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01.27.08

Watch Out. Moonlight/Silverlight Knock on Your Door. All Your Media Mustn’t Belongs to Microsoft.

Posted in Apple, Asia, Europe, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let’s not play

Microsoft is playing with people’s minds. It has the players in mind. For a variety of convincing reasons, we brought up the BBC fiasco on numerous occasions throughout the past year [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. As you may or may not know, Microsoft hopes to essentially ‘hijack’ the media industry. Let’s just see how.

Windows Media Player

Do remember that Microsoft elbowed RealNetworks using illegal anti-competitive acts, accompanied by ‘smoking gun’ exhibits that prove it. There is one E-mail, for example, where Microsoft explains that it wants to ‘pull a Netscape’ on this smaller company before it grows bigger (i.e. use prebundling into Windows as an unfair weapon). Erik Huggers, who is now a senior at the BBC, was apparently among the felons. He used to work in this division at Microsoft. He even attended the antitrust trials in Europe where Microsoft lost the case to RealNetworks and was forced to pay compensation (heavy fines).

Portable Media Players

“Novell helps Microsoft in that regard because it supports Silverlight through development of Moonlight.”At the moment, Microsoft also has Apple to worry about because of iPod and iTunes. Microsoft apparently sues Apple by proxy in order to accomplish its goals.

Web-based Media Players

Then you have Adobe with its large variety of Flash-based media players. YouTube is a prime example but it is only one among many more.

Microsoft pretty much attacks Google's YouTube by proxy. Google happily uses Flash and competes against Microsoft’s Soapbox, so it’s hardly surprising. Lastly, there is Silverlight, which includes Microsoft’s ambition to make all Web-based video players dependent on Microsoft-patented technology (.NET). Novell helps Microsoft in that regard because it supports Silverlight through development of Moonlight. This probably does more harm than good in the same way that Novell’s paid-for OOXML support harms ODF.

Media Center (Set-top Boxes)

There is another vector of attack. Remind yourselves of the fact that Microsoft was recently accused (several times in fact) of fueling DVD format wars in order to eliminate physical media altogether, or at least make it less attractive. Microsoft strives to have physical media replaced by Microsoft’s download services (VoD on XBox360, Media Player/Center in Windows Vista, et cetera).

Instead of having choice of media players, one then depends on availability of Microsoft products. Remember the OSC‘s analogy which claims that BBC might as well just support Sony televisions. Also remember that to Microsoft, "cross-platform" means "working across different Microsoft platforms" (e.g. Windows Mobile, XBox).

An article that recently appeared in The Register seems to confirm that Microsoft’s plan — and what some called “conspiracy” at the time — is actually believable, based on the words of Steve Jobs.

Blu-ray Disc beat HD DVD, but who cares? Downloads, not physical media, are the future of HD content consumption. So said Apple CEO Steve Jobs this week, a comment that’s a distant echo of allegations made by Transformers director Michael Bay last year.

Bay grumbled that the HD format war was, in part, Microsoft’s fault, the fight being stirred up to worry consumers into not buying eitehr format and give the software giant to put movie download and rental services in place. Which is, of course, just what Apple launched this week: HD-ready iTunes Movie Rentals.

There is more evidence of that in this stories roundup (mind the links at the bottom).

Playing Politics

But who would possibly choose Microsoft over Adobe? And why? Well, Microsoft has a very extensive ecosystem of partners and it already uses many of the partnerships to spread Silverlight. One example to name here is the big partnership in China. You will need Silverlight to watch the Olympics Games. Despite the fact that China has some sort of an exclusive relationship with Microsoft, there will be some Free software in the back rooms at these events and Windows Vista has already been rejected (they bought XP laptops from Lenovo in advance). Why not GNU/Linux? Just watch how cozy and close Bill Gates and the Chinese authorities have grown.

iPlayer

In the following new article, Sam Varghese reminds us of the BBC fiasco. A tax-funded establishment sold itself to Microsoft, which then used the BBC to extend is software monopoly and control more of media (see 11 links at the top).

