Tag Archives: windows_media_player

Microsoft's Zune Competes with Microsoft

I don’t get it. Should I be using Napster, URGE, or Zune? Should I be using the Clix or the Zune? Should I be using Windows Media Player 11 or the Zune Marketplace software? There are too many choices, many of which are not interoperable, coming to me from the same company: Microsoft. Instead of simplifying the market, they’ve made it slightly more complicated with Zune (and likely pissed off countless partners in the process).

So, on one hand, I’m being told that URGE in combo with WMP is the way to go. On the other hand, I’m being told that Zune is the way to go (hardware, software, subscription) is the way to go. I certainly appreciate that there’s somewhat of a unified experience with Zune, but… now I have one more subscription to worry about… one more piece of software to worry about… and yet more choices that seem to completely nullify earlier efforts of Microsoft (itself) and its partners.

That I can see, there’s no clear cross-over between the Zune and Windows Media Center, for me to take my recorded shows on the go (since the Zune plays video). There’s no interaction with any other Microsoft product other than Windows. There’s no path to personalized media (podcasting, DVD ripping, etc.). In the interviews I’ve read, all of this is by design.

It’s almost like Microsoft is competing with itself – like it’s taking a mulligan on all earlier efforts in the digital media space.

MP4 Support in WMP11

Don’t count on MP4 playback out of the box in the next version of the Windows Media Player. I filed this “bug” a few months ago, but apparently not supporting MP4 (by default) in WMP11 is a feature: “Spend the money. Pre-install the codec. The PSP relies on it, the iPod relies on it, and Microsoft should have had its hands in one MP4 spec or another. Drop the political bullsh*t and just do it for the sake of your users who don’t know what’s going on.” Their response this morning was simple: “This is currently expected behavior.” Expected behavior? Language barrier. Perhaps Microsoft is hoping that more people install and use iTunes. I’m not sure why? Meanwhile, I’m looking at my iRiver Clix and wondering… why can’t it support the leading video format?