May 22, 2006 4:00 AM PDT

Microsoft making better music?

When it comes to music, mighty Microsoft is the underdog.

For the company that dominates PC operating systems, desktop software suites and e-mail software and has a darn good business in everything from databases to video games, it's an unaccustomed label.

Can the latest version of Microsoft's music software, Windows Media Player 11, be the first in many steps to dropping that underdog tag? While there's little question that Apple Computer is the company to beat in digital music, technology critics and analysts say Microsoft is starting to get its act together.

Click here to Play

Video: Windows Media Player 11 reviewed
CNET's Molly Wood shows off the newest version of Microsoft's digital jukebox.

Last week, a test version of WMP 11, the company's latest digital jukebox software, was compared favorably by critics to Apple's iTunes. Technology critic Paul Thurrott, for example, gushed in a review on his Web site that despite being an avid iTunes user, he found himself "drawn to Windows Media Player 11" because it "offers dramatically better performance" than iTunes.

So what's to like? Industry insiders cheered the close partnerships Microsoft formed with MTV Networks and iRiver. Redmond helped design Urge, MTV's new subscription music service, and plans to include it in WMP 11. In addition, Microsoft made sure WMP 11 worked seamlessly inside Clix, iRiver's digital music player--the first to feature WMP 11?which also hit the market last week.

Many critics say it's a big improvement over what Microsoft has done in the past, but there's no question Bill Gates & Co. have a long way to go to catch their decades-old rival in this realm.

Removing the guesswork

Apple has sold more than 50 million iPods and controls 70 percent of the worldwide digital-music market, according to analysts. No doubt, Apple's innovative designs have had a lot to do with it. So has the simplicity of Apple's digital music experience. The iPod and the company's online music store are designed to work together and remove the guesswork for consumers.

The same has not been true, critics argue, for Microsoft and its partners. Because it doesn't control both ends, Microsoft has not been able to deliver the slick, out-of-the-box experience that Apple has offered.

Of course, tech historians may recall that Apple's go-it-alone approach to the PC was one of the reasons Microsoft ultimately gained control of the desktop. People initially scoffed at Microsoft's operating system. But with every new version, it got a little better. Microsoft also partnered with far more PC and software makers and, ultimately, drove Apple into a corner of the market.

But is a stereo the same as a PC? That's the million-dollar question. While PC users are accustomed to a complex experience (some would say they don't know any better) people have for decades listened to music on stereo systems that, even at their most complex, are far easier to use than a PC.

For a company to win the digital-music market, say analysts, it needs to duplicate that stereo system simplicity.

"The products by Apple's rivals only confuse consumers," said Shaw Wu, a financial analyst with American Technology Research. "The public doesn't know their names or which device is better from the next. Apple's approach is pretty simple and straightforward."

That's what Microsoft is trying to deal with in WMP 11. Analysts say striking alliances with a select number of music content providers and hardware makers signals that Microsoft is serious about confronting that complexity obstacle.

"That's the biggest game changer--total collaboration," said Jason Hirschhorn, MTV's chief digital officer.

Out of sync in the past

WMP 11 represents the possibility that Microsoft can deliver a streamlined alternative to Apple.

"Vendors and Microsoft were often out of sync in the past," said Susan Kevorkian, analyst with IDC. "Some devices would only support a la carte song sales and others were subscription compatible only. Now you have a variety of established music services and devices working with Microsoft, and the ecosystem is increasingly straightforward."

Microsoft execs argue that the game has just begun.

"Remember the digital market represents only 5 percent of the total market," said Geoff Harris, product unit manager for Windows Media Player. "That means that 95 percent are still buying in traditional means. At the end of the day, this (segment) is still in its infancy."

Microsoft and partners could draw some of that market by billing itself as a cheaper alternative to Apple, said analysts. Apple declined to comment for this article.

Alissa Paolella, 19, a journalism student at Ohio University, is a big fan of singer Ani DiFranco, but has yet to buy a digital music player. Paolella said she would consider a cheaper alternative to the iPod "because everybody else has one."

There's one problem: She doesn't know the name of a single rival to the iPod and hadn't heard about last week's launch of iRiver's Clix.

Of course, that's what Microsoft is trying to change. WMP 11 supports subscription services and MTV's Urge will offer customers two pricing models: They can choose to pay 99 cents per song or subscribe to a monthly all-you-can-eat download service for $9.95 or $14.95.

MTV and Microsoft are billing these subscription services as the most economical way to discover a lot of new music without going broke.

But until someone other than Apple comes up with an easy-to-use music system, don't expect Apple to lose its grip on the young market.

"If my mom asks me what she should buy, I'm telling her to get an iPod," said Nitin Gupta, an analyst at The Yankee Group. "My brother is more tech savvy, and he might be interested in doing more than what Apple provides. I might tell him to try one of the new MP3 players."

See more CNET content tagged:
critic, digital music, Apple Computer, MTV, approach

124 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
It Has Potential
The iPod is great, but as I've always said:

Competition = Good news for customers

URGE is no iTunes overall, but it is really sleek and cool. And it does beat iTunes if you like to discover new music. For example, by including audio podcasts from mp3 blog superstars like FluxBlog (fluxblog.com), Microsoft seems to be trying to tap into the undeground music scenes a bit, too.

Now, if only we could do something about the DRM issue.
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pandora great for discovering music too
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.pandora.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.pandora.com/</a>

Give it an artist you like, and it will start streaming tracks that its
team of music analysts (humans) have classified as similar
across a number of vectors.

I often have it on all day.
Posted by dotmike (154 comments )
Link Flag
Apple/IPOD/ITunes
I just happened to scan through then pro and con postings about MS versus Apple. Personally, I have always been using a PC and labtop that are loaded with XP. That was before I purchased an Apple iBook G5; and, since then, I have ditched (donated to non-profit org's) both PC and laptop and use the Apple exclusively. The Apple iBook is real fast, booting up in a zippy; and, it is so easy to use. In addtion, I have also purchased a 30GB IPOD. It is such a great device that can hold a lot of music, and it can also be used as an USB external disk drive, which is extremly handy for temporary storage. In fact, a friend of mine has setup the IPOD as an external USB boot disk.

In conclusion, Apple has done its homeworks and produce an exceptional product.
Posted by dough-boy (1 comment )
Link Flag
LOL
"Technology critic Paul Thurrott, for example, gushed in a review
on his Web site that despite being an avid iTunes user, he found
himself "drawn to Windows Media Player 11" because it "offers
dramatically better performance" than iTunes."

LOL, Paul Thurrott is an M$ tool, what else is he going to say but
gush over a Microsoft product... pretty much the same as any CNET
"news" :/
Posted by BobBobBobBobBobBobBob (49 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Better performance
I'm running a Powerbook G3 Series Mac laptop with 10.2.8
and it performs admirably with iTunes.

On its way from Suzhou China as we speak is a MacBook.
When it gets here Wednesday, within 10 minutes of delivery
I will be playing shared music from my G4.

Good luck M$.
Posted by CitizenX (522 comments )
Link Flag
Better performance? Better looking?
Paul Thurrott speaks about better performance in his
conclusion, but doesn't clarify what aspect he is referring to.

Faster at moving through the interface? Faster at loading online
store offerings? Playing back compressed audio with less CPU
overhead? What else is there?

I can imagine there could be better performance in the interface,
given that WMP is Windows native and Apple's iTunes is basically
a Mac program being emulated on Windows (look at the blue
scrollbars, etc). iTunes is still pretty smooth to use though.

For loading online content, given that it's a beta store and
doesn't yet have millions of users taking bandwidth from its
servers, I could imagine it is.

He also says WMP is better looking? After spending years being
puzzled by the cryptic little symbols dotted around the WMP
interface, all I can say is thank god for the "ugly" but simple
brushed metal iTunes.
Posted by dotmike (154 comments )
Link Flag
Paolella
... said she would consider a cheaper alternative to the iPod
"because everybody else has one."

Some people just don't get it and that's M$ only chance - mopping
up the stragglers
Posted by atlunch (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
payola?
is that what you meant?...i don't know the word you wrote
Posted by epiccollision (105 comments )
Link Flag
Everyone has one
well maybe she doesnt want to be a conformist like everyone else? or maybe she doesnt want to shell out 300-400 dollars for a MP3 player when she could get the Creative Nomad for much less at the same capacity.
Posted by CaptDave86 (30 comments )
Link Flag
The Pefect Music Service Would ...
For me, the perfect music service would be one that:

1.)Offers both pay-per-song and monthly subscription service options.

2.)Offers song downloads in both compressed and lossless formats.

Don't underestimate Microsoft's ability to eventually surpass Apple, and don't underestimate Apple's ability to "blow it". The battle has just started - check back in another five years.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The PC do that
I don't know about URGE, but I know that other services have the option of the subscription with permanent downloads at a discount, if that is what you were talking about.
Posted by darrius3365 (98 comments )
Link Flag
Hey! Clue-by-fours are on sale, go get one...
Actually, the battle started several years ago. This isn't MS's first attempt at trying to steal the jewels from the iTunes/iPod crown. If I'm not mistaken, the URGE/WMP combo will be their third failed attempt.

Gee MS, you must be getting old. It only took you one attempt with Netscape!
Posted by The_Raven (50 comments )
Link Flag
Typo in your comment:
I think you meant to write:

Don't underestimate Apple's ability to always surpass Microsoft at
everything they do, before they 'do' it, and don't underestimate
Microsoft's ability to "blow".
Posted by Byronic (95 comments )
Link Flag
I agree
I agree that apple could blow it, but one of the biggest hurdles of the new Urge service is that WMA is totally non mac compatable. Microsoft doesn't want it to be nor does apple. It will impinge on Apples "Ecosystem". When you are marketing a product to 30% of the users thats also a problem. Also take into consideration that yeah all the online music is cool but still most people would prefer to buy a cD and make it MP3.

Optimally if APple wanted to squish Microsoft they would need to:
1. Offer a cheaper subscription service (mind you you can't put these on your MP3 player (no one is talking about that!)) Maybe tie it in to .Mac
2. A new more inovative player iPod Video 2.0
3. A new more robust player.

Apple is dominant... but they have blown dominance b4.

PS- im an apple fan
Posted by orbital318 (34 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Windows Media Player for Mac
Microsoft has made Windows Media Player for Mac and is available at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.microsoft.com/mac/otherproducts/otherproducts.aspx?pid=windowsmedia" target="_newWindow">http://www.microsoft.com/mac/otherproducts/otherproducts.aspx?pid=windowsmedia</a>

I am not sure if it would play protected music. But it can sure play wma and wmv files. I recently read somewhere that Microsoft would stop making newer versions of Windows Media Player and Internet Explorer for Mac. I think this makes sense as the market share of Apple is only 3% and it may not be economically viable to make products for that market
Posted by ggupta7 (137 comments )
Link Flag
Dont forget 4.
Apple needs to stop the horrific commercials.

My butt cheeks could come up with better advertising than that..I thought Apple was a great marketing company...Guesss not.

ps: 1/16th apple fan.
Posted by sysjunky (16 comments )
Link Flag
Still has a long way to go
A few quotes from the article stood out:

"Technology critic Paul Thurrott, for example, gushed in a review on his Web site that despite being an avid iTunes user, he found himself "drawn to Windows Media Player 11" because it "offers dramatically better performance" than iTunes."

That's a subjective statement! I prefer a simple user interface where everything is easily accessible. Podcast, Audiobooks, TV Shows, soon movies, and oh also 2 million songs. That to me is a dramatically better performance. You want Audiobooks (Audible is in partnership with Apple), go into the Audiobooks section, one-click, and a few seconds later the book is downloaded ready to sync with your iPod. No signing into different accounts, or going into different services, everything is integrated into iTunes.

"The products by Apple's rivals only confuse consumers," said Shaw Wu, a financial analyst with American Technology Research. "The public doesn't know their names or which device is better from the next. Apple's approach is pretty simple and straightforward."

Exactly.

"For a company to win the digital music market, say analysts, it needs to duplicate that stereo system simplicity."

That's the very reason Apple has taken the lead (with help from advertising sure). Consumer electronics are not PCs. They are consumer electronics and should be simple enough for the average consumer who wants to transition from a Sony Walkman to do so. I laugh when I see PVP/MP3 trying to replicate the Windows PC environment using (Folders, Root file, etc).

A good start but ways to go to catch up to the iPod/iTunes

iTunes is in twenty-one countries
Music, TV Shows, Vid/Potcast, Audiobooks, all integrated beautifully into iTunes, that then syncs an exact replica to the iPod, no guess work needed.
Posted by daveworld (123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
People get too used to the interface
I have been using Windows Media player for last couple of years and I am completly used to the interface, tips and tricks associated with it. In some cases I find iTunes harder to use than WMP. Same is the case with people using iTunes who try out WMP. So, the answer to the question "which one is easier to use" will be different for different people.

Audible might be easier to use with iTunes, but it works equally good with other devices. Audible is compatible with more than a hundred 'non-iPod' portable music players. Besides, how many people use Audible anyways? I haven't met even one yet.

Microsoft is trying to have a stereo system like simplicity with it's Windows XP Media Center Edition and a newer version in upcoming Vista. It integrates all the media, from Videos, Pictures, Music and TV into one unit, which until now was not possible with a stereo system. If you try it once, you will know what I am talking about
Posted by ggupta7 (137 comments )
Link Flag
Why root for Microsoft?
Can someone please explain to me why it s a bad thing
Microsoft is the underdog in this space?

Don't they already dominate enough with their respective
monopolies?
Posted by dotmike (154 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Indeed
Just imagine if Apple did not get into this space. Would we have much of a choice in codec today, besides WMA?

But hey competition is good for consumers, thanks Apple.
Posted by daveworld (123 comments )
Link Flag
Why Root For Closed Apple Dominance?
Competition is good for the consumer.

At least with Microsoft music software, users can choose different music player hardware, and different music services.

iPod/iTunes is a closed Apple-only system.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Link Flag
Why root for Apple?
Can someone please explain to me why it s a good thing
Apple is the monopoly in this space?
Posted by mcepat (118 comments )
Link Flag
Meanwhile...
...iPods continue to sell like hotcakes!
Posted by The_Raven (50 comments )
Reply Link Flag
my take
apple's itunes and and ipod set up is a wonderful thing. i don't own an ipod though, and probably never will. they have done a great job creating simplicity with their system, and it's true, nothing that MS ever does will be as simple. that's because (like has been said a million times) MS doesn't have control and make the player and the DL service. so right now, that's easily enough incentive to stick with them, or jump on the apple bandwagon right now.

their problems are going to start happening when two things occur:
1. companies start consistantly making players as good and better than apple
2. the ipod craze/fad/etc wears off

i'm not saying thier whole dominance is because of the image they've created, but it largely is. they created a valid image as "the mp3 player" because it was the best. but it's been seen over and over that as everyone gets an ipod (dick cheney has one for God's sake, how uncool is that??) people will want one less and less. as those sentiments grow, someone will come out with a great player and give everyone who didnt' want an ipod the option they're looking for.

that's where apple's problems will start. another player will become all the rage and people will say "wow, that's hot, i want it!" but when they have to stick with an ipod because apple closed the system, there will be massive backlash by the people who bought one because it was an ipod and not because they're the "apple faithful." granted, some people will stay because they can't justify giving up the library they've purchased, but they'll cease to preach the "apple gospel" of how great it is.

apple needs to open up it's DRM to stay dominant or they will have to make the hands down best MP3/video players or they will see the rock on one side and hard place on the other.
Posted by RayGentry (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Exact same situationonly different
"Of course, tech historians may recall that Apple's go-it-alone
approach to the PC was one of the reasons Microsoft ultimately
gained control of the desktop. People initially scoffed at
Microsoft's operating system. But with every new version, it got
a little better. Microsoft also partnered with far more PC and
software makers and, ultimately, drove Apple into a corner of
the market."

This quote slays me. The situation with Mac vs. PC was entirely
different than what we now have with iPods vs. everybody else.
Business &#38; Corporate IT made MS what it is today. The Mac
NEVER, ever had more than 10 to 20 % market share at it's
height. If Apple had made a seamless transition between the
Apple II and the Mac, it might have held on to the early lead it
had with personal computers. Apple was also one of the worst
managed companies from the late 80s to the late 90s. That had
more to do with their small market share than their "failure" to
license the OS.
With the iPod, however, corporate IT is not part of the equation.
The iPod is a purely consumer product and consumers are
unwilling to put up with the same crap from MS that corporate
types seem to accept blindly.
Posted by Timothy Bandy (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Buy Tim a drink!
Insightful. Intelligent.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Link Flag
MS Consultant the Only Mildly Positive Review?
So, the only evidence you found is a paid MS consultant who said he might switch to WMA 11?

