HP has no plans to support Windows Media Audio (WMA) in its forthcoming own-branded iPod product, contrary to earlier reports.

HP product marketing manager Muffi Ghadali told Wired: 'We're not going to be supporting WMA for now."

He said the company had chosen to work with the most popular digital music distribution service, and wanted to focus on a single format in order not to confuse customers.

Microsoft and others have declared that choosing to adopt the open standards-based AAC format championed by Apple deprives consumers of "freedom of choice". By this, the company means consumers are not using its proprietary Windows Media Audio, which it claims is an industry standard.

However, Apple currently dominates the market, with 70 per cent of digital music sales and 30 per cent market share of iPod music players by units (55 per cent by revenues). Apple-sold music uses the open industry standard, AAC.

Speaking to analysts in November 2003, Apple CEO Steve Jobs dismissed the idea of repurposing Apple's music player to support other standards: "Why should we work with another music store when we are working with the Microsoft of music stores?" he asked.

Speaking in September, Apple's QuickTime marketing director Frank Casanova criticised Microsoft's commitment to industry standards, saying: "When you are part of a standards organization you don't develop it behind closed doors".