Microsoft goes to Hollywood

Microsoft's surprise decision to submit Windows Media Series 9 as a standards candidate to Hollywood underscores the software giant's ambitions to take its multimedia technology beyond the Net, as well as the considerable barriers it faces.

This week, the Redmond, Wash.-based company sent in its underlying video-compression code for vetting by the Society of Motion Picture Television Engineers (SMPTE)--a first for Microsoft and a marked departure from the company's longtime commitment to keeping its technology proprietary. In doing so, Microsoft is aiming to provide a viable successor to MPEG-2, a compression standard that is the foundation of satellite, cable, video-editing systems and DVDs.

Microsoft submitted its technology to SMPTE on Monday, but waited until Friday to officially announce both that move and a blizzard of new Windows Media partnerships. The announcments were made at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam. If SMPTE approves Windows Media Series 9 as a standard, Microsoft hopes its technology will become de facto for a range of set-top boxes, professional video-editing equipment, satellite transmissions and consumer electronics. Because the applications are disparate, SMPTE members are free to adopt any technology they choose.

News source: C|Net News.com

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