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Audiophiles listen in on Microsoft's efforts

The software giant gains support for its audio initiative as it works with partners to improve sound quality on PCs and portable devices.

Makers of PCs and portable devices are listening in on Microsoft's audio efforts, as they work to improve sound quality and audio playback.

The software giant announced on Thursday a list of companies that support its Universal Audio Architecture initiative, aimed at improved audio playback and audio device driver support for Windows. Microsoft also announced the availability of a high definition audio driver based on a specification developed by Intel.

As digital music becomes more common, and consumers look to the PC or devices synchronizing with computers as the central repositories for their content, the complexity of differing formats and connections can be a problem.

For consumers, the initiative is supposed to lead to easier installation or connections of audio peripherals or devices, as well as glitch-free audio. And for manufacturers, the initiative is meant to lead to fewer support calls and less software development. The UAA drivers will ship with future operating system releases. The UAA High Definition Audio class driver, will be available for Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Among the many companies backing the initiative are ATI Technologies, Fujitsu, Intel, Motorola, Nvidia and Via Technologies.

Details about the UAA initiative were discussed last year at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference.