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Microsoft ends development of Windows Media Player for Mac

Following a stream of unconfirmed reports on the Internet, Microsoft on Thursday said it has officially halted development of its Windows Media Player for the Mac and plans no future Mac versions of the audio and video playback software.

"We have no plans to provide future updates or product support for Windows Media Player for Mac," Adam Anderson, Microsoft public relations manager, told CNet News.com.

Anderson told the publication the decision to halt work on Windows Media Player for the Mac was a matter of prioritizing for Microsoft's Windows Media Unit.

"It's basically a business decision for Microsoft," he said. "Like any other company, we have business priorities. Our focus really is in delivering the best experience to Windows customers."

Microsoft will continue to offer for download the current Mac OS X version, Windows Media Player 9, which was last updated in November 2003, as well as an even older version for Mac OS 9.

In place of a new version, the software-maker is offering for free a ">Flip4Mac plug-in that will allow Mac OS X users to play Windows Media files (.wma and .wmv) from within Apple's QuickTime Player software.

The move comes just as Microsoft renewed its commitment to the Mac, agreeing to deliver new versions of Office for Mac for the next five years.

Last month Microsoft also announced that it had officially canned development of a new version of Internet Explorer for the Mac. There's no word on the company's plans for its other core Mac product, Virtual PC.