Thurrott on Apple iTunes’ new ‘WMA to AAC’ import feature

“Apple today released iTunes 4.5, which allows you to convert WMA songs to AAC format so they’ll play on the iPod. In typical Apple fashion, this is the hard way to do things, as the iPod would support WMA naturally if they just let it (Apple turns off this feature in the iPod bios). But give Apple credit: A file transcoded from WMA to AAC will sound like crap, so the company can point to the sound quality difference as a reason to stick with its proprietary format,” Paul Thurrott writes for Paul Thurrott’s Internet Nexus. Full article here.

In an article dated January 9, 2004, Thurrott wrote, “Exclusive: HP Working to Get WMA on iPod – HP’s blockbuster deal with Apple will have one exciting side effect, I discovered today. The company will be working with Apple to add support for Microsoft’s superior Windows Media Audio (WMA) format to the iPod by mid-year. You heard it here first.” More here.

No word on whether Paul is reconsidering his position that the HP ‘iPod’ will play the “superior” WMA format. Looks like it’ll play WMA format music after it’s been converted to AAC, that is. Also, Thurrott provides no hard facts supporting his assertion that “a file transcoded from WMA to AAC will sound like crap.”

Users with a Windows machine and browser (or using Safari’s Debug menu to set the User Agent to “Windows MSIE 6.0” will see this from Apple on the iTunes Import webpage:

“If you


  1. Well he’s probably right. It probably will sound bad. It’s been encoded, decoded and encoded again.

    The bit that bothers me is the “Microsoft’s superior Windows Media Audio (WMA) format”. How the hell is it superior.

    And this proprietory stuff too. Like WMA isn’t proprietory ! None of the ‘A’s in ‘AAC’ stands for Apple you bloody fool ! This is all talking about DRM-free stuff too (AAC/Fairplay is effectively proprietory).

  2. Soon Apple will start selling G4 processors to PC�s so that you can replace intel�s processor with it and start using Os X.
    Isn�t it nice ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Hywel
    Maybe Windows users can use Apple Lossless coder so that they actually get better quality than the original WMP ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  4. What are you now sticking in the man at M$?
    I would not stick it in the any man at M$
    Homophobe do not change the subject. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”raspberry” style=”border:0;” />

  5. Given that he’s also encouraging people to steal, I sent him this e-mail


    So now we see your morality in all its glory.

    By posting a link to FairTunes, and by exhorting people to download now, you are – whether you like it or not – promoting copyright theft.

    So as you once referred (in an e-mail to another correspondant) to Apple as “rotten from the top down”, what does that make someone who encourages people to break the law. How would you feel if I went online and encouraged people to ‘acquire’ photocopies of your doubtless incredibly turgid books? What a truly wonderful example to set to your children: theft is alright, so long as you’re screwing someone you don’t like.

    Don’t bother replying, as I’m not sure I can stand to read another of your Goebbels-like pieces of revisionist drivel.


    Claiming that, by incorporating a WMA conversion utility into iTunes 4.5 for Windows, Apple has fulfilled your discredited prediction of WMA support in iPod.

    Here’s another spin: WMA audio stores have failed in the marketplace, and Apple – despite the fact that it is under no obligation so to do – has created a lifejacket for all the poor saps who bought into the Microsoft ‘vision’ (how strange those words look together) of inconsistent usage rights, poorly designed software and cheaply-built players.

    In case you haven’t guessed, I’m not a fan.[/I]

    Feel free to write something similar.

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