Hewlett-Packard: No WMA for iPod�

“Contrary to reports, Hewlett-Packard will not be supporting Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio format in its forthcoming HP-branded iPod,” Leander Kahney reports for Wired.

“According to Paul Thurrot’s WinInfo newsletter, HP is working with Apple to add support for WMA to the iPod. Thurrot’s report was widely circulated online on Monday. However, a spokesman for HP denied any such plans,” Kahney reports. “‘We’re not going to be supporting WMA for now,’ said Muffi Ghadiali, product marketing manager for HP’s digital entertainment products group. ‘We picked the service that was the most popular (Apple’s iTunes Music Store),’ said Ghadiali. ‘We could have chosen another format, but that would have created more confusion for our customers. Most customers don’t care about the format they’re downloading.'”

“Last week, HP made the surprising announcement that it will be reselling a HP-branded iPod this summer. HP will also bundle Apple’s iTunes digital jukebox on all new consumer PCs,” Kahney reports. “The question of file format is key. Apple uses a proprietary, copy-protected scheme based on Advanced Audio Coding. The majority of Apple’s competitors — Napster, Wal-Mart, Musicmatch, Best Buy and dozens of others — sell music encoded in Microsoft’s WMA format. 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 AAC files.”

“Joe Wilcox, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research, expressed surprise that HP didn’t insist the HP iPod support WMA. Without it, he said, a lot of HP customers may find their music incompatible with the upcoming HP iPod,” Kahney reports. “‘Does the format matter to consumers? If they can’t play it, it does,’ Wilcox said. ‘If they buy something and they can’t play it, of course they care.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Thurrot” and “credibility” in the same sentence? That’s the last time you’ll see that!

20 Comments

  1. Man, Paul Thurrot has got to be patting himself on the back making so many rumor sites actually buy into that. This was one of those “rumors” that obvioulsly had no basis. Basically, P.T. thought that maybe you could put WMA on an iPod and wanted to take credit for the idea, hence the “You heard it here first”. What a douche.

  2. You know, the funny thing about all this WMA vs. AAC talk is that you have all these services that are using WMA and NONE of them are sharing how many song’s they’ve sold as openly as Apple has. Seriously, How many songs has Napster, Wal-Mart, Musicmatch, or any of these guys sold? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because they don’t want to show how unpopular they are compared to iTunes. Maybe, just maybe, they are really thinking to themselves “we need to re-evaluate our support for AAC and the iPod”.

    I think we’re going to see a shift in the “Codec Wars” and it’s going to be a shift to AAC and iPod. These other services can’t survive without it.

  3. Oh, and people can convert their WMA files to MP3 all day long and play it on their new HP iPods. I wish these “analysts” would get their heads out of their rear and just think. The current iPod is Mac and Windows compatible. And there isn’t any “backlash” because the Windows customers cannot play their music. It’s because they can play their music, and in style at that.

    It’s funny to read this stuff b/c I am beginning to notice that these so-called experts are failing to realize that the iPod plays more than music bought from the Apple store.

  4. I think it’s safe to say that most HP customers will, in fact, be able to use the HPod. Despite Thurrott and Wilcox’s attempts at making consumers think otherwise. Most people I know have encoded their existing collections in MP3 format, and since no one seems to be buying music from any of the iTMS competition, most purchased music is in AAC with Fairplay. Sorry Thurrott, you’re wrong yet again. He’s one of the bitter ones, like Charles Cooper from ZDNET, who has made a substansial investment of time and money in the abomination that is Microsoft, and hates to see Apple user’s enjoying their computers, and doing what they want as opposed to patching or reinstalling several times a week. I see it all the time.

  5. Yesterday, Thurrott posted an opinion about the Apple/HP deal titled “HP’s iPod Moves Could Hurt the Industry”.

    Here are a few juicy little tidbits from his generally incoherent ramblings:

    A contact close to HP told me point blank that HP was requiring Apple to add WMA support to the iPod, a feature that’s natively enabled in the iPod’s firmware but that Apple disables before the units ship to customers.

    …a bigger concern centers on how HP will make its many products compatible with the closed and proprietary Protected AAC format Apple uses.

    Even HP executives are downplaying, if not outrightly misrepresenting, the seriousness of this problem for the company’s customers, most of whom won’t understand why their music and devices refuse to play nice together.

    …choice is what we expect in the PC industry, and HP seems to have given up this choice for a chance to temporarily grab headlines and go with a single, incompatible, portable digital-audio hardware vendor.

    …with 30 million paid iTunes Music Store downloads, one could even argue that the Protected AAC format is on a roll by default.

    …With HP at its side, Apple has a chance to change the world (something that Apple has always promised but never really accomplished) …for what it’s worth, I own two iPods and have downloaded more than 200 songs from the iTunes Music Store. …Apple and HP have just set back the convergence of PCs and consumer electronics an untold number of years.

    I can’t wait to see what this imbecile posts next! Talk about painting yourself into a corner!

  6. Yes, Yes, Yes. I’m sure Mr. Thurrott that HP entered into the deal with Apple with all those reservations. I’m sure they were forced to make the deal, not because they couldn’t do it themselves, but because Apple forced them too.

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