Thursday, May 11, 2006

The mountain moves... reports:

Sony Corp. on Tuesday announced... [that] the company will make its latest music management software compatible with the AAC data compression technology used by Apple. The change will enable users of some types of Walkman digital audio players to listen to music imported from Apple's music management software.

Sony long clung to its proprietary data compression technology, known as Atrac. It has since turned to an open-door policy, embracing such popular formats as MP3 and Microsoft Corp.'s WMA. Still, the electronics manufacturer's acceptance of Apple's AAC format, used for the immensely popular iPod digital music players, marks a particular about-face.

Sony said the coming version of its music management software Sonic Stage will be compatible with AAC. The company will provide the software, called Sonic Stage CP, free of charge through the Internet from May 25. The software is compatible with hard-disk types of Walkman A series products.

Sony's latest strategy is an open acknowledgement that it can no longer ignore iPod's dominance. In April, Apple controlled 52 percent of the nation's portable digital music player market, in terms of units sold, according to market researcher BCN Inc. Sony is a distant second with a 15 percent share, followed by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., with a 7 percent share.


ConradGempf said...

Does that really mean anything, though, Brett? It still won't be able to play DRMed FairPlay tracks from the iTunes music store unless you do the same kind of rigamarole that you'd do to turn iTunes into mp3s, right? Or do you think that the other mountain will also move and Apple will meet Sony halfway and allow them to licence FairPlay?

Oh, and by the way, you haven't yet posted your opinion on Sven's picking only 4 strikers for the England side... with both Rooney and Owen injured, don't you think Walcott was too much of a gamble? We're all waiting for your opinion on this, Brett.

brett jordan said...

Regarding DRM, I'm sure you're right Conrad. However, the vast majority of AAC files are ripped from CDs, and are therefore accessible to any device that can play this format. Two other major mobile phone players (Nokia and Samsung) both play AAC files, and my guess is that Sony's recent market research has shown that the compatibility issue is becoming a factor in people's choices, especially with the comparisons that are being made between its newest 'music phones' and the iPod.

Regarding Sven's decisions, as you know, I'm not a huge soccer fan, but my initial reaction was the Swede had gone stark-raving mad, nominating two injured players, one that has never played a game in the top flight and Peter Crouch.

Having spent a lot of time pondering the whys and wherefores, I still don't agree with some aspects of Eriksson's squad, but also don't agree that we've suddenly gone from World Cup contenders to no-hopers.

The goalkeepers, albeit short on quality, pick themselves, as do most of the defenders. However, I was very surprised not to see Ledley King selected as I feel he is not only better than Sol Campbell, but offers England more versatility. However, having missed the end of the season due to injury it seems the Spurs player was a risk not worth taking, even for Sven!

Moving on to the midfield, Hargreaves is unfortunate in that he doesn't seem very English, doesn't play in England and when he's played for England he's been average at best. He may be a very good player for Bayern Munich, but we never see that so he's fighting a losing battle with supporters. In all honesty what the supporters think matters for nothing when it comes to try and win a World Cup, but I still can't see how the Canada-born midfielder will be a benefit.

Similarly Jenas is not liked by some of the media and has been labled average by neutrals as he doesn't always seem to do very much. However, he has come on leaps and bounds this season and could provide some pace to the centre-of-midfield, although I expect he'll be a squad player that never gets to kick the ball this summer.

Now for the shock inclusion of both Lennon and Downing, at the expense of Shaun Wright-Phillips, who, if he wasn't already, will be strongly regreting making his big money move to Chelsea last summer. The young duo have very little experience, but have raw talent and pace in abundance. They are the type of players who could change a game and I strongly fancy Lennon to emerge a national hero as he has all the qualities of being the latest boy wonder.

It is the strike force that leaves me concerned though. I fear Eriksson will persist with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney even if they are not match fit and in Rooney's case even if he has no chance of playing until the later stages.

As this is the case it is essential he has suitable cover, but he doesn't, as he's decided to take the almighty gamble of selecting 17-year-old Theo Walcott. The teenager is an exciting talent, but has never even played for Arsenal, so only boasts around a dozen first-team appearances and they were for Southampton in the Championship.

Incredibly Eriksson has admitted that he's never even seen Walcott play, so this makes his selection border on insanity. If Rooney isn't fit for the first matches then we'd be looking at Walcott being a substitute striker, and given Owen's lack of fitness he could well be needed. Is the boy ready? We don't know and nor does Sven.

I believe we are set for Eriksson to tinker with his formation and there is the option of playing Joe Cole as a substitute striker, which is a fair shout.

After hours of thought I can just about see the reasoning behind Sven's decisions, but I'd still have done things differently. I'd have taken a different centre-back than Sol Campbell, be it King, Brown or even Michael Dawson. I'd have sacrificed either Jenas or Hargreaves for a fifth striker and would have taken Jermain Defoe ahead of Walcott.

Also I'd have named a 25-squad for example with Walcott possibly included so if Rooney missed out he could be called upon, but if not he'll leave the camp with experience that will benefit him in years to come.

At the end of the day it is the core players that win a World Cup, but if luck goes against Sven he could be left to rue gambling on England's youth.

Sorry to be so brief Conrad (and all the others who were waiting for my opinion) but I hope it at least gives you something to think on.

ConradGempf said...

'The vast majority of AAC files are ripped from CDs...' Really? I would have thought that, even from iTunes, most people would would rip to mp3 (even if at a higher rate than AACs) precisely for compatibility reasons. I certainly do -- I know you don't, but you are, let's face it, not a typical music listener.

You don't seem to have factored 'assistant' coach Steve MacLaren into your deliberations... was Sven influenced, do you think, by Steve's more adventurous nature and trying to provide a smooth transition? I completely agree about King and Hargreaves, but you also don't seem to have given much thought to Peter Crouch. Is he really the best, most certain striker we've got? To me he seems a pretty average striker on stilts.

brett jordan said...

Hi Conrad

The default setting on iTunes is AAC, 95% of people won't even know there IS a choice. The majority of people (PC and Mac) use iTunes to rip their music. I have no figures to back this up, other than my own experience, but I do think that my theory is solid. Oh, and thanks for the 'you're not a typical music listener' comment... LIKE YOU ARE!!!! :-)

And re. your soccer questions, I lost the will to live just googling for, reading and editing my last comments! I didn't even know you were allowed to play soccer on stilts for goodness sake!!!