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YAHOO, TO BE A PLAYER, GETS OWN PLAYER

Proprietary Media File-Playing App Increases Speculation About Portal’s Music Destiny
Boosting speculation about its possible role in a subscription-based music service with one or more major label groups (see story, 5/19), Yahoo is currently testing its own online media player.

Though still in beta, the player would allow users to play digital media files, as do such competitors as Winamp, Windows Media Player, MusicMatch and Sonique.

Like MusicMatch, Real and RioPort's Audio Manager, the Yahoo player allows "jukebox"-style file management; it also supports scrolling Web pages and—like Winamp—features an array of designs, known as "skins."

Though Yahoo's Broadcast program has had relationships with both Real and Microsoft, the technology to be used will support WMA files, but not Real; this is another step forward for the embattled Microsoft, which could soon find its non-OS, non-browser applications operating under a separate umbrella.

Since AOL (soon—if ted turner',390,400);">ted turner',390,400);">Ted Turner doesn't have his way—to be merged with Time Warner, which should, in turn, couple with EMI) owns Winamp maker Nullsoft and the newly conjoined Terra Lycos owns Sonique, it stands to reason that a portal planning to serve major-label content would want to have a proprietary player.

Whew! Remember when you could just play everything on your Betamax?