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!

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