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Creative Labs endorses MP3

Forthcoming Rio clone will support controversial digital music format

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Creative Labs has finally come clean and admitted it will support the MP3 digital music format in the portable music player the company is currently developing. "It's going to be MP3," a Creative spokesman confessed, according to US gaming magazine Maximum PC. However, no ship date other than "this year", pricing, features or technical specifications were forthcoming. Talk of Creative's device, set to compete directly with Diamond Multimedia's Rio PMP300 player, began late last month when its company's European brand manager, Eion Leyden, dropped hints that Creative was working on a multi-format player. However, he was also dismissive of the MP3 format -- "it would not rule the roost," he said, clearly a nod towards the music industry's attempt to define its own digital music standard through the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI). Soon after, Creative spokesmen in the US first claimed the company was not developing a music player, and then, a few days, later admitted that, yes, the company did have a Rio clone in the pipeline (see Creative Labs spins multiple music player plans). However, in all this confusion -- on Creative's part; everyone had figured out by then it was working on a player -- and after, the company has kept quiet on which formats the device will support -- until now. Diamond, of course, was the subject of an aggressive legal action by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which sought to get the device banned. That action failed, but the RIAA said it would appeal against the decision, so it's no wonder Creative has been so cautious. ®

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