Verizon rumors that Microsoft is blocking MP3

January 12, 2006

I have a cold, so I’m a bit cranky tonight. Can someone please add this one to snopes.com alongside the idea that Bill Gates will give you $5000 or a trip to Disneyland if you send some random email to 5 of your friends and family?

There have been recent reports in the blogosphere that Verizon’s new upgraded V-Cast service won’t allow users to play MP3s, and this is Microsoft’s doing. This is categorically false. Yes, Microsoft was a technology provider to Verizon to enable their new services, but in now way put restrictions on Verizon using other technologies.

<rant> I mean, come on, Microsoft added high-bitrate MP3 encoding to WMP10 (ok, it was a bit late) but at the end of the day, I don’t know of anyone wringing their hands thinking about how Microsoft can kill MP3. WMA and MP3 happily co-exist in most portable music devices (ahem, except for iPod, but you’d have to ask Mr. Jobs about that one).

Another case in the textbook on why it’s best not to assume the worst of intentions before you start pointing fingers.

5 responses to Verizon rumors that Microsoft is blocking MP3

  1. 

    You forgot </rant> 🙂 Good point though

  2. 

    However, you forget that if you have a Mac or a system with Linux, you cannot encode in WMA. So, it is not false, it’s only false if you have Windows, which we stated in the article. Also, you fail to realize that users will have to migrate music from their present library (say, iTunes) to WMP just to continue doing what they were doing before.

  3. 

    Chris,
    I fail to understand how your point is relevant to my post. The statement that Microsoft has anything to do with whether an MP3 file can be played on the phone is what I took issue with.

  4. 

    Well, I was responding to your comparison with Steve Jobs approach. Apple’s keep-it-simple model demands that wherever iTunes goes (even beyond iPod with iTunes Mobile), that MP3 follows.

    My point is, that for Windows Media to suceed it has to embrace industry standards. Making everyone from Groove Mobile (Sprint) to Verizon, to newcomers such as Cingular, mMode Music, and on, and on reinvent the wheel with having to include their own MP3 support is shooting Microsoft in the foot to spite their WMA-covered face. Apple crusades Apple Lossless, QuickTIme, AAC, even FairPlay… but they also put up the code to make sure open standards fit into their solutions. My response was in the hopes that managers at MS like yourself would step up and embrace what the rest of the market is using alongside your own solution, demand complete solutions, and crusade that as your thesis, so that maybe iTunes wouldn’t be the only working model out there.

  5. 

    But the final word on the deal will rest with the Department of Justice (DoJ), which will assess whether or not the move restricts competition too heavily in a market in which Google is already the strongest company.