LOS ANGELES, Sept. 4, 2002 — This evening at the Hollywood and Highlands Complex, Microsoft Corp. announced that more than 60 companies are building digital media products and services on its next-generation digital media platform, Microsoft
Windows Media (TM) 9 Series, released for public beta today. These companies span a broad spectrum of industries — including media and entertainment, consumer electronics, software and hardware manufacturing, and service providers — all of which are building digital media products, tools and services with the new Windows Media 9 Series components (quote sheet attached). This level of support illustrates how Windows Media 9 Series is designed not just to provide breakthrough innovations in media playback and audio and video quality, but also to provide the foundation for other companies to build on, offering new ways for companies to tap these innovations to build their own businesses or reach new audiences.
“The fundamental value of a software platform is truly defined by the breadth and depth of companies that choose to build upon it,” said Will Poole, vice president of the Windows®
Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “We designed Windows Media 9 Series to be the most comprehensive digital media platform available, and today’s announcement shows we hit the mark, enabling a host of companies to deliver great products and services for their customers.”
Creating New Information Services in the Financial Industry
In an industry that demands secure delivery of up-to-the-second financial information, U.K.-based RAW Communications Ltd. is using Windows Media Services in Windows .NET Server and live Windows Media digital rights management (DRM) to provide a broadband satellite network within key tier-one fund-management institutions to stream investor relations events directly to the desktops of individual fund managers and key analysts.
“Real-time financial information is critical to fund managers. Windows Media 9 Series provides us with a complete end-to-end solution that helps us deliver this information with the quality, security and reliability that our industry requires,” said Ab Banerjee, CEO of RAW. “We’ve built our business on the Windows Media 9 Series platform because it provides our clients with the best possible experience while at the same time lowering our costs with improved scalability and easy administration. This is what great technology is supposed to do.”
New Opportunities to Reach Consumers for Digital Media Subscription Services
Consumers are looking for new ways to discover and enjoy digital music and video, so today CinemaNow, FullAudio, Intertainer and pressplay announced that they will offer their leading subscription services directly in the Services tab of Windows Media Player 9 Series. By taking advantage of new ways they can customize their subscriptions services in Windows Media Player 9 Series, each of these companies has been able to create an easy-to-access experience inside the player.
With this new flexibility, users of Windows Media Player 9 Series can seamlessly discover a new range of music and video from these subscription services in the familiar interface of Windows Media Player. At the same time, these four companies can now reach millions of potential customers.
“Windows Media 9 Series for the first time offers us the unique opportunity to plug in to the whole Windows Media Player experience and offer a seamless service for our customers,” said Chris Gladwin, CEO at FullAudio. “Combined with innovations such as the fantastic sound quality of Windows Media Audio 9 and the improved DRM for portable devices, this new player offers FullAudio a new opportunity to develop our subscriber base, create easy user access to our vast content library, and provide additional flexibility for our customers.”
New Opportunities for Internet Content Providers
Organizations such as NPR (National Public Radio) are taking advantage of Windows Media Audio 9 and Windows Media Audio 9 Voice to deliver its newscasts and a stream of many of its popular radio programs such as “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” over the Internet. The advanced compression of Windows Media Audio 9 provides listeners with the highest-quality audio in the smallest file sizes, helping to extend the reach of programming and reduce delivery costs. In addition, “Radio Expeditions,” a co-production of NPR and the National Geographic Society, will benefit from the 5.1-channel surround sound capability of Windows Media Audio 9 Professional to capture the complete audio experience of its exotic expeditions.
“NPR.org is built primarily around audio — sound is our centerpiece,” said Maria Thomas, vice president of Online for NPR. “Because the audio encoding arena is changing rapidly, we feel that it’s essential to offer visitors to NPR.org multiple formats through which they can access our content. Windows Media 9 Series will give Internet users another way to hear and experience news, commentaries, music and other NPR content. It will also allow us to showcase, using 5.1 surround sound, unique content such as ‘Radio Expeditions.'”
Delivering More Value and Features for New Consumer Devices
More and more consumers want to take their music on the go. So today, Creative Labs Inc. previewed its new Nomad Jukebox Zen device that fits easily into a pocket, yet can provide high-quality playback of more than 8,000 songs through the quality and compression of the new Windows Media Audio (WMA) 9. This sleek new device will be available in September and adds to the six Creative Labs devices that currently support WMA 9.
“Consumers are going to love this hot new device,” said Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of Creative Labs. “They will be able to carry more than 650 hours of high-quality music right in their pockets, thanks to the Zen’s sleek new design and the superior compression of WMA 9.”
The Nomad Jukebox Zen device brings the tally to more than 170 devices supporting WMA. Since WMA 9 is backward compatible, Microsoft estimates that the worldwide installed base of devices supporting WMA 9 will reach 27 million units by the end of this year, across all device types from all manufacturers.
Broad Support for Windows Media 9 Series
Even before the public beta availability of Windows Media 9 Series, the technology has experienced rapid and broad industry adoption by the leading makers of chips for DVD players and graphics cards, developers of professional video acquisition and audio production software and hardware, and the independent film community. Industries and companies that support Windows Media 9 Series include the following:
More than 30 software companies and service providers, including Adobe Systems Inc., Accordent Technologies Inc., Anark Corp., Approach Inc., Avid Technology Inc., Cakewalk, Discreet, a division of Autodesk Inc., Drastic Technologies Ltd., Eloquent Inc., Enscaler Inc., Hiwire Inc., Infogate Online Ltd., Inscriber, Loudeye Corp., PacketVideo, Power Technology, Quilogy Inc., RAW Communications, Roxio Inc., Sample Digital Inc., Serious Magic, SnapStream Media Inc., sofTV.net Inc., Sonic Foundry Inc., SRSWOWcast Technologies, Steinberg Media Technologies, SyncCast LLC, Syntrillium Software, Thompson/Grass Valley, VIA Technologies Inc. and VitalStream Inc.
More than 10 hardware companies, including Accom Inc., ATI Technologies Inc., Creative Labs, Echo Digital Audio, M-Audio (formerly Midiman), NVIDIA, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., SONICblue, ViewCast Corp., Winnov L.P. and Yamaha Electronics Corp.
Leading DVD chip manufacturers, representing 90 percent of the DVD processors manufactured and shipped last year,* including Cirrus Logic, ESS Technology Inc., LSI Logic Corp., STMicroelectronics and Zoran Corp.
Leading CDNs, including Akamai Technologies Inc., Speedera Networks and Streaming Media Corp.
Four subscription services now available in Windows Media Player 9 Series: including CinemaNow, FullAudio, Intertainer and pressplay.
Leading content providers, including ClearChannel, Earthship Inc, MSNBC.com, NPR, “Radio Expeditions,” a co-production of NPR and the National Geographic Society, and The Feedroom Inc.
Film industry companies and solution providers, including Digital Cinema Solutions and DuArt Digital Film Labs.
Addendum: Quotes of Support
“Microsoft’s Windows Media 9 Series technology makes the whole streaming experience substantially better,” said Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of graphics at Adobe. “Adobe is committed to providing our customers with the ability to encode high-quality audio and video into this remarkable new format. By bringing support for this technology directly into our applications, we are enabling our customers to optimize their streaming media production.”
“In today’s information-centric world, customers, consumers and constituents need more and more on-demand availability of rich media to run their business and enrich their daily lives. Akamai and Microsoft continue to work together to deliver this frictionless access around the room, around the country and indeed around the globe,” said Mark Vargo, vice president, product marketing, Akamai. “Taking our streaming business another step forward, Akamai’s support for Windows Media 9 Series underscores Akamai’s commitment to the streaming marketplace and to offering customers access to the latest streaming technologies.”
“Our customers invest their time, money and creative energy to deliver compelling content, and they expect maximum return from that investment,” said Mike Rockwell, chief technology officer for Avid Technology. “By supporting Windows Media 9 Series in Avid|DS HD, we will open up entirely new avenues for our customers, giving them an easy way to tap larger and larger audiences that are hungry for the highest-quality content at the lowest data rates.”
“We recognize the importance of providing the best possible experience to our video-on-demand customers, and Windows Media 9 Series enables us to deliver this with superior streaming quality and a true on-demand experience,” said Curt Marvis, CEO of CinemaNow. “By integrating our service into Windows Media Player 9 Series, we can now reach even more potential customers with our leading video-on-demand service in the familiar interface of Windows Media Player.”
Clear Channel Communications
“We offer streaming audio on over 210 of our radio station Web sites, so we are excited about the new streaming innovations provided by Windows Media 9 Series. This new technology will help give our Internet radio listeners an instant-on, always-on experience and a higher streaming quality,” said Brian Parsons, director of technology for Clear Channel Radio Interactive. “Windows Media 9 Series provides us with new flexibility and features, like server-side playlists in Windows .NET Server, which enable us to craft a more customized, engaging product for our audience.”
Discreet, a division of Autodesk Inc.
“Windows Media 9 Series offers a compelling platform for Discreet’s core users, videographers, editors and filmmakers who want to take their creativity and deliver it on the Web,” said Paul Lypaczewski, general manager of Discreet and executive vice president of Autodesk Inc. “Microsoft’s next-generation digital media platform will play an important role in our products as Discreet continues to empower media professionals to realize and deliver their visual experiences.”
DuArt Digital Film Labs
“Window Media Audio and Video 9 Series does a remarkable job preserving the original look and feel of shots, and this is a hallmark of quality,” said Lloyd Forcellini, vice president of DuArt Digital Film Labs. “With Windows Media 9 Series, the independent film community now has a seamless digital media platform that enables filmmakers to take original digital footage straight through editing and post-production to finish a digital master without ever transferring to a tape.”
“Windows Media 9 Series represents the most significant leap forward in terms of video quality that we’ve seen to date,” said Jonathan Taplin, chairman and CEO of Intertainer. “This new platform is helping us to deliver on the promise of high-quality, secure video on demand while at the same time presenting our customers with new 5.1-channel home-theatre experiences.”
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.
“Pioneer is proud to support this groundbreaking digital media technology,” said Bob Niimi, senior vice president, Home Entertainment Division, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. “We look forward to the integration of Windows Media 9 Series technologies into many of Pioneer’s home-theater components and systems in the near future.”
“Offering pressplay right inside Windows Media Player 9 Series extends the reach of our service to millions of potential new users,” said pressplay CEO Mike Bebel. “The new features of the Windows Media 9 Series enable us to offer an even better streaming experience for our members, with virtually no buffering or delays, while at the same time significantly enhancing our customers’ digital media experience.”
About Windows Media
Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, used by consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations throughout the world. The new Windows Media 9 Series will power the next wave of digital media, delivering the best playback experience, unmatched audio and video quality, integrated optional digital rights management technology, and is the most comprehensive platform for developing digital media products and services. The Windows Media platform includes Windows Media Player; Windows Media Services, the powerful streaming server for distributing content; Windows Media Encoder for content creation; Windows Media Audio and Video for the best-quality audio and video; Windows Media DRM for protecting content; and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing and now leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/.
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.
* Based on Cahners In-Stat December 2000 report on DVD IC market share.
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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at h http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .