REDMOND, Wash., May 22, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today made several announcements that demonstrate widespread support for Windows Media Technologies and illustrate how the company continues to lead in providing consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality and integrated digital rights management.
“Only Windows Media offers the technology platform necessary to take digital media mainstream,” said Kevin Unangst, group product manager of Microsoft’s Digital Media Division.
Third-Party Verification of Scalability and Reliability
Results from a new report by ZD Labs have verified the streaming scalability and reliability of Microsoft Windows Media Services, reporting a 99.9999999 percent accuracy rate in delivering over 26 billion packets of data on the Windows 2000 Advanced Server platform. The report also confirmed that Microsoft’s digital media technology is able to distribute more than 9,000 concurrent narrowband and more than 2,400 broadband video streams on a single physical server. Microsoft is challenging the digital media industry to publicly disclose the scalability and reliability of streaming server technology to allow customers to evaluate solutions for themselves.
“Third-party verification of product claims is what keeps this industry competitive, and arms customers with the critical information they need to make informed decisions,” said Mark Van Name, vice president and general manager of ZD Labs. “We join Microsoft in inviting others in the digital media industry to do the same.”
Top network operators, content providers and enterprise customers depend on the Windows Media Services in Windows 2000 Server and Advanced Server to offer the highest possible streaming scalability while minimizing server costs.
“This study, together with tools such as Microsoft’s load simulator software and the open disclosure of ZD Labs testing methodology, demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to freely providing our customers with the information and tools they need to make the best educated decision before selecting their streaming media platform,” Unangst said.
Streaming Media Leader Among Enterprise Customers
Enterprise customers are choosing Windows Media over competing technologies as their digital media solution because it is more cost-effective, provides better integration with existing network and software environments, and has proven reliability and superior scalability.
Market Decisions Corp. (MDC), another independent research firm, found in its April 2000 study of 1,200 large organizations that 46 percent of those using streaming media choose Windows Media, compared to 43 percent for RealNetworks. The study also found that the use of streaming media in large organizations has doubled from 10 percent to 20 percent since October 1999, indicating that the use of streaming media among enterprise organizations is growing dramatically.
“This strong growth illustrates how streaming media is becoming more and more critical to knowledge workers,” Unangst said. “More enterprise customers — including Aetna, Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab, Dow Chemical and many others — are choosing Windows Media over other streaming media technologies.”
Thirteen Localized Windows Media Player 7 Media Guides
Microsoft has expanded its efforts to make audio and video content in Windows Media format accessible to global audiences through localized Media Guides, found in Windows Media Player 7, which offer direct access from the player to featured audio and video content. More than 260 top content providers worldwide will supply international content for the 13 planned international versions of the Media Guide. To provide even more international content for Windows Media users, edel music, Europe’s largest independent record label, has chosen Windows Media as its preferred format and will begin digital downloads from its catalog this summer.
“The 13 international media guides are just the latest example of Microsoft’s leadership in providing digital media technologies for consumers and content providers worldwide,” Unangst said.
Windows Media Player 7, now available in a beta version, offers a unified way to find, organize and play digital media, and provides one-click access to the most common digital media activities.
“Digital media is a worldwide phenomenon, and we are committed to providing the best audio and video experience to computer users around the globe,” said Dave Fester, general manager of marketing for Microsoft’s Digital Media Division.
Industry’s First Streaming Screen-Capture Technology
Windows Media screen-capture technology has experienced widespread support since it was unveiled last month. Leading independent software vendors and digital media service providers have praised the new technology, which is designed for real-time streaming of computer-generated content.
A combination of customer input and intensive work by developers in Microsoft’s Digital Media Division, Windows Media screen-capture technology is able to capture and stream computer motion without any loss in image quality or screen content.
“The Windows Media screen-capture technology has experienced unprecedented acceptance by software developers and service providers since being unveiled last month,” Unangst said. “This level of demand demonstrates that our continuing innovation is meeting the needs of our partners and customers.”
The growing momentum behind Windows Media Technologies demonstrates strong industry-wide support for Microsoft’s continued delivery of innovative technologies and services. The Windows Media player, available in 24 languages, is the fastest-growing digital media player: to date, there are over 100 million licensed copies of the player — and that number is growing by one every second.