Microsoft Releases New Windows Media Player 7 Bonus Pack With MP3 Converter for the Holidays

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 4, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today released the free Bonus Pack for the Microsoft® Windows Media™ Player 7 that includes a tool which enables users to double the amount of music stored on their PCs by converting MP3 files into the more efficient Windows Media Audio format, exciting new skins and visualizations, and a tool to convert existing Winamp skins into Windows Media Player skins. To brighten up desktops for the holidays, the Bonus Pack includes a fun visualization of a snowman that dances to music, and fans of Windows Media Player 7 can download a special animated, seasonal skin that offers streamed holiday music courtesy of MSN® .

A new comprehensive end-user study released today by Millward Brown shows that three out of four digital media users prefer Windows Media Player 7 to RealPlayer 8 and RealJukebox 8. The study showed that Windows Media Player 7 was easier to use for a broad range of common digital media tasks, and of those who preferred Windows Media Player 7, 97 percent would recommend the player to their friends. In addition, the study showed that more than 75 percent of the users were satisfied or very satisfied with the Windows Media Player, compared with a 43 percent dissatisfaction rate with the RealPlayer 8.

“The results of this study prove that we built the right software to make digital media easy,”
said Dave Fester, general manager of marketing for the Digital Media Division at Microsoft.
“Not only is the Windows Media Player 7 the best way for all users to enjoy digital media, the new Bonus Pack builds on this vision and offers an early holiday present from Microsoft to the many millions of people who have chosen Windows Media Player 7.”

The Bonus Pack includes a variety of tools and enhancements to make Windows Media Player 7 even more versatile and fun:

  • MP3 converter. Audio Converter 3.0 Limited Edition enables users to double the amount of music stored on their PC quickly and easily by converting their legacy MP3 files to Windows Media Audio files. Because Windows Media Audio offers CD-quality sound in half the file size of MP3, music fans can double their playing time on PCs and portable music players.

  • Winamp Skin Importer. This tool quickly converts any of the thousands of existing Winamp skins into Windows Media Player 7 skins, enabling users to enjoy a broad range of customized playback.

  • New player skins. Eight skins transform not only the look of the player but also its functionality. The Bonus Pack includes new skins such as Gyrosphere, Figure8, Atomic and Bluesky as well as some of the most popular skins from WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ), including the Digital DJ skin. When users simply tell the Digital DJ what they want to hear — such as artist, genre or song length — the skin builds a customized playlist of the selected music.

  • Visualizations. Eight new collections of stunning visualizations move in time to the music, including Eclectic Colors, StarTime, Blazing Colors, Softie the Snowman, Kid Drawing and more.

  • PowerToys. Three PowerToys — the Deluxe CD Data Converter, the Most Recently Used Cleaner and the PowerToys skin — enable advanced users to import track information collected by the Deluxe CD Player or Microsoft CD Player into the Windows Media Player database, to easily clear the Windows Media Player most recently used file list and to manage their Windows Media Player 7 media libraries more effectively.

The Bonus Pack and the special holiday skin are available for free download now through WindowsMedia.com or directly at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/bonuspack.asp . In addition to the skins and visualizations included in the Bonus Pack, Windows Media Player 7 users can choose from a growing selection of skins and visualizations available at WindowsMedia.com.

Consumers Strongly Prefer Windows Media

A new study by Millward Brown, one of the world’s top 10 market research organizations, surveyed consumers in three major markets in the United States on their consumer satisfaction with, and preference for, digital media players. The study found that 76 percent of the consumers surveyed preferred Windows Media Player 7 to RealPlayer 8 and RealJukebox 8, primarily citing Windows Media Player 7’s greater ease of use.

In particular, when users were asked to perform specific tasks, they decisively preferred Windows Media Player 7 over RealPlayer 8 and RealJukebox 8 for copying songs from the CD to the PC, using the media guide to play songs, changing skins, recording CDs and transferring music to a portable player. Results of the study are available at http://msmedia.millwardbrown.com/ . Millward Brown is part of The Kantar Group, the information and consultancy arm of WPP plc.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated rights-management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK) for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 24 languages, is the fastest-growing media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows Media and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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