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Windows Media Player 7: Did Microsoft Get it Right?
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Microsoft has released the latest Windows Media Player, version 7, and
David Strom says in his latest Web Informant newsletter, that this is the way people will access digital music in the future.
Microsoft has learned from watching others, adding features like skins
and visualizations that we've seen on MP3 players. They've also built in
a sophisticated media browser that helps find music and radio stations.
The new Windows Media Player has to compete not only against competitors
like Real Networks -- which is making alliances with both Apple
Computer's QuickTime and AOL -- but also against services like Napster
and Gnutella, where users get music for free. Ziff-Davis' PC Magazine
gives Real Network's RealSystem 8 a higher grade on the quality of its
streaming audio. That quality should get even better when streaming
But Strom says that Microsoft has broken through what he calls "a
conspiracy against the user" by bringing together a comprehensive way to
organize and listen to a variety of types of audio in one application,
from music ripped from CDs to MP3s to streaming radio stations.
Author and columnist
Writes weekly Web Informant newsletter
President of David Strom, Inc.
"People who are into the complete audio-visual experience from their
computer right now have a pretty crappy experience overall -- and
whether it's because of bandwidth or because they are always on the
version behind of the player they need to view the content... or whether
it's because they're afraid that if they bring up Napster the FBI is
going to be knocking at their door. Whatever the reason, it's just sort
of a conspiracy against the user ...Microsoft has listened; they haven't
got everything right yet ... but they've really tried to integrate all
the various bits and pieces that you need to manage a bunch of different
kinds of audio content."
Editor of CMP's Byte Online and WinMag.com
"I think it's sweetly innocent to assume that people are willing to pay
for their content on the Internet. I think our experience to date
indicates that that's a sucker's bet."
Editorial Director, O'Reilly Network
"There are two ways to look at bandwidth. One is that you can stream
something that is fatter and richer. The other is you can, in a lot less
time, download and have on your hard drive something that's a lot higher
Associate Producer, O'Reilly Network
Founder, Lost Dog Found Music
"I think Windows dropped the ball. You can record a CD to your desktop
only in the Windows Media format, you can't save it as MP3. And MP3 is
the way that things are going right now."
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