FREMONT, Calif., and REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 27, 1999 — Cirrus Logic Inc. and Microsoft Corp. today announced a technology agreement that will deliver immediate support for the Microsoft® Windows Media TM Audio format and digital rights management solution in the new Cirrus Logic® Maverick TM line of Internet audio chips. This agreement marks a major milestone: Cirrus Logic, the market leader in audio chips worldwide, is the first chip vendor to build in support for Windows Media Technologies 4 and to include licensing to its OEMs at no additional cost. The Windows Media-enabled Maverick chip line, with its revolutionary processor programmability, will power the next generation of portable music devices as early as this Christmas. This agreement will deliver Windows Media Audio compatible portable devices to the more than 40 million users of the Windows Media Player.
This agreement between Microsoft and Cirrus Logic delivers four key advantages for customers and portable device manufacturers:
Faster time to market for new devices. Manufacturers of portable music devices can now bring new devices supporting Windows Media Technologies 4 to market quickly and easily.
More consumer choice. Top manufacturers will soon announce Cirrus Logic-based, Windows Media-enabled portable music players that will be available as early as this Christmas.
CD-quality sound in less space. Windows Media offers CD-quality audio at half the size of MP3, enabling consumers to store more music faster on their devices without sacrificing audio quality.
Best platform for the music industry. The Maverick line of chips will contain support for Windows Media digital rights management technology, allowing storage and playback of secure, high-fidelity audio content.
“By joining with Microsoft, Cirrus Logic is making a real statement in the Internet audio industry both for portable players and a new generation of multifunction devices,”
said Matthew Perry, vice president and general manager of the Cirrus Logic Embedded Processors Division.
“By providing a low-power and flexible chip solution that includes no-cost licensing of Windows Media Technologies, and expanding on our position as the top supplier of audio integrated circuits, we aim to capture a significant percentage of the Internet audio device installed base in the next 12 months.”
According to InStat Inc., an independent research firm, use of portable music players is exploding, as consumers discover the convenience of playing digital music on the go – recorded from CDs or downloaded from the Internet. In-Stat expects the use of portable Internet audio devices to grow more than 200 percent next year.
For manufacturers of portable music devices, today’s announcement will ease the delivery of new, high-quality devices to market that support Windows Media Technologies. Because this unprecedented chip-level support of Windows Media Technologies eliminates technical porting efforts and licensing hurdles, device manufacturers can respond faster to growing customer demand.
“Cirrus and Microsoft are breaking new ground by providing a hardware and software solution for OEMs,”
said David Watkins, president of RioPort Inc.
“This kind of cooperation is a significant development in enabling a new generation of portable audio devices that offer compatibility with the RioPort platform.”
Major records labels have used Windows Media Technologies because it offers a proven digital rights management solution and unmatched audio quality. The Windows Media Rights Manager, Microsoft’s digital rights management platform, has been designed in anticipation of meeting the requirements of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI).
As part of the agreement, Microsoft is providing optimized software versions of Windows Media Technologies 4 for the industry-leading Maverick chip line. Because the Maverick chips are based on an ARM-based programmable core processor, manufacturers of portable digital audio players can deliver additional features and functionality, combining Windows Media software with a broad range of value-added software features such as equalization, tone control or audio track data display. These features, with the core Internet audio processing capabilities, run together seamlessly on the Cirrus Logic solution, providing a feature set that enables manufacturers to differentiate their products.
“Microsoft is excited to work with Cirrus Logic, the leading audio chip manufacturer, to break down the barriers in the development of the next generation of portable music devices,”
said Anthony Bay, general manager, Streaming Media Division, Microsoft.
“Today’s announcement is a great example of how the Windows Media platform dramatically extends the possibilities of digital music for consumers and device manufacturers alike.”
These new Windows Media-enabled chips are scheduled to be available to manufacturers within two weeks. Accordingly, manufacturers will have the opportunity to build and deliver products based on the Windows Media-enabled Maverick chip line in time for the 1999 holiday season. The first two chips available in this line will be the EP7209 model and the new EP7212 announced separately today by Cirrus Logic.
About the Cirrus Logic Maverick Line of Internet Audio Chips
The Maverick line of chips from Cirrus Logic makes use of an ARM 720T TM general-purpose processing core, performing both the digital signal processing (DSP) functions that decompress the digital music and the CPU functions that control the player, the user interface and the digital rights management. Beginning with the Maverick EP7209, and including the new EP7212 announced today by Cirrus Logic, the Cirrus Logic chip solutions include a host of built-in peripheral functions such as flash memory control and direct PC connectivity, thus minimizing the total system cost and reducing overall power consumption in a portable digital audio player. The EP7212 announced today extends the same technology to an emerging category of multifunction devices that incorporate Internet audio. And by using the general purpose ARM® processing core for DSP functions, new or improved audio algorithms can be quickly and seamlessly implemented in products based on the EP7209 and EP7212, allowing OEMs to take their products from zero to market in Internet time TM .
About Windows Media Technologies
Windows Media Technologies is a leading digital media platform that provides consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies 4, which includes Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and Windows Media Audio SDK, is available for free download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ (connect-time charges may apply). Over 40 million copies – at a rate growing by more than one every second – of the free Windows Media Player have been downloaded to date.
WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ), part of the MSN TM network of Internet services, is the fastest-growing major audio and video guide on the Internet. WindowsMedia.com provides access to localized audio and video content users worldwide, including over 700 radio stations and major music and video events from more than 1,000 content providers.
About Cirrus Logic
Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq
) is a premier supplier of high-performance analog circuits and advanced mixed-signal chip solutions. The company’s products, sold under its own name and the Crystal product brand, enable system-level applications in mass storage, audio and precision data conversion. Additional information about Cirrus Logic is available at http://www.cirrus.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 MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Cirrus Logic is a registered trademark and Maverick and from zero to market in Internet time are trademarks of Cirrus Logic Inc. ARM is a registered trademark and ARM 720T is a trademark of ARM Ltd.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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