Mac OS X gets its own Windows Media Player

Ensuring that users of the latest Apple Computer Inc. operating system, as well as Windows users, will be able to play Windows Media audio and video files, Microsoft Corp. on Thursday announced a version of its Windows Media Player for Mac OS X.

The software will take advantage of specific Mac features such as multiprocessing and has been developed using Apple Computer Inc.'s Carbon development framework, Microsoft said in a news release. To match other Mac applications, Microsoft has fitted Media Player with the Aqua interface, the company said.

Other features are similar to Windows Media Player for Windows. Similar to the Windows software, the Mac software allows users to playback streaming and local media files. The Mac software also supports Microsoft's Windows Media DRM (Digital Rights Management), a technology designed to protect copyright holders.

Last week Microsoft enlisted online music service Pressplay to use its DRM technology. Pressplay is a joint venture between record labels Vivendi Universal SA and Sony Music Entertainment Inc. Windows Media Player for Mac OS X will be available for free download in the third quarter, Microsoft said. The company plans to demonstrate a "pre-release" version Thursday at the Macworld Conference and Expo in New York.

Apple started shipping its Mac OS X operating system on all Macintosh systems in May.

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