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 is a lossless-format (and encoding algorithm) for Apple platforms. M4A is widely used in iPod players and as a component in QuickTime media-players. The m4a codecs decoder is found in open sources - this allows third party users to open files in that format.