Apprently Microsoft can occasionally dimly see the light ahead: witness Yahoo! News – Microsoft Sings a New Tune With Windows Media Player 10. After years of dragging their feet about including MP3 ripping in their Media Player product, they have finally caved and made an encoder freely available. Of course it doesn’t rip variable bitrate MP3s (sigh) and includes only four quality settings (double sigh), so it appears that they are being drug kicking and screaming into the future.
Hey Microsoft, what are you guys thinking? Do you really want to get to the point where everyone looks at your competition at Apple and says “You know, we’d be better off with them?” Apple and ITunes are kicking the stuffing out of you, and it is time to stop trying to appease your media slavemasters and give the consumers what they want. People want to be able to RIP mp3 cds, so they can play them on the largest variety of devices. If you don’t give them that capability, they will adopt products that will.