The topic of legalality is unimportant. Microsoft themselves got sued by Apple way back when over the Trash concept. Although they were similar in fuction, they're appearance were slightly different. Microsoft won the law suit. Thus, the court basically said that a User Interface is not copyrightable.
When I saw what had been done, I was actually quite mad about it. To tell you the truth, I didn't like the idea that Microsoft was now enabling their minions to rip off our skins. Then I used it. Once that happened, I didn't even care. It's quite a pisspoor implementation of our skins, and Microsoft should be ashamed for associating Windows Media Player with it. I am well aware that the conversion tool is a proof of concept, meaning, it's a hacked together app to see if it worked. That's great that it did, however, if Microsoft was going to advertise it, they should have written it themselves.
After playing with the converted skins, it is quite obvious that it's not the same experience that you get through Winamp. Windows Media Player, seemingly, performs slower, when using a Winamp Skin. I don't see the bulk of users out there taking advantage of this feature. However, this opens a gate. One that I'm definately not happy about. I imagine seeing a few others out there, trying to compete in this rough market, immplementing something quite similar. I think that this is poor sportsmanship, however, they will do it, and so be it.
I'll enjoy watching people implementing a Winamp3 Skin Converter. That's going to be quite the challenge.
For all of you wondering, I don't see Nullsoft/AOL suing over this issue. It would be counter productive and benefit no one. Just a waste of money. I'm glad that Microsoft has acknowledged our dominance in the market by agreeing to support our skinning format. It's quite the honor to have Microsoft indirectly say, you guys rule.
just my 2 cents.
BTW, anything I said above is my opinion explicitatly and not that of Nullsoft or America Online Inc. Republication of any of which has been said in this post is strictly forbidden without my prior concent. Thank you, you asschomping word twisting, shit stirring, news hounds.