Microsoft's Current Stance on Blu-ray

Sure, I could throw a breaking headline at you, but this is all about killing off all those juicy rumours. As we know, Microsoft chose DVD for the Xbox 360, and allowed those interested to go HD DVD. Now, with the HD market turning towards Blu-ray, the rumour mill is working overtime: we've heard everything from "a Blu-ray add-on is inevitable", or more shockingly, that "the next 360 revision will support Blu-ray out-of-the-box". Here's what is really happening. 1UP interviewed Jeff Bell, the Corporate Vice President of Global Marketing for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, and got all the facts straightened out.

1UP: In the event that HD-DVD no longer becomes a viable alternative in the retail space, how do you think Microsoft will respond to that? Peter Moore had at once said, before you released the add-on, that he was open to the possibility of releasing a Blu-ray drive if that became the consumer choice. Is that something that's still on the table for you guys?

Bell: You know, interestingly, we have a long history of partnership with Sony. Obviously, they run our software on their personal computers and other devices, so we have a 'coopetition' -- a word I learned at Microsoft when I joined. We've been talking to Blu-ray all along because we have the best piece of software in the business, called HDi. It is the backbone that powers interactivity in HD-DVD and we have that available to potentially partner with others. You never say never. I think we'd like to see how things evolve. Our commitment, however, to HD-DVD is profound and consistent, and we have done very, very well in term of our accessory sales. We have 400 HD-DVD movies from great studios available. It's a long time between now and June.

View: Full Interview @ 1UP

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If the BD group took HDi and adopted it into the BD standard. Then I'd possibly even switch to BD.

even if that only further expands on the problem BD has with profiles, but Profile 2 should have all the hardware to support HDi anyway. And they are network upgradeable.

(HawkMan said @ #5)
If the BD group took HDi and adopted it into the BD standard. Then I'd possibly even switch to BD.

Why does it matter so much to you that using BD-J instead of HDi (which doesn't affect you as an end-user) prevents you from switching to Blu-ray?

(HawkMan said @ #5)
If the BD group took HDi and adopted it into the BD standard. Then I'd possibly even switch to BD.

Never going to happen. Has everybody already forgotten that we now have two HD formats precisely because the BDA did not accept to adopt HDi into Bluray three years ago. That was reason why negotations fell apart and one single HD format was deemed impossible.

Of course now after Microsoft lacklustre support for HD-DVD they start to remember that they initially invested millions to develop HDi but now the only standard who supports it and which MS should have f**king supported more than they in fact did, is falling apart and with the format, also HDi. Stupid MS

(vacs said @ #5.2)

Never going to happen. Has everybody already forgotten that we now have two HD formats precisely because the BDA did not accept to adopt HDi into Bluray three years ago. That was reason why negotations fell apart and one single HD format was deemed impossible.

Of course now after Microsoft lacklustre support for HD-DVD they start to remember that they initially invested millions to develop HDi but now the only standard who supports it and which MS should have f**king supported more than they in fact did, is falling apart and with the format, also HDi. Stupid MS


it was the other way around, with toshiba about to accept bd-j into their format, however MS paid toshiba to use HDi.

(Coldgunner said @ #5.3)
it was the other way around, with toshiba about to accept bd-j into their format, however MS paid toshiba to use HDi.

well, that's not really how I remember it. Wikipedia also seems to back me up:

"At the end of June 2005, Sun announced that the Blu-ray Association had chosen the Java-based BD-J interactivity layer instead of Microsoft's HDi. This was based on a BDA board vote favouring BD-J 10 to 4, despite a technical committee previously favouring HDi by a vote of 7 to 5"

There is no word about Toshiba to use competing, Bluray technology with HD-DVD, makes even no sense.

Yep but if one of the last 2 studios jump the fence id be surprised if everyone doesn't all go too.

You don't want to get left behind etc

well this is all extremely refreshing. i haven't seen an interview that has such a note of honesty and humanism about it in ages from microsoft. it doesn't scream of PR rubbish, on the contrary, a lot of it makes sense. I'm a Microsoft user, but by no means a fan; here we see what some people advocate throughout every debate: that microsoft is still, at least in part, a company that is doing its best to accommodate peoples needs (albeit only as a method of making money, but that's fair enough) and wishes.