That's a fine bit of reporting - and of course, dragging misapplied history into the equation. When MS controls a monopoly (desktop, servers), they are deadly (to most companies and as governments have determined - illegal) but when they have a fair fight where CONSUMERS get to choose - they do not choose MS because unlike corporations, we are NOT willing to pay for something that might work years down the line ... hence MS's failure in MSN, the internet search, MS watches, MS home networking, etc, etc ... even the XBox has cost them $10 billion dollars to sell 25 million boxes - success?

MTV has been selling music online for YEARS 9in case you decide to do research next time) and so has MS without success - and the latest reviews, WMA 11 is still difficult to use ... and ipod competitors? Like the one you cited? The screen turns itself off after a minute - no, not dims itself - TURNS ITSELF OFF ...

Yes, right now, the only people who are not buying ipods are:

a) cheapskates
b) people with psychological problems in buying anything popular - that if it's popular, it must be dumb.

That's not much of an audience. It is an audience - just not much of one because they will CLEARLY not be buying tracks online because they are cheapskates.

Is it better than before ... but it's 1965 and MS is B&#38;W and the ipod is COLOR TV - what are you going to buy so you don't have to explain to your neighbors?
Posted by jbelkin (167 comments )
Reply Link Flag
cnet rating and who's being cheap
Both Windows Media Palyer 11 and iTunes 6 got a rating of 8.0 on CNET review. So, it's not only 'the paid consultant' who is saying this.

and think before you use the work cheapskates for people who don't buy their music online... Just in case you don't know, 95% music is still sold through conventional means like CDs and cassettes and only 5% is sold online. I think the word is 'Smart Buying' which most appropriatly describes people who don't buy iPods and don't fall into the viscious cycle of iTunes store and iPod.

Like someone said before on one of these forums, apple has sold 50 million iPods and 1 billion tracks, giving an average of only 20 tracks per iPod. So either they are big fools, buying a 30 gig iPod to store only 20 songs or they are buying it elsewhere (outside iTunes), or in your own words, being cheap. And if you are an iPod owner, you fall in one of these two categories.
Posted by ggupta7 (137 comments )
Link Flag
exactly
microsoft hit a grandslam by corning the corporte market, and of course employees had to be "compatible" with the office so it translated in the home PC sales. However I've been stunned to see Google, Yahoo and Apple run rings around them of late, and it will likely get worse.

I guess they will have to bundle every song known to man in the next version of Windows.
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Link Flag
Such a DUMB Article!
This Author has no CLUE to what actually happened, he mistakenly thinks the Macintosh has low marketshare because "Apple went it's own way"

WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It has lower marketshare for 2 main reasons. 1st and foremost is Steve Jobs LEFT in 1985, 2 years into the early days of the Mac. If this wouldn't have happened, Macs would enjoy very similar marketshare that the iPod enjoys today and will for decades to come.

2nd, when Steve left Apple management maintained high pricing when they should have became real and lowered pricing to keep Windows out of the market. Apple is doing EXACTLY that with the iPod so there is no way a 2nd competitor can emerge.

So PLEASE Wake UP to the FACT, the Mac Marketshare is NO WAY related to iPod Marketshare, unless you TOTALLY ignore what actually happen.

Wise up Authors... you don't have a CLUE when you spout nonsense, based on the WRONG FACTS.

Both the iPod and new Macs running OSX will increase marketshare for many years to come.

-
Posted by OS11 (844 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why don't you write one....
Yeah! You should apply for a job at cnet and write about what you think is correct. Should we expect to see your articles here 10-15 yrs down the line.

Or if you think you can't accomplish that, maybe you shouldn't read the articles on this website...
Posted by ggupta7 (137 comments )
Link Flag
Apple is great!
I agree. I am a long time Windows user, still have it because I need it for work. But when it came time to buy a new computer, I went straight to the Apple store, pulled out my Visa Card and my studen ID to get a $300 discount and purchased a brand new G5 (which I love). MS never came out with a product that I like to much.

I must admit in liking their xbox 360, but that's about it. I like the Office Excel/Access, but I think Office 2007 will mess all that up and I am going to be a hater of that update.
Posted by rmiecznik (224 comments )
Link Flag
In all honesty.....
I can't see the sense on why people want to give Microsoft more
money?

