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Director: Microsoft fueling HD wars

updated 04:35 pm EST, Tue December 4, 2007

Bay on Microsoft HD

Microsoft is deliberately feeding into the HD disc format wars to ensure that its own downloads succeed where physical copies fail, says movie director Michael Bay in a response to a question posed through his official forums. The producer contends that Microsoft is writing "$100 million dollar checks" to movie studios to ensure HD DVD exclusives that hurt the overall market regardless of the format's actual merit or its popularity, preventing any one format from gaining a clear upper hand. Bay's own Transformers is available on disc only in the less popular HD DVD format despite his stated preference for Blu-ray. To the director, this is primarily a stalling tactic while Microsoft refines its own online-only technology.

"What you don't understand is corporate politics," he says in the response. "Microsoft [officials] want both formats to fail so they can be heroes and make the world move to digital downloads."

Microsoft is known to support HD DVD-only studios and promotional groups financially and offers its own add-on player for the Xbox 360, but has also shifted much of its attention to the download-only Xbox Video Marketplace, which will expand worldwide next week. The console service allows users to rent movies and buy TV shows at an HD resolution and with prices roughly favorable to physical stores.

Regardless of actual intent, the balancing effect spurred on by the sponsors of either format may create trouble for download rivals such as Apple's iTunes and Pioneer's SyncTV, many of which either offