Microsoft has released a new version of its digital media platform, called Microsoft Windows Media Technologies 4, as it prepares to go after other streaming companies such as RealNetworks.
Company officials said the software delivers CD-quality audio that takes up half the space of competing formats, such as MP3. Like RealNetwork’s technology, the player offers more than just audio, with Microsoft promising near-TV-quality video and no per-stream charge.
Some music companies have complained that the digital music revolution has made unauthorized use of the products much more prevalent. But Microsoft said the new technology will let publishers control the distribution and use of digital audio and video content – a fact that may have prompted Columbia Records to introduce Maria Carey’s new song “HeartBreaker”, only on Windows Media.
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