Podcasting on the Longhorn Desktop, not Deleted

I’m as loudly frustrated as anyone eagerly awaiting the Microsoft reaction to Apple’s iTunes 4.9 plans. Apple’s about to ship a cross-platform media player with inherent podcasting support and we’ve heard nothing from Microsoft about how Windows Media Player plans on integrating podcasting into the WMP library. I’m not patient enough to wait for a Longhorn solution. I want something that subscribes to podcasts inside WMP 10 or I want to hear about explicit support for podcasts in WMP 11. My Zen Micro won’t sync with iTunes, I want a player app that syncs my podcasts. In spite of continued improvements to third party solutions that sit between the podcaster and Windows Media Player. I want integration not a middleman.

Putting my impatience aside, Paul Colligan is dead wrong about Microsoft’s podcasting plans. Paul appears frustrated that Microsoft downplayed audio as just another content list in their Gnomedex announcement of RSS integration in Longhorn. I thought demonstrating enclosures of iCal files and photos was silly too, considering the audience. I want to hear Microsoft say they are doing something with podcasting. Showing other file types in enclosures made more sense from a system wide integration perspective. Those few of us who use enclosures to deliver audio and video already know it works. Demonstrating alternative file types doesn’t mean Microsoft is deleting podcasting, as Paul puts it.

Operating system wide integration of RSS actually means a greater likelihood of support for podcasting in Windows Media Center, not a blind eye on Microsoft’s part. If Longhorn offers built in RSS and an out-of-the-box understanding of enclosures, the path to podcasting subscriptions in Windows Media Center is simplified tremendously. They still do a poor job of publicizing methods for creating a Media Center compatible Web presence, but someone will make a tool to build WYSIWIG Media Center apps when market penetration improves.

Operating system wide integration of RSS means a Windows Media Player plugin to handle RSS is closer to reality. If the RSS support is available in Longhorn Beta 1 when it ships this summer, I’ll bet we’ll see podcasting support for Longhorn from a third party prior to the release of Beta 2 in 2006. I remain frustrated there’s no podcasting from Microsoft for Windows XP, but podcasting isn’t sitting in the Longhorn recycle bin. Podcasting is built in to Active Desktop (oops, I said the ‘A’ word) circa 2006 – we just haven’t seen it yet. XP will have a media player named iTunes, complete with built-in podcast support.