RealTime IT News

Amazon.com Says Audio Buffer Be Gone!

Microsoft scored a coup over rival RealNetworks Thursday when e-commerce giant Amazon.com picked its Windows Media Services 9 Series software to play its song samples for music shoppers.

Financial terms of the deal were not revealed. Amazon selected Windows in large part because of its Fast Streaming technology, a feature included in Windows Server 2003 that offers an instant-on playback experience for folks who use Windows Media Player 9 Series to sample music clips offered through Amazon.com. Fast Streaming eliminates pesky buffering for broadband users and provides improved playback responsiveness for dial-up users.

Loudeye will provide encoding for this deal, which extends to Borders.com, CDNOW.com and VirginMega.com, all of which are powered by Amazon.com. Loudeye hosts a digital music archive with access to more than 3.3 million music samples from over than 300,000 CDs.

In endorsing Redmond, Wash.'s Microsoft, Curtis Kopf, director of digital for Amazon, said: "The ability to provide instant-on, fast-streaming audio samples with Windows Media 9 Series virtually eliminates waiting times and enables our customers to have instantly gratifying listening experiences."

Seattle's Amazon currently offers streaming through both Windows and RealPlayer software in its music store. Seattle's RealNetworks also offers playback with very little buffering, called TurboPlay. But Amazon's embrace of Windows in Washington, the hometown state to all three firms, is a clear victory for Microsoft, which is looking to ensure that its digital media tendrils branch out in peoples' homes and consumer devices.

For example, Microsoft in April inked a deal with DVD software InterVideo to port components of the Windows Media Format to run on Linux-based consumer devices. The company believes extending its media experience away from the PC will help it diversify revenue streams.