Hewlett-Packard has categorically denied reports that it will support Microsoftis Windows Media Audio (WMA) format in a soon-to-be-released HP-branded iPod, but did leave the door open for possible future use. In a statement from the company to The Mac Observer, a senior product marketing manager said there were never any such plans and that the company is fully behind Appleis own copy-protection scheme, known as FairPlay.
"We are not going to be supporting WMA at this time," said Muffi Ghadiali, product marketing manager for HPis digital entertainment products group. "The Apple iPod and Appleis iTunes Music Store is the most popular product and service on the planet. We considered all the existing formats, and decided it was important to support one format and not all of them so that there was no customer confusion."
"Customers donit care about the format," said Ghadiali. "They care about how it works. Ease of use is very important and thatis another reason we chose the Apple iPod and the iTunes Music Store."
When asked if WMA support might be added in the future, Ghadiali said, "I canit say what weill do in the future. Our job is to serve our customers in the best way possible. Weill see where the technology takes us moving forward."
A report surfaced last Friday stating that HP would add support for WMA in its HP-branded iPod, to be released this summer. The report came from Paul Thurrottis WinInfo newsletter, in which he stated, "You heard it here first."
Last week, HP surprised the computer industry in announcing it would resell Appleis popular iPod portable music player under its own name. The iPod is the number one selling portable music device, according to industry monitoring service NPD TechWorld, with a 31 percent marketshare.
The decision by HP to support Appleis FairPlay technology is a major development for Apple, who is competing with Microsoft and its WMA copy-protection technology, which is being used by its biggest rivals, including Wal-Mart, MusicMatch, Napster and many others. FairPlay is Appleis own version of the open source version of Advanced Audio Coding.