The stuff that really made me sit up was honest acknowledgment of previous misfortune, which is, i'm sure everyone will admit, is rare.

Things like,

We very much are positioning ourselves to be the choice console of this generation, much like the PS2 was in the last generation
Now this is true, and that's all very well, but you will rarely see someone at this level put their hands up and admit it quite so openly.
Also,
So, we'll try and do a better job, but it's not as if we have all the degrees of freedom completely within our control. We are committed to improving quality and performance and cost all the way through this cycle, so it's not always that we make a clean break, as well, like model years in automobiles. Sometimes, the changes simply come when the pre-testing and reliability testing is all finished and we're ready to go and sometimes it's just a continuous improvement, so it's not always a clean break.

I don't know if that answers your question -- I'm not trying to be evasive -- it's just I found that it is a more complex situation in some ways than I would have anticipated. It's not quite as regular as the world from which I came."

and finally:

What you see is what you get. [laughs] Sometimes I gotta get reined in a little bit.

you know what, I sort of believe him, and that's rare with an exec. of any description, let alone a microsoft one. I post fairly infrequently (more regularly again recently i'll admit [unfiltered browsing at work {gotta love independent firms}]) and anybody who's familiar with my posting style and line of thinking will recognise that generally speaking I'm fairly cynical and a healthy skeptic. however, this time, my skepticism has stood aside.

nice news post.

Edit: Also, if you'd invested as much into HD-DVD wouldn't you say that you weren't giving up hope but you were now willing to ensure that your options were kept open?

Imagine the ridicule if the MS press office said they thought that the market indications were complete tripe and that HD-DVD was performing better than ever in the format war. A ridiculous stance therefore? Didn't think so...

(macf13nd said @ #3.1)
Edit: Also, if you'd invested as much into HD-DVD wouldn't you say that you weren't giving up hope but you were now willing to ensure that your options were kept open?

Imagine the ridicule if the MS press office said they thought that the market indications were complete tripe and that HD-DVD was performing better than ever in the format war. A ridiculous stance therefore? Didn't think so...

I think people like you are confounding the word 'invest'. Invest implies they've put money into the tech that they aren't going to get back (at least not for a while), but as far as I can tell, they haven't done that at all. They sell the HDDVD addon for a profit, and I'm sure HDi is just a licensed tech that they make money off of too. So they haven't really invested anything into HDDVD - they're just there to do what they do best - make money.

They thought HDDVD would be making them money for years to come, but now that they see they might be wrong about that, they're just making the obvious changes.

-Spenser

(stifler6478 said @ #3.2)

I think people like you are confounding the word 'invest'. Invest implies they've put money into the tech that they aren't going to get back (at least not for a while), but as far as I can tell, they haven't done that at all. They sell the HDDVD addon for a profit, and I'm sure HDi is just a licensed tech that they make money off of too. So they haven't really invested anything into HDDVD - they're just there to do what they do best - make money.

They thought HDDVD would be making them money for years to come, but now that they see they might be wrong about that, they're just making the obvious changes.

-Spenser

i see your point and agree with you. there is also a certain amount of investment that can't be discounted that will be lost by being seen to back the wrong horse though.

(thenay said @ #2.2)

You don't say! LOL! I hope everyone is educated enough to know that at least

Based on some of the comments I've seen here, I would advise you to not assume that.

That simply means that there are things in store that should change the momentum that Blu-Ray has and that a lot of things can change in alliances or even sales numbers between now and June.

(Boz said @ #1.1)
That simply means that there are may be things in store that should change the momentum that Blu-Ray has and that a lot of things can change in alliances or even sales numbers between now and June.

Fixed it for ya ;)
I can't remember at the moment, but I believe June is when Warner moves over to Blu-ray completely (as a contract prevents them from doing it now).

June is when Warner go Blu-ray exclusive and HD-DVD starts to really suffer. It's basically saying that if things don't pick up for HD-DVD (which seems unlikely considering it's already much cheaper) then the Warner move will tip things further in Blu-ray's direction.