Microsoft to release new Windows Media Player in attempt to match Apple’s iPod/iTunes synergy

“Microsoft is expected to release the first test version of its new Windows Media Player software on Wednesday, marking a significant upgrade aimed squarely at the burgeoning portable device market,” John Borland reports for CNET News. “The revamped Windows Media Player 10, which will be released in final form to the consumer market later this year, contains substantial changes to the way music, videos, and other media can be organised and retrieved.”

Borland reports, “The software, which incorporates recent advances in Microsoft’s digital rights management tools and a new technology allowing computers to communicate with devices such as MP3 players, forms a key component of the company’s response to Apple Computer’s strong successes with its iPod music player and software. One of the iPod’s key selling points has been its extraordinarily simple ease of use, which lets people load the device with music without having to take anything but the most rudimentary technical steps.”

“The new Windows Media Player builds on that idea, adding the ability to automatically keep portable devices up to date with changing music and video and photograph collections on a PC,’ Borland reports. “Analysts said the tight integration between PC software and a wide range of portable media devices was a key goal for Microsoft, but that it would also be important for the company to match the iPod’s ease of use. Because so many different hardware manufacturers use Microsoft technology, that goal could be difficult, they noted.”

“‘Microsoft is clearly moving in the right direction,’ Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg said. ‘But the key here is that Microsoft will have to work with its partners to create something that’s the equivalent of the iPod. None of [the rival products] have captured hearts and minds of consumers the way the iPod has,'” Borland reports. “Along with new customisation features, the player will include a new “digital media mall” containing links to services such as Napster, MusicNow and CinemaNow that distribute online content in Microsoft’s media formats.”

Full article here.

26 Comments

  1. “Because so many different hardware manufacturers use Microsoft technology, that goal could be difficult, they noted”

    This is the Whole Freakin Point.

    Of course, with 40 billion to putt around with, you’d think they’d be able to do anything. Alas, no. If they made great software, they’d be out of business… it will be good enough for most, who will expect complete shite.

  2. “None of [the rival products] have captured hearts and minds of consumers the way the iPod”

    Emotional attachment to the Windows logo.. huh.. yeah that’ll be the day…

  3. I think ive used windows media player only twice in the last 3 years – it’s a crap bit of bloatware.

    I for one won’t bother upgrading – besides anything to do with microsoft is crap anyway – just look at XP!

    Give me Quicktime any day!

  4. WMP 9 works fine, and the most recent Quicktime for windows seems dated, doesn’t remember volume settings from one use to the next, and has annoying reminders to upgrade. So There Pete. But Bully for you for piling on.

  5. I will give MS the benefit of the doubt before I dismiss this “new and improved” version of Windows Media Player as another bloated and unforgiving peice of MS crapware. Good grief, the suspense is killing me!

  6. There should be some American idiotic law.. That M$ is not allowed to follow others…. Well.. maybe George can+t figure it out..
    Where is our own Teletubbie? Ron!

  7. Joe,

    The issue is not just the quality of the client, it is also the quality, cost, and ease of use of the streaming server. There are only 3 companies that provide software streaming; Apple, Real, MS. Of the three, Apple’s Quicktime streaming is by far the best in all categories with WMA being a distant third.

    Network Computing did an unbiased comparison of the three software streaming solutions along with a couple of hardware solutions.

    Read the review to understand why QuickTime is the best solution for streaming.

    As a longtime video producer, I can tell you that there are many other advantages to Quicktime, not the least of which is that QuickTime is not a format. Rather, QT is an entire multimedia environment which allows for the playback of multiple types of media including a variety of video codecs, Flash, etc. It also provides for skinning of players by the provider of the stream, fast Internet start, and many other features that are essential for professional video presentation that the competition just does not offer. Add to this that QT is the highest quality and there really is no contest.

    -B

  8. Joe

    I mean the timing. Of course after 9 comes 10. That is obvious.
    M$ keeps making software like 95,98,2002,2003 … so why can�t they stick with that?
    Suddenly they start using X and 9 and so on to sneak in to 10.

    Now their line of products is something like XP and WMP 10 and Office v.X
    They copy as much as they can and lots more.

    Paskaa I say.
    Translation: Shit I say.

  9. Late to respond, but beeble I rarely stream, and don’t recall a difference between the 3 when I did. I accept your educated take on it.

    Finn, huh? Usually you make no sense AFTER cocktail hour starts.

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