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Amazon Signs Deal To Use Windows Media 9

Amazon Signs Deal To Use Windows Media 9

by , 11:00 AM EDT, May 27th, 2003

Amazon.com late last week signed an agreement with Microsoft for the usage of the Windows Media 9 format for streaming music samples to customers from it's family of Web sites. Currently music samples are available in both Real One and Windows Media formats on Amazon's site. From the NewsFactor story:

Amazon vice president Curtis Kopf said the upgrade is aimed at ensuring customers have "the best possible online shopping experience" and that the instant-on capability of the Microsoft product "virtually eliminates waiting times and enables our customers to have instantly gratifying listening experiences."

Kopf said Loudeye Corp. helped Amazon develop and deploy the specific configuration of Windows Media 9 it is using.

Although the choice of Windows Media Player is a key part of Amazon's long-term strategy of providing a smooth and impressive shopping environment for customers, it may be even more important to Microsoft, which is locked in a fierce battle with RealNetworks and Apple for the upper hand in the streaming media market.

In fact, Microsoft made waves when it released its 9 series products by sharply lowering prices, a move seen by many as an attempt to elbow out rivals by using its deep pockets. to extend its mastery of the desktop and operating platform to the up-and-coming home entertainment niche. At its debut, licensing for Windows Media 9 was about half the price of some comparable competing platforms.

Much more information and analyst comments on this agreement can be found in the original story.

The Mac Observer Spin:

This is officially bad news for Apple. Amazon is the king daddy of online retailers, and the technology that it uses to deliver online music samples will be used by literally millions of consumers, if not tens of millions. Had that technology been QuickTime 6, with its standards-based MPEG-4 foundation, many, many people would have been exposed to the technology. As it is, this is a feather in the cap of Microsoft, and a blow to Apple's attempts at making QuickTime the preeminent multimedia platform.

It would be interesting to know how much the success of Apple's iTunes Music Store (iMS) played in this decision. Amazon would be right to see the iMS as a threat to its own online sales of music, but we would rather see the online behemoth partner with Apple by offering its own version of the iMS, than to partner with Microsoft, and its closed, controlling, and proprietary technologies, in delivering online samples. TMO, however, was not asked for our opinion.

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