Microsoft is considering releasing a Linux version of its Windows Media Player.
Paul Boudreau, Microsoft's programme manager for music and entertainment, said at a briefing on the software giant's plans for digital media: "We see a need for Unix players and are working in that direction, including Linux."
However, Boudreau said that the Apple Macintosh was more important today because it is used for "relevant content creation", and he confirmed that Media Player for the Mac would have digital rights management (DRM) software built-in.
Within the next six to nine months, Microsoft plans to roll out a version of DRM that will enable consumers to manipulate and back up their own licence stores of video and music clips. But Boudreau said that the software giant has yet to decide whether users will do this themselves or whether it will be kept on a secure site.
And despite the predicted explosion in online music sales, Boudreau believes that the CD still has a future.
"The CD today has too many advantages, so we're not trying to displace its sales. Online is an enhancement both in terms of distribution and promotion, such as adding bonus tracks," he said.
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