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When people talk, trade, and listen to digitalized music - in most cases they are talking about their MP3 collection. MP3s are everywhere and their have been a few companies that have been fighting the wave saying that they are offering a better solution to digital music/audio. For example, Microsoft has been pushing WMA files as *the* solution for years now. They say they sound better - maybe so. Sony has their Atrac format which they say is better - maybe so. All this while the rest of the world moves toward the MP3 format.

I know this is an overused comparison, but it does remind me of the Beta vs. VHS fight of the past. There is no doubt that Beta was a better format (better quality), but VHS won out due to adoption. MP3s in my mind *have* won out due to adoption as well. Most interesting to this point is Sony's new position (as reported by the BBC):

Sony U-Turn Over MP3 Files

It seems that Sony has seen the light and is now going to adopt MP3s. What about Microsoft. While the Windows Media Player does play MP3s, Microsoft really puts WMA files as #1. If you burn your cd to digital music using the WMP, then it coverts your music to WMA files and not MP3 files. Also, Microsoft's new music store only offers WMA files.

I have most of my music in MP3s. I have about 5% of it in WMA format. I am now looking to purchase a new bookshelf stereo system for my living room and I want this system to play digital music. All the systems that I have been looking at only play MP3 files and do not play WMA files. Should Microsoft change their focus? Can they (maybe it is some legal thing that I am not aware of)? I am thinking it is time to move to make the MP3 format their #1 focus for digital audio. That's just me though. :)

Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 10:33 AM Microsoft | Back to top


Comments on this post: Should Microsoft refocus their music format preferences?

# re: Should Microsoft refocus their music format preferences?
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I hope Sony does some other U-turns too. I was very dissaspointed in thier minidisc walkman. Not because of ATRAC versus MP3, but because the software they provided was braindead and there was no alternative. It was buggy (could never convert WMA files), sluggish, and ugly to boot [ugly is just my opinion though :)]
Left by Scott Allen on Sep 23, 2004 12:01 PM

# re: Should Microsoft refocus their music format preferences?
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Windows Media Player now comes with MP3 ripping out of the box.
Left by Shannon J Hager on Sep 23, 2004 12:49 PM

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