this is a proprietary format developed by Microsoft. Users have noticed low error resilience: sometimes insignificant damage to the file can cause the file not to play. Besides this, the closed format hampers its proliferation outside of Windows platforms.
This format was originally created as an alternative to mp3. The idea was to achieve a small file size with better sound quality. The first versions weren’t quite successful, but with the development of AAC, it became possible to store sound with less loss of quality, and with the same file sizes as that of mp3.