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MS Not Budging Over “Limitations”

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By fnarfy

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, November 10, 2003
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But Seattle Times Columnist Paul Andrews has asked whether that’s really important…

“In follow-up queries from me, [Microsoft Windows Media GM, David] Fester refused to budge. “Apple has done a fine job building a solution, but it is a closed solution—their service, their device, their player and no one else can play in that island.”

What interests me about this case is not who’s right—both sides make legitimate points—but whether openness really matters.

Where does that leave Apple? I frankly don’t think it matters to 99 percent of consumers whether a player or service or format is open or closed. What matters is whether it works.”

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Comments

1

in my opinion, mp3s (and illegal swapping sites such as kazaa) have no chance of going away unless a new STANDARD comes along to replace mp3s.  With multiple competing drm formats/music stores/players that are not compatible,  I don’t think there will ever be a true ‘winner’ for corporations or consumers.

maybe I’m a lawbreaker, but there will always be some music out there that I wouldn’t mind having, but not enough to buy it.  I admit it - I trade cds/mp3s with my friends.  just like I used to do with records and tapes.  that doesn’t (nor has it ever) stopped me from spending huge amounts of money on music.

I love my ipod.  my friend loves his archos.  they are both digital music players and they should both be able to play the same things.  20 years ago you didn’t see sony & kenwood making different cassettes or records that only worked with their brand players, it shouldn’t be any different with digital media.

I think I’m rambling now, but my point is that all this competing software/hardware/file format c r a p is just that - c r a p.

Posted by 8 track on November 10, 2003 at 12:46 PM (PDT)

2

“20 years ago you didn’t see sony & kenwood making different cassettes or records that only worked with their brand players”

Ah but Sony were trying it on with Beta (theirs) vs VHS (everyone else). Eventually the market (ie, us!) decided we valued ease of access, resale, and portability versus (VHS!)_ versus quality (Beta).

There was a cassette war, but I think most of you are two young to remember it. Most audiophiles avoided cassettes like the plague, sometimes deigning to use track-to-track reels. THen Phillips brought out the single-cartridge C30 in the early 1960s. Initially they sold it as good only for dictation.

But eventually those humble little tapes saw off reels, 8-track, and a host of competitors and remained the recording medium of choice until a combination of DAT, MD, and MP3 killed them off.

Posted by marx on November 10, 2003 at 12:55 PM (PDT)

3

you’re right - I am too young to remember cassette wars, but I figured someone would compare this to vhs/beta.  unfortunately (as an ipod owner), I see aac looking like beta against a wma/vhs…I hope aac doesn’t go the way of beta…

Posted by 8 track on November 10, 2003 at 1:09 PM (PDT)

4

aac is not going to go away, it’s an MPEG standard. I can encode and transcode AACs on my Windows XP machine.

What might go away is Apple’s AAC-only DRM for iPods. The iPods have always had the ability to play DRM-protected WMA, but Apple’s strategy has always been to block WMA on iPods. But if it becomes mandatory, I am sure they will change in a heartbeat.

Look at quickly Apple abandoned SCSI, or OS9, or the virtual slot Mac.

Posted by engels on November 10, 2003 at 1:50 PM (PDT)

5

Nah, I doubt it, DRM will just become bigger and bigger if things like iTunes continue in their popularity.

Is Microsoft actually saying something logical here?

Posted by Adam on November 10, 2003 at 3:31 PM (PDT)

6

I really don’t understand Microsoft - AAC is not a closed format, it was developed by Dolby and is part of the MPEG family.

But what about WMA - the format Microsoft seems to think is compatible with anything. WMA was created by Microsoft for Microsoft PCs. It isn’t an open format at all.

Posted by Cozzie on November 10, 2003 at 8:56 PM (PDT)

7

AAC itself is not a closed format, but AAC for DRM is proprietary (Apple).

Posted by huhh on November 11, 2003 at 6:52 AM (PDT)

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