Microsoft bails on Windows Media Player for Mac

Just three days after announcing continued support for the Mac version of Microsoft Office at Macworld Expo, Microsoft officials said Friday that the company has halted development for Windows Media Player for Mac.

Microsoft Public Relations Manager Adam Anderson said in a recent News.com article that the move was a business decision for Microsoft.

“Like any other company, we have business priorities. Our focus really is in delivering the best experience to Windows customers,” Anderson told News.com.

Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit General Manager Roz Ho stood before the crowd at Steve Jobs keynote on Tuesday and reiterated Microsoft’s support for the Macintosh version of Microsoft Office, and told the crowd that the company is “here to stay.”

Microsoft and Apple signed a technology agreement that lasts for at least the next five years, but only covers Microsoft Office, leaving Microsoft an opening to cut any other product from its offerings available to Mac users. Microsoft has announced plans to update its Messenger client later this year. Mac Business Unit representatives also expressed interest in continuing to develop Virtual PC during an interview with Macworld editors this week.

Mac users are not left high and dry when it comes to viewing Windows Media content. Earlier this week, Flip4Mac updated its WMV Player to version 2. Flip4Mac WMV Components lets Mac users to play Windows Media video and audio files within native QuickTime-based media programs, including QuickTime Player, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro. The Player component, formerly a $10 program, is now a free download.

In addition, Microsoft is now distributing the Flip4Mac software at its Web site. You can download the software here.

( Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 8:21 p.m. ET to include information about Flip4Mac’s availability from Microsoft. )

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