I am going to go out on a limb here and am willing to bet cold hard cash, that at the end of June right about the time of Gnomedex, that Microsoft will introduce to Windows XP a podcast creation tool and Windows Media player with Podcast integration, including a independent directory. This is based on a lot of conversations I have had over the past six months, and todays reporting that Windows Media Player 11 will be released sometime in June.
For that past six months I have had all kinds of discussion with various industry leaders, and every time I ask them what do you hear coming out of Redmond about Podcasting adaptation? Most in the know have indicated that Microsoft is working the podcast / videocast angle very hard, but because of NDA’s most have not been able to say much. But over time I have deduced a pretty good picture of what I think is really going on. Microsoft at CES said they had a individual working the podcast integration, then shortly after CES, I learned that they had re-focused and committed a very large team to getting the integration done with someone that is a heavy hitter at the company.
No one up to this point expected anything to happen until Vista was released, as we all expected Windows Media Player 11 to come with Vista not XP. CNET is reporting today that this is no longer the case, thus it is my prediction that not only will they release Windows Media Player 11 with all the new features they have been promising but podcasting and videocasting will be integrated as indicate above. I have even heard that Microsoft was shopping for someone to manage their podcast directory.
If it doesn’t happen at Gnomedex I will be surprised! The types of bloggers, podcasters and videcasters Microsoft will want to reach will be their, and it would be the perfect setting. Also they need to have it out before the Podcast Expo in September or face huge outcry by the majority of podcasters that are creating podcast on Windows. Even the so called PodFather uses Windows to record his podcast.
This will create a huge increase to the default base of listeners, and will put podcasting by default on 97% of the worlds PC’s. If what they say is true, and media player integration is done correctly we are going to see a major influx of people. If your bandwidth strapped now you better invest and get the infrastructure in that you are going to need to have. There is no way that Microsoft can allow Apple to continue to dominate the portable media market they have to respond and this will be a good first step. More on tonights podcast [CNET]