They basically haven't produced anything significant in the last
few years except security updates. They have an OS that has
stalled in production several times. The OS is practically five
years old already and has never been out of beta in its five year
history. They have a gaming machine that will eventually lose to
Sony's Playstation. They've come up with such a gimmicky online
service that only serves to extract more money from its
customers called LIVE. They have an online music service that
really in all honesty, won't show any real profit unless Itunes and
Ipod all of a sudden disappear. They are seriously trying to
compete in search by using their aging brand name in the hopes
that people will still view them as a competitor, certainly there
hasn't been any real innovativeness coming out of Redmond in
the last five years except, to be frank their practice of copying
others. I mean how long should this lie of a company surivive....
and how does Microsoft existence help consumers if they
haven't really shown any real innovativeness in this industry?
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
WMP interface
I recently installed Windows Media Player 11 and was quite impressed with the user interface. Before this I hadn't used much albumart, but WMP 11 made adding albumart a breeze. I did some image search on google and drag n dropped images in WMP 11. It can't get any easier.

Just look at these screenshots: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.winsupersite.com/images/reviews/wmp11_review_06.jpg" target="_newWindow">http://www.winsupersite.com/images/reviews/wmp11_review_06.jpg</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.winsupersite.com/images/reviews/wmp11_review_03.jpg" target="_newWindow">http://www.winsupersite.com/images/reviews/wmp11_review_03.jpg</a>


This time, let's see if iTunes copies this feature to be as nice looking as WMP 11
Posted by ggupta7 (137 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Buy a clue
This has been a no-brainer in iTunes since before the iTunes
music store. And, you don't have to drag and drop each one,
you can do your entire library automatically. Or, haven't you
been paying attention? I see from your other comments that
you have a psychological problem with anything Apple.

Drag and drop actually WORKS in media player? Wow, that IS
news! You mean it 'works' in the Microsoft sense (hardly at all)
or in the Apple sense (as any rational person would expect.)
Posted by Byronic (95 comments )
Link Flag
Paul's real conclusion--he's not switching from iTunes
CNet didn't print the full conclusion. Here is the missing excerpt:

"Despite being an avid iTunes user for the past few years, I find
myself drawn to Windows Media Player 11. It's better looking,
has a better user interface, and offers dramatically better
performance than Apple's entry. What's lacking are iPod
integration and a few iTunes-related niceties that I've come to
expect, such as integrated support for podcasts and a decent
tag editor. Unfortunately, these are basically must-have items
for me, so I won't be switching to WMP 11."
Posted by chabig83 (535 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Did you know....
I am sure you must have heard about the Blu-ray Disc and the HD DVD which are two competing formats for the next generation of DVDs.

In case you don't know, Blu-ray Disc is backed a quite a few companies including Apple and similarly, HD DVD is suppored by a couple of companies including Microsoft.

Here come the interesting part.... Blu-ray disc supports Windows Media 9 codec, which means, it would play WMV and WMA files. Just in case you don't believe me, follow the link <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.bluraydisc.com/top/search/Article-14883.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.bluraydisc.com/top/search/Article-14883.html</a>

and.. it doesn't support MOV and AAC format

...and just to remind the Apple fanatics... Apple supports Blu-ray and Microsoft doesn't
Posted by ggupta7 (137 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Very nice
As soon as iTunes became available for Windows(or as soon as I found out it was), I immediately downloaded and have used it ever since. It was just a fantastic and easy way to organize music(even though I had no iPod). While making some internet rounds I saw that the new WMP 11 Beta was up and just decided to download it thinking, "what could happen?"

What actually happened is now I'm using WMP 11 more than I'm using iTunes. It's extremely easy to use(then again, I've had experience in most mainstream media players). Plus the fact that I can hook up mu Nano to it has stopped me from using iTunes almost completely. I do however regurlarly check iTunes for podcasts, since I was amazingly dissapointed that WMP doesn't offer support for that(or if it does, it's not boasted as it in iTunes)

I say to everyone to at least try it. Reviews however positive or negative, do not give an accurate representation of the design of this player. Fantastic Microsoft, you've won me over, for now.
Posted by Sil3nt71 (51 comments )
Reply Link Flag
An MS shill if I EVER heard one...
Wow.. almost TOO blatantly an MS plant. You guys in marketing need to learn how to tone it down just a bit...

