Last week we heard about the VCast Music Service that Verizon was launching on January 16th for its mobile phone customers in partnership with Microsoft. What we didn’t hear was a nasty little twist that was thrown into the software. It will not let you play MP3 files. Only WMA files will be played. People who already have one of the two phones that is being used for the service can play MP3s now, but the upgraded software that they will require to access the VCast store will disable that function.
Cynics would suggest that it is more than a coincidence that a service developed by Microsoft will only support WMA files. The company insists the issue is not so sinister. They say that the MP3 format has been temporarily disabled so it can be integrated into the VCast software. If it was not integrated, people would have to deal with two applications, which could be confusing. They say that customers who want to keep their current MP3 capabilities can choose not to download the new software until the changes have been made. Of course, that means that they can’t access the VCast service until that time. That also doesn’t help the people who already upgraded without knowing what they were sacrificing.