd also).

    *You must make a back-up copy because Apple will not replace any files you lose. So you aren't *wasting* a CD and you can play it in the car.
    • Re:iTunes Rocks! (Score:5, Informative)

      by rigmort (584960) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:33PM (#7965598)
      I have personally witnessed Apple replacing lost downloads due to a hardware failure (hd crash). They do keep records.
    • Re:iTunes Rocks! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Theaetetus (590071)
      There is absolutely no discernable difference in quality when playing the mp3's either through headphones on the Zen or using iRock Beamit 400 FM modulator to my car or stereo.

      ... to you.

      However, since your iRock FM modulator is limited with a low pass filter at 12 kHz, and I like hearing cymbals in my rock, I'll stick with the line input straight into my stereo.

      -T

  • Microsoft claims that HP bundling the iTunes program will be bad for competition.

    In other news, pot calls kettle black. Film at 11.
  • WMA/AAC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:26PM (#7965522)
    AAC has one distinct disadvantage against WMA - royalties associated with its use going to various organizations. With WMA, Microsoft either has unlimited rights or owns everything in the format, so it can distribute encoders/players with no per-unit fee. However, if Apple wanted to undermine MS by distributing free (beer) software to encode AAC (aka Quicktime Pro for free)... they would be stuck with a per-unit charge. That's why we need Vorbis so much.
    • On the other hand (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:39PM (#7965673) Homepage
      Because the per-unit fee is determined by the terms of MPEG licensing, Apple cannot apply discriminatory licensing with AAC. MS, however, can. This is a huge disadvantage to WMA from the perspective of everyone except Microsoft itself.

      For example, let's say Microsoft is licensing WMA support to all the mp3 player creators for about 20 cents a unit. Then IBM decides they're going to start supporting Linux. Suddenly Microsoft decides they're licensing it to everyone for 20 cents a unit EXCEPT IBM, who has to pay a billion dollars for each player sold. They can do this, and they have shown in the past-- with OEM pricing on Windows-- that they are more than willing to do this exact sort of thing..

      AAC, meanwhile, is equal for everybody.

      Of course the FairPlay DRM is a totally different matter, but I've yet to be able to figure out if Apple is unwilling to license that to others or if just no one's asked.
  • Why should Apple support WMA at all? Microsoft is their enemy, so why support one of their closed formats? If you want to add further value to your player just support ogg vorbis and FLAC! But don't pump cash into Microsofts pockets 'cause they will know how to use it against you.
  • We could have chosen another format, but that would have created more confusion for our customers.
  • by krray (605395) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:30PM (#7965559)
    From the article:
    "Most customers don't care about the format they're downloading."

    I think he meant to say:
    "Most customers don't care about the wma format, they're not worth downloading."

    Silly HP.
  • Thurott == idiot? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EricWright (16803) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:30PM (#7965569) Journal
    Quoth Thurott:

    "When I asked an HP representative how the company would solve the incompatibility problems, he told me, incorrectly, that the Protected AAC files users download do, in fact, work on HP's products and that converting them is a simple task if they don't."

    Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but by HP's products, doesn't he mean HPs PCs running a version of Windows? And if so, where does such a user get Protected AAC files? Right, iTunes for Windows. Now, isn't iTunes (win or mac) ALL ABOUT AAC? What part of the HP representative's comment is incorrect?

    HP machines run windows. iTunes is available for windows (and will be on all HP machines soon). iTunes Music store is the biggest (only?) provider of Protected AAC files. Sounds pretty simple to me...
    • Re:Thurott == idiot? (Score:4, Informative)

      by NaugaHunter (639364) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:55PM (#7965847)
      Here's a correction to the " isn't iTunes (win or mac) ALL ABOUT AAC?":

      iTunes on both Windows and Mac organizes sound files in any format that Quicktime handles, including MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, Apple Sound files, and probably a dozen others I can't think of. It can also convert between WAV/MP3/AAC/AIFF, at different rates, and import any of those 4.

      The iTunes Music Store only distributes in AAC to include the Fairplay wrapper. As has been commented upon many times, it is fairly simple to remove this protection if really desired, but enough of a hassle that the person doing so at least thinks about it.

      You kind of lumped them together, and I just wanted to make the point that a person can use iTunes on Windows without the music store or any AAC files, and it would even work with other MP3 players. It just won't work with WMA.
  • "Thurrott's singing a different tune lately, anyway...."

    You'd think he could sing it in a more web friendly format, anyway. Instead of using the HTML paragraph <P> tag, he uses single line break <BR> tags to separate his paragraphs. Makes for one big unfriendly block of text.

    I guess the important point to him isn't that you necessarily read, or enjoy reading, his article. Maybe he just wants to innundate you with text so that he appears really authoritative. I don't know.
  • If MS wants WMA on the iPod badly enough (big if), I wonder if they could write an app that allows users to add the codec to the player? And if so, would it be a violation of the DMCA? Some kinda reverse engineering violation.
  • Paid opinions make me nauseous. Who can take this guy seriously? He's just a monkey with a microphone.
  • by rcastro0 (241450) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:36PM (#7965636) Homepage
    The problem is that Apple's iPod -- the most popular portable player on the market -- will not play music encoded in WMA.

    Likewise, none of the other portable music players from the likes of Dell, Rio or Creative Technology will play Apple's AAC files.
    This at first looks like Betamax vs. VHS, Apple being in Sony's chair. Until you realize it is Betamax vs Betamax. MP3 is VHS. To me this WMA/AAC fight is an entertaining dispute for the second division cup.

    Between all the alliances and industry player alignments/supports, MP3 has the best: the pirate industry support -- hundreds of thousands (millions?) of entrepreneurial individuals working out of basements, garages, or simply leaving their machines turned on serving files. I go to a street corner in Brazil and I can find CDs burned with hundreds of songs in MP3. Same thing in all of the "developing world" -- Malaysia, Russia, Paraguay, China. Paying a dollar a song is a luxury that *will* make WMA/AAC (and all DRM) look like Betamax, or Sony's MD.

    DRM songs will try to fit in a niche: wealthy countries or individuals which are willing to pay for songs because they "just-want-to", or because of a very slight edge of "coolness" or exclusivity. This niche, though important for the potential margin, will always be smaller than the MP3 choice (or Ogg, in an unlikely scenario). MP3s will survive like cockroaches, and is IMNSHO the only assured bet for a format that will be still be around ten years from now. Trying to "migrate up" MP3 users with cool gadgets like Ipod may be profitable, but will never close the door that MP3/Napster/Kazaa/CD burners opened.

    I think that is fine.
    • The common opinion here and elsewhere seems to be that Ogg Vorbis doesn't stand a chance and that the fate of a codec will be decided by the number of large commercial entities standing behind it (and online music stores).

      For me this view seems to be far from the current reality.

      I predict that people will not move from free and DRMless p2p to the iTMS or any other comparable offer. Some may, but not nearly the majority. What's more, buying real music CDs will still be the preferred method of obtaining m

  • by vicparedes (701354) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:39PM (#7965667)
    And according to Mr. Thurrot: And, for what it's worth, I own two iPods and have downloaded more than 200 songs from the iTunes Music Store...

    So your way of championing consumer choice is to recommend WMA and invest your time/money in Apple's product and service?
  • by torpor (458)
    ... what hurts the industry more is lame-duck journo's trying to make waves with controversy and tabloid tactics in a field which has no truck with these sorts of tactics, usually ...
  • by twocents (310492) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:42PM (#7965713)
    I keep hearing about how Apple doesn't make that much money off of the music, but instead from iPod sales. I feel that Apple intends to make more money in the future by selling music from independent labels, but at the moment it seems they make very little from the sole sale of music.

    If that is the case, then why would Microsoft be concerned with the selling of music? I guess it's a silly question because Microsoft wants to certainly not lose out in the digital lifestyle arena, but what does Microsoft offer that would suffer from this? Media Player comes with every Windows PC, which makes up, when I last checked, about 95% percent of the market.

    HP wants to make money selling hardware, like Dell and Gateway, so they should pick what will sell the most hardware. Is HP supposed to do the research and development for Microsoft? And what the hey, they might woo in more people from the Apple camp.

  • This makes perfect sense. Supporting more than just Apple's format means more competition from other online music stores. I don't know how much money Apple will make off each unit sold from HP but I would bet that Job's has his eyes on the longer term money maker with this deal...the iTunes store.
  • by the arbiter (696473) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @04:45PM (#7965745)
    Once again, you can see Microsoft using the weight of the monopoly to insure that the consumer has a choice...as long as the choice is Microsoft. Imagine being able to play WMA, MP3, and AAC all on the same player! Imagine being able to boot into BeOS OR Windows...oh, wait. Sorry. I'm awake now.
  • by rjnagle (122374) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:00PM (#7965896) Homepage
    Maybe I'm a fanatic about these things but...

    What's wrong with mp3's/oggs? The premise on which iTunes is based (that here is a method that allows you to download legally) is wrong; in fact, lots of musicians are putting mp3's out there for free. Look at dmusic.com [dmusic.com], IUMA [iuma.com], irate radio [sourceforge.net] and netlabels [archive.org]. Some of the stuff is eclectic, experimental, not mass market, but it's not that far off.

    I stopped listening to commercial music 6 months ago (although I still donate to artists with tipjar links). For "open content" listeners like me, all this talk of proprietary locked content only encourages musicians to put their content in locked formats. That is bad for everyone.

    Share the Music day [sharethemusicday.com]; sharethemusic weblog [imaginaryplanet.net]
  • by grouchomarxist (127479) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:08PM (#7966018)
    In Thurrott's latest article [winnetmag.com](mentioned above) he claims that WMA is "a feature that's natively enabled in the iPod's firmware but that Apple disables before the units ship to customers". I've never heard of this before. Is there any truth to this claim?
    • by Meowing (241289) on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @05:45PM (#7966501) Homepage
      Yeah, it could be done as a firmware update, if Apple needed it. iPod is based around the PortalPlayer PP5002 controller chip, and WMA is one of the codecs that PP's reference firmware already supports. There are other questions, of course, like which iPod models would have enough available memory to make use of yet another codec and so on.
  • by lamz (60321) * on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @07:00PM (#7967363) Homepage Journal
    From the article:
    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.

    I don't get it. Are they adding support for WMA, or for a superior format?

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