Analysts say Windows Media format will remain dominant!

Microsoft Corp. has strategically nurtured its Windows Media Player, making it by far the world’s most dominant program for playing digital music and video on computers. Rival RealNetworks Inc.’s product ranks a very distant second.It’s not just that Media Player has long been bundled with the Windows operating system, giving consumers an easy way to handle multimedia files without the need to download others.

News source: eWeek There’s another big reason:

Many companies in the fast-growing market of digital media—from online music providers to the makers of portable audio players—have already chosen Microsoft as a primary multimedia format.

One example of the many partnerships Microsoft has successfully pursued: users of Napster’s online music service must have recent versions of the Windows Media Player in order to play downloaded songs, create a song library or transfer any tunes to a portable player.

The Redmond, Wash. titan has also worked hard to win the backing of Hollywood for distributing digital movies and other entertainment using Microsoft’s copy-protection technologies. Such partnerships later ensure that Windows software will be needed for playback.

And in the same symbiotic ecosystem, many consumer electronics companies are thus including components that will support Microsoft’s multimedia technologies.

That’s why analysts think the EU’s ruling—ordered implemented immediately by a European court on Wednesday—that Microsoft be forced to offer a Windows version in Europe without the Media Player will do little to tame the software giant.

“Microsoft is basically establishing itself as the most popular technology, and I don’t expect this decision to change that much,” said Paul DeGroot, an analyst with independent researchers Directions on Microsoft.

Microsoft’s multimedia technology is now simply too ingrained in the industry.


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