Likewise, Windows Media Audio was once but a me-too blip on the radar compared to MP3 and AAC, but now, with Windows Media Player pre-installed on most new PCs, it's a major digital music format, and could become dominant as more portable players support it. Remember WordPerfect? Lotus 1-2-3? They were long ago gassed by MS Word and Excel. The list goes on. And time might finally be running out on the CE industry when it comes to convergence, simply because Microsoft has the ability to introduce mass numbers of people to it as a free feature that comes with new PCs.
PC- and Mac-based digital music players have already taken their toll on audio component and speaker sales. Now the IT industry, led by Microsoft, has its eyes on television and A/V components, and with Media Center 2005, we might be seeing the beginning of something big. The likelihood of the PC industry bumbling its A/V play and retreating with its tail between its legs is more remote than before, and that's because the CE vendors are now almost universally playing on the turf that the PC industry pioneered—the digital arena. Analog, ironically, served as a buffer for CE for many years, but no longer. The PC guys aren't trying to sneak into the digital A/V business. In many respects, they already own it.