The BBC and Linux – when you see the two words juxtaposed together, one tends to be surprised. Simply because all the recent coverage of the Beeb has been about the iPlayer fiascos – how the biggest public broadcaster came out with a player that could cater to just one platform.

Europe Being Played by Microsoft

If you thought the BBC story was as obnoxious as it gets, then look away at the sight of this news. It has just been published and it seems to suggest that Microsoft is doing it again in more and more countries. They are ‘pulling a BBC’.

Microsoft is also approaching the problem with a new range of software, the Citizen Service Platform (CSP), launched at the Berlin conference. The idea is to facilitate cooperation by offering the same products to everybody, as has already occurred in offices and households worldwide with its Windows operating system.

IPTV Plays the Microsoft Tune

Microsoft’s IPTV ‘battle against Linux’ received no proper coverage in this site. To give just a few of instances of Linux success in this domain consider:

Electronics firms plan Internet televisions

The new televisions will use Linux operating systems instead of Microsoft Windows, it added. That feature is aimed at cutting the time needed to boot up and reducing the risk of virus infection.

TV Makers to Collaborate on Internet TV Standards

The new sets reportedly will be based on the Linux operating system.

Internet TV plans revealed by Japanese manufacturers

The Japanese consumer electronics companies aim to develop broadband-enabled televisions that can download and display videos from the internet wihtout the need for a separate set-top box or computer.

They plan to establish a common standard for aspects of internet TV, based on a Linux operating system.

STB reference design runs Linux

Visioneering Corp. and DigiLink Software announced the availability of a compact hardware/software reference design for an IPTV set-top box (STB). The design runs MontaVista Linux on Visioneering’s TI DaVinci-based Sonata STB hardware platform, and comes with DigiLink’s Linux-based software stack, codecs, and development kit.

Microsoft’s many failure in this areas are omitted from this post for they can be viewed as “Microsoft bashing”. Regardless, through the use of contracts and approach towards politicians, Microsoft has been able to circumvent the dominance of Linux at times. There are new examples too.

Consider Korea for example because it's already strangled by ActiveX. If you want to use something other than Windows in Korea, you can’t access vital services, thanks to ‘extensions’ Microsoft introduced only to eliminate competition. Korean authorities seems to be fooled by this again (the new wave of lock-in). Days ago Microsoft signed an IPTV deal in Korea.

Daum, South Korea’s second-largest Web portal and search engine company, will develop the IPTV content, while Microsoft will offer the latest version of its Internet television software platform, Microsoft Mediaroom, the release said. Celrun, a Korean digital device maker, will provide set-top boxes and other digital devices, the release said.

Why are politicians still falling for this scam?

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2 Comments

  1. Liqudboy said,

    February 3, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Gravatar

    Silverlight enables media on the web, it doesn’t control it!

    Right now .net developers do not have a compelling way to develop media applications. We would need to hire in flash developers to incorporate media into our web applications.

    Microsoft recognized that .net developers need this feature. That’s all it is, a way for us .net developers to have what adobe/flash developers have had all along, the ability to build media applications in an environment that is supportive of our skills.

    I don’t want to learn flash (which itself is a closed technology). I want to build in a language that I’m comfortable in! Silverlight is this environment, it is technically innovative and it really delivers rich experiences beyond what we .net developers can currently build. This is an amazing technology!

    You bloggers and journalist’s always think that you know better then us technology geeks that use it day-in and day-out. If all the other OS’s and programming environments were as good as Microsoft’s then you would see a mass exodus of developers into those technologies… BUT what you see is a huge microsoft community of developers, because there technology is far superior than any other vendors (both proprietary and open)..

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 3, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Gravatar

    You are completely missing the point. If you want to develop in .NET, then fine. Don’t make Web sites, which are intended for a broad audience, dependent on .NET because not everyone can use .NET. Microsoft, by the way, has a long history of just using and deceiving its developers and partners for its own benefit. It’s all well documented.

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