Microsoft, not a maker of MP3 player hardware, has nonetheless deemed itself enough of an authority on the subject and is offering its suck…, err, Microsoft Windows Media website visitors, “Six Tips for Buying an MP3 Player with Flash Memory.”

Microsoft warns, “If you’re the type of person who’s on the go all the time and wants to jam to your favorite tunes while commuting to work, trekking across campus, or working out, then having the ‘right’ MP3 player is essential.”

Some selected tips* from Microsoft:

Make sure you’re getting all the goodies: Many portable music players can do more than just play music. Some players have a built-in voice recorder, FM recorder, or stopwatch. And some come with extra accessories like high-quality headphones, a belt clip, or an armband. Because most of these features are included at no additional cost, make sure the device you choose is filled with these fun extras.

You’ll want a display: When you have hundreds of songs on your player, you really need an easy way to select your music by artist, album, or genre. This is critical if you want to find that one song or artist you really want to hear. A display also comes in handy when you’re looking for your favorite radio station.

Let a professional make your next playlist: Having an FM radio lets you put your player on autopilot as you mountain bike, cycle, or rollerblade. And when you’re sweating it out on the stationary bike at your health club, you can listen to the program airing on the club’s TV. You want to have something that is fun, lightweight, and flexible. And FM radio is a key feature that many players offer at no extra cost, even for less than $100.

Don’t get locked into one online store: Have you ever been on the hunt for a particular song? Some obscure indie rock tune or rare jazz performance you heard on the radio? You might have to shop at more than one store before you find the song you’re looking for. Having the flexibility to choose from over 1 million tracks of music from multiple online music stores such as MSN Music, Napster, MusicMatch, and Wal-Mart can be the key to getting the music you want. Several stores even offer subscription services so you can download all the songs you want for about the cost of a CD each month.

If you buy a device that has the PlaysForSure logo, you’ll know that you can use it with your choice of PlaysForSure music stores. Shop for devices at the PlaysForSure.com Web site.

MacDailyNews Take: So remember, don’t buy an Apple iPod shuffle, don’t use Apple’s iTunes Music Store and you’ll be all set, the Microsoft Way. It’s better to have a second-rate codec from one place, a random non-iPod music player from somewhere else, and an also-ran online music store from a third outfit. It’s okay, it’s okay – they’ve all got identical PlaysForShit stickers stuck on them – it’ll all work just fine, just like you’re used to with Wintel! Enjoy your “experience.”

[Attribution: Digital Media Thoughts]

*Please remember, it’s “tips,” not “propaganda,” okay?