Really.
Posted by peaceguy (43 comments )
Link Flag
Cute...
Oh, let's cut the crap. The iPod's so cute you just WANT to have one, which is more than I'll ever so abaout the offerings of sony and the like... As long as that is the case, I guess Jobs doesn't have to bother that much.
Posted by huddie klein (70 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MICROSOFT SHILLS ARE POSTING ON MEDIA PLAYER ARTCLE
Here.
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS should also kill Symantec, another market lost to monopoly
So, MS can't protect it's software from virus, spam, etc, so what is it
doing? It's entering a market (antivirus) that has been vibrant (there
are so many holes to patch!) and will close that market because no
can compete after MS enters a market.

Try getting Venture Capital for any software that competes head to
head with Office, or Windows, or Powerpoint, or...
Game over for Symantec and they know it. Others will follow. Open
market? Competition? Choice?
Posted by technewsjunkie (1265 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Paid for Full Urge--It Didn't Work
My son wanted the full experience, so we input my credit card number for the full Urge ($14.95) service. It didn't work. Couldn't synch songs with his "Plays for Sure", certified on the MS website player. Checked the FAQs and there was no help there. Turned off the account. Now I expect I'll have to battle a credit card charge for a service that was not delivered as advertised.

Maybe he'll be back when they fix it. Maybe he won't. Personally, I don't listen to RIAA music and would just as soon my son boycotted them, too.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Works well
As I am price aware, I opted for a expandable flash based Sandisk unit which is Plays For Sure certified.

I have absolutely no issues with synching this unit with WMP10 right out of the box. I'm sure it is as easy as using the Apple combo.

WMP11 is a nice upgrade in looks.

I'll take my money saved vs purchasing an Apple product and be able to purchase more content.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You're definitely a MS shill
It's so obviously apparent.

Please stop it.

: )
Posted by peaceguy (43 comments )
Link Flag
My WMA 11 Review
I think WMP 11 is a big improvement upon WMP 10. The biggest improvement was the way album art is integrated into the system. Looking at album art in my CD case makes me remember what I have more than looking at a long list of songs, which is the method used in WMP 10 (to an extent) and iTunes and eveything else out there. So, when this feature was included in WMP 11, I was really excited. My library seems more organized now. URGE has a lot of potential as well. I am not a heavy music purchaser, most of the stuff I want that isn't on URGE (and MSN) isn't on iTunes either.

The only problem I have is the inability to play music from old Creative Jukebox Zen NX player in WMP11. I have a 4 year old computer with a 20GB hard drive, so I can't put all of my CDs on my computer. I don't know if this is an "old MP3 player" issue or what. I can still add and delete tracks though. And the library is managed the same as the library on my computer.

WMP 11 is a great product and it has tons of potential.
Posted by darrius3365 (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stop yelling shill and actually review it
I think everyone needs to stop yelling "shill" "fanboy" etc and actually review the software. For disclosure, I am a Windows user that uses Itunes on all my computers for music. I have used it since the first time it came out on PC. I downloaded Media Player 11 and have used it for a little bit. It is miles ahead of Media Player 10 already and in its final release will be even farther I suspect. The simplicity of Itunes can't be matched, but this new player is intriguing to me. The interface is extremely smooth and responsive, and yes I know Itunes works much better on a mac, but the fact remains this one is more responsive. I can only deal in reality. I still don't like how this and itunes make playlists, but that is a seperate issue. The volume and other things at the bottom of the default skin is more to my taste than itunes, but that is personal preference.

So to not get into the details, my overall findings was that itunes still rocks in main interface simplicity and ease of finding things. However, for ripping, organizing, and syncing things media player wins by a wide margin. The album organization is awesome and fast too. I looked online for reviews on media player 11 and there are good review almost across the board from a wide variety of different people. The nice thing is that MS actually brought something of their own to the table this time instead of purely ripping off itunes. I still think I will use Itunes in the near future anyway.
Posted by tsm26 (81 comments )
Reply Link Flag
GIVE ME A BREAK CNET
what a bogus story. I've read news.com every day for years. It's about to come end.

...and didn't that iRiver line just get canceled?
sheesh
Posted by df561 (94 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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