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Microsoft and Sony Enable High-Quality Music Files to Be Downloaded On PCs and Portable Devices

Sony Portable Players to Support Windows Media

'Windows Media' and 'OpenMG' Become Interoperable

LOS ANGELES and LAS VEGAS, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Microsoft Corporation and Sony Corporation today announced that the companies have agreed to collaborate on the interoperability between "Microsoft® Windows Media(TM)" and "OpenMG," a copyright protection technology developed by Sony. Sony has also agreed to support Windows Media Audio, an audio compression technology, on its upcoming "VAIO Music Clip (MC-P10)" in addition to Sony's own proprietary "ATRAC3" format.

The effort between the two companies delivers on their shared vision of providing consumers with a high-quality digital media experience on PCs and portable devices, while also providing artists, music labels and other rights holders with a digital rights management solution that enables them to protect their intellectual property.

As a result of this collaboration, Windows Media content protected with Microsoft's Digital Rights Management can be securely supported on Sony's OpenMG-compliant devices such as Sony's "Memory Stick Walkman (NW-MS7)" and VAIO Music Clip. This is enabled by Sony's OpenMG, which handles the playback and transfer of music from the PC to the Sony devices.

Sony will add native support for the Windows Media format in VAIO Music Clip, a multi-codec portable music player announced today. In addition, Microsoft and Sony will enable playback of Windows Media Audio content on the Memory Stick Walkman using OpenMG and ATRAC3 technologies. The OpenMG Jukebox will also offer native support for playback, creation and transfer of Windows Media Audio content.

"By combining Sony's expertise in consumer electronics with Microsoft's leadership in providing high-quality digital media, we are providing our joint customers with a state-of-the-art digital media experience on PCs and portable devices," said Anthony Bay, vice president, Streaming Media Division, Microsoft.

"Sony prides itself in providing consumers with new types of entertainment capitalizing on AV/IT convergence. We hope to keep bringing even more benefits and enjoyments to the music industry and consumers, through the cooperation between the two companies," said Kunitake Ando, president and COO, Personal IT Network Company, Sony. "With our strong belief that the Internet is a powerful marketing and promotional tool, Sony Music Entertainment Inc. has been using the Microsoft Windows Media solution for music streaming and download services. We are pleased that music fans can now extend their enjoyment of music downloads to Sony portable devices within the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI)-compliant environment created by Microsoft and Sony's collaboration," said Al Smith, senior vice president, Sony Music Entertainment Inc.

Jay Samit, senior vice president of EMI Recorded Music said, "We're excited that all the parties creating portable digital devices and digital rights management systems are now making sure that the copyrights in our artists' music will be protected by a secure environment that complies with SDMI's specifications."

"The Internet is quickly increasing its presence as a new medium for music entertainment in Japan. Sony Music Entertainment Japan, the largest record company in Japan, has been working with Microsoft, searching for effective business models within this exciting arena. We are pleased that Sony's Memory Stick Walkman and VAIO Music Clip will be interoperable with Microsoft Windows Media Technologies, for we believe that the further development of portable audio players is the key to the successful expansion of the electronic music distribution market," said Shigeo Maruyama, president and COO, Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.

About Windows Media Technologies

Windows Media Technologies is the 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 the Windows Media SDK, is available for free* download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/. More than 50 million copies of the free* Windows Media Player have been downloaded to date - growing by more than one every second.

About the Windows Media Format

The Windows Media format offers consumers CD-quality audio from music files half the size of MP3 files, doubling the amount of music storage on many portable devices.

About OpenMG

OpenMG is a copyright protection technology including DRM, which consists of three key functions: allowing music download through multiple electronic music distribution platforms, enabling to playback music files and CD ripping on PCs (OpenMG Jukebox), and transferring contents securely from PCs to portable devices.

About ATRAC3

This sound-compression technology can achieve roughly twice the data reduction rate of the ATRAC sound compression used for the Mini Disc.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software 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.

About Sony

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its music, pictures and computer entertainment operations make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of over $56 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1999. Sony's Home Page URL: http://www.sony.co.jp/.

Microsoft and Windows Media 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.

SOURCE: Microsoft Corporation




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