REDMOND, Wash., May 3, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that major independent software vendors (ISVs) are using the Microsoft® Windows Media
Audio Software Development Kit (SDK) to integrate Windows Media Technologies 4.0 into their digital media applications. Leading software vendors including Cakewalk, MediaScience Inc. (makers of Sonique), MusicMatch Inc., Nullsoft Inc. (makers of Winamp) and Sonic Foundry Inc. are now shipping enhanced digital media applications such as media players, music jukeboxes and content-creation tools that take advantage of the superior audio quality and digital-rights management system in Windows Media 4.0. More than 1,600 copies of the Windows Media Audio SDK have been downloaded from the Microsoft Web site since the SDK was made available three weeks ago.
The PC is experiencing unprecedented growth as an entertainment platform for personal music playback, digital downloads and Internet radio. This dramatic shift in consumer behavior has encouraged technology vendors to build platforms, applications and devices that provide consumers with a compelling digital media experience and provide content owners with end-to-end solutions for digital distribution and commerce. The Windows Media Audio SDK enables easier, faster development of digital media applications, including music jukeboxes, which allow a user to create and manage a personal collection of digital music in the Windows Media 4.0 format.
“The Windows Media Audio SDK makes it easier than ever to build players, jukeboxes and content-creation tools that deliver superior audio quality, and enables content owners to build businesses around the digital distribution of music,”
said Anthony Bay, general manager, Streaming Media Division at Microsoft.
“This open platform presents a great opportunity for companies to enhance their own offerings and capitalize on the rapidly growing market for digital music distribution. We’re pleased that so many leading companies are committed to Windows Media 4.0.”
Windows Media Audio SDK Spurs Development of Value-Add Products
The Windows Media Audio SDK makes it easy for ISVs to build fully interoperable products that take advantage of superior audio quality and the rights management system in Windows Media 4.0. The Windows Media Audio SDK is readily available to developers for building Windows Media 4.0 support into a digital media application. There is no fee for encoding or decoding Windows Media audio formats on the Windows® operating system platform. The SDK’s rich feature set includes easy-to-use interfaces through which Windows Media audio files can be read and written, as well as complete access to the rich functionality of the Windows Media Rights Manager. Within a matter of hours, ISVs can have a functional application, such as a media player or content-creation tool, enabling them to participate in the expanding market for the digital distribution of music. Microsoft also plans to broadly and inexpensively license Windows Media audio functionality to developers for integrating Windows Media 4.0 into portable devices.
“Cakewalk has been developing audio products for many years, but we’ve never before had such an easy time integrating a new technology,”
said Chris Albano, executive vice president, Cakewalk.
“The Windows Media Audio SDK was so well done that one of our senior audio engineers was able to incorporate the technology into our suite of authoring tools in less than two hours.”
Consumers Enjoy Media Players and Music Jukeboxes With Exceptional Audio Quality
The burgeoning development of players and jukeboxes supporting Windows Media 4.0 offers customers unprecedented choices in the availability of digital media applications. Personal jukeboxes and music players using Windows Media 4.0 now give PC users creative license to create their own personal music collections. MusicMatch has now released a beta version of its personal jukebox software that transfers songs from conventional music CDs onto a user’s Windows-based PC in rights-managed Windows Media formats. Sonic Foundry has already released a suite of content-creation tools and plans to release its music jukebox on May 13. Users can now build a library of their favorite music as well as have the ability to mix and match songs from their CDs with downloaded music from a variety of Web sites, such as Launch.com, a leading music discovery site.
In addition to jukeboxes, consumer-friendly music players with playlists, custom
and graphical equalizers have become popular for playing music on PCs. Two leading vendors, Nullsoft and MediaScience, have added support for Windows Media 4.0 and are offering immediate product updates to their users.
Consumers are realizing tremendous benefits from the advanced compression technologies in Windows Media Technologies 4.0, which deliver remarkable audio quality. The new compression technology in Windows Media Technologies 4.0 allows users of 28.8 kbps modems to hear FM-stereo-quality radio broadcasts over the Internet for the first time. Users can also now enjoy music quality equivalent to MP3 with files that download in half the time and take half the storage space.
“Nullsoft is pleased to support Microsoft’s superior Windows Media audio compression and digital-rights management system in the Nullsoft Winamp player,”
said Justin Frankel, president of NullSoft.
“Nullsoft has fully integrated the Microsoft compression with the Winamp equalizer, visualizations and audio effects features, providing users with the most compelling audio experience.”
The Windows Media Audio SDK is available to software developers now for free download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ (connect-time charges may apply).
Consumers and content providers can download new media players, music jukeboxes and content-creation tools today from the following software vendors:
MediaScience (Sonique): http://www.sonique.com/
NullSoft (Winamp): http://www.winamp.com/
Sonic Foundry: http://www.sonicfoundry.com/
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and
personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Windows Media and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.