Microsoft Reportedly Has MP3 Competitor

Microsoft soon will release a digital music technology that offers better sound quality and faster downloading time than the popular MP3 format, according to a Los Angeles Times report that cited anonymous sources. MS Audio 4.0 reportedly features encryption technology to help thwart Internet piracy, a feature whose absence in the MP3 has kept much of the music industry from supporting that format, even though millions of people use it. Audio 4.0 is said to be included in Microsoft's Media Player 4.0 program, which could be released next month.