Digital audio, Apple and Microsoft seeking mutual compatibility? | iLounge News


Digital audio, Apple and Microsoft seeking mutual compatibility?

“The music industry is pushing bitter technology rivals—most notably Microsoft and Apple—to shake hands in the interest of promoting digital downloads, Billboard has learned.

Hardware makers and digital format developers, including many traditional adversaries, are engaged in private talks aimed at meeting the music industry’s goal of compatibility among competing digital music devices by 2005.”

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Finally!  About time both sides decided to work together.  Perhaps they realize that they can both make more money if everyone has access.

Posted by VegasRobb on February 2, 2004 at 7:12 AM (CST)


Just how much cooperation from Apple is necessary? My impression was that they don’t really “own” any of the relevant technology, as far as either ACC or the DRM they use for iTunes. Just how “closed” is this source material, or from whom would the Napsters/BuyMusic/Wal-Marts of the world need to buy licensing in order to offer downloads formatted properly for use on an iPod?

Posted by Ronco on February 2, 2004 at 8:58 AM (CST)


From the article:

‘“Everyone is motivated to crack this,” says Amanda Marks,  senior VP of Universal Music Group’s eLabs division. “We have to throw whatever weight we can into this issue.”’

Certainly an ironic statement since a lot of folks certainly are motivated to crack whatever copy protection schemes the music industry comes up with!

Of course, the music biz is going about this the wrong way.  You don’t make your product more difficult to steal, you encourage customers to purchase by making a better product.  For instance, imagine a music CD with an enclosed booklet featuring song lyrics, comments from the artist, exclusive band photos, and a nice mini-poster from your wall.  Oh, and sold at a reasonable (meaning less than $12) price.  Suddenly, the product becomes more valuable than what can be downloaded for “free” and people will be motivated to purchase.

But this whole “build a better mouse trap” philosophy is going to ultimately backfire, because music companies won’t catch more mice, the mice will just figure out clever ways to avoid the trap.

Posted by Mountain Man on February 2, 2004 at 10:17 AM (CST)


I can see how this could make money for both companies, but I don’t think it’d be smart on Apple’s part.

iTunes is #1 and so is the iPod, why would Apple want to make their products WMA compatible. The only person I can see making money off it is Microsoft. Apple may make a little more, but not much.

Bad idea, Apple. I hope this doesn’t happen.

Posted by narco in Burbank on February 2, 2004 at 10:20 AM (CST)


Apple should not sit on their island.  Hopefully apple has learnt their lesson from the past that their innovations always fall by the wayside to other more compatible solutions.

Apple made the smart decision to make windows compatible iPods.  Continuing down the compatibility path just means more success, not doing so will make yet another innovation of theirs a historical footnote.

Posted by Jason on February 2, 2004 at 11:05 AM (CST)


I don’t think Apple or Microsoft have much of a choice, the RIAA is pushing for compatability. Maybe they could come up with some decoder that would read both AAC and WMA files, instead of working on a whole new file format altogether.

I can see this happening down the road. I can also see the RIAA charging $10 to $15 for an album still - minus the CD booklet, minus the CD packaging, minus the CD quality, minus the ability to use the music however you want. Kind of brilliant, making them more money than even before while selling a cheaper product.

Posted by Ryan on February 2, 2004 at 11:08 AM (CST)


Let’s not forget that the only ones really making money here are the music industry and the hardware manufactures. So, does Apple really need to jealously defend the current config of iTunes downloads? It seems their goal should be to do whatever sells the most iPods. I, for one, have found music on other services that I want to listen to, and hate doing the burn-rip translation to get the stuff back onto the iPod.

And by the way, does it burn anyone else that all we can download is a “crippled” (compressed) version of music? At least with retail CDs, you start from a more original source.

Posted by ronco on February 2, 2004 at 11:22 AM (CST)


‘And by the way, does it burn anyone else that all we can download is a “crippled” (compressed) version of music? At least with retail CDs, you start from a more original source.’

I’ll only ever consider buying music digitally if I’m given full quality files (lossless compression is the perfect answer here) and unrestricted usage of whatever music I have legally purchased.  Until then, CD purchases will continue to be my exclusive method for acquiring music.

Posted by Mountain Man on February 2, 2004 at 12:13 PM (CST)


This is interesting.  I just opened the iTunes application file to make a copy of the iTunes icon to use for an iChat icon, and guess what I found?

See for yourself:

Applications>>control-click, right-click, or click on the Action button in the Finder>Show Package Contents>Contents>Resources>

...then check the file for all the .icns files. (Use column view for fastest response.) You’ll find some interesting files in there called “iTunes-(fill in the blank).icns besides aac,aiff,wav, and mp3.

(BTW, just searching your hard drive, even searching “everywhere” for files beginning with iTunes and ending with the .icns extension will not give you the same result.)

You can draw your own conclusions as far as future or even potentially current compatibility from the list in your finder.

Posted by MacSmiley on February 2, 2004 at 12:19 PM (CST)



Non-mac user here, what are you seeing exactly?

Posted by Jon in Seattle, WA on February 2, 2004 at 2:07 PM (CST)


He’s talking about the file type icons.  Same thing in windows, when you associate a file type with itunes it uses one of those icons when displaying that file in explorer/finder.

Posted by Jason on February 2, 2004 at 2:14 PM (CST)


Mountain Man & Jason: hear, hear.

Posted by bobsyerunkle on February 2, 2004 at 3:14 PM (CST)


Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just add WMA support to the iPod and AAC support to the various Windows-targeted players?

Posted by Fenn on February 2, 2004 at 4:08 PM (CST)


Mountain Man, jason and Bobsyerunkle - ditto.

Unleess uncompressed is available, why the hell would I want to pay? Until then ,I will enjoy my entirely legal, personal 320k or 44.1 k wav files from my personal collection on my iPod thanks. It may kill the battery a bit quicker, but it sounds a HELL of a lot better.

Posted by angry_black_man on February 3, 2004 at 12:17 AM (CST)



Apple does it’s own thing of its own accord, but licensees of Microsoft Products often sell their soul to el diablo.  The question is are manufacters of MP3/WMA players *allowed* to support FairPlay’s AAC even if they wanted to?

Remember Internet Explorer causing the whole govt anti-monopoly case against MS because their license prohibited the bundling of any other browser?

You’d have to see the fine print for yourself to know whether it’s a will/won’t or can/can’t situation.

Posted by MacSmiley on February 10, 2004 at 7:46 AM (CST)

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