“About two years ago, I wrote an opinion column titled ‘iTunes Bad, WMA Good‘ that certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest. The legion of Apple fans mailed me to say that, naturally, I was wrong and the iPod and iTunes are the greatest thing to happen to music since Edison’s phonograph. I followed the column up with a Round Two that further explained my gripes. In short, it’s not the iPod or iTunes I have a philosophical problem with. It’s the lock-in policy of Apple. iPods work with iTunes and little else, iTunes works with iPods and no other portable players, and Apple refuses to license their FairPlay DRM to anyone. There’s nothing wrong with AAC as an audio codec. As I discovered by running blind listening tests in my Audio Codec Quality Shootout, AAC basically sits at the top of the heap with WMA (version 9) for lossy audio codec quality,” Jason Cross writes for ExtremeTech.
“I have avoided buying an iPod and making iTunes my music player/manager of choice for a long time, simply because I didn’t want to be locked into the whole iPod/iTunes thing forever. I liked the idea of choice,” Cross writes. “Last week, I finally caved. I wanted a bigger portable music player than my 5GB Zen Micro (which is great); something that can hold my whole music collection—nearly 4,000 tracks of high-bitrate MP3. What did I buy? A 60GB fifth-generation video-playing iPod. In black.”
“Why did I jump to the Apple music ship? Simply put, I’m tired of waiting for Microsoft and its partners to get their act together. iTunes simply has features that the competition can’t match, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to catch up anytime soon. It’s got the best overall interface, the best-designed music store, and some easy-to-use features that I really care about,” Cross writes. “At CES this past year, I spoke with several Microsoft reps about Media Player 11 and the Urge music store that will be the default built-in music shopping experience… In short, Media Player 11 and Urge, which aren’t shipping for months, won’t even catch up to what Apple is offering now.”
Cross writes, “Microsoft should be aiming at where they think Apple will be in a year. Instead, their next-generation music offering seems to be striving to do 80% of what iTunes already offers. Way to hand Apple the brass ring there, fellas. Does anyone in charge of digital media at Microsoft even use iTunes? I know there are other Windows offerings, like Napster, MusicMatch, Yahoo Music, and so on. I’ve tried them all, and I can’t stand the interface and design for any of them… I’m happy I made the switch. Microsoft is going to have a hard time winning me back—certainly they haven’t announced anything that would make me reconsider.”
Full article “Joining the Dark Side: Switching to iPod” here.
Welcome not to “the Dark Side,” but to the future, Mr. Cross!
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Writer worried about proprietary iTunes songs wants his WMA instead – February 13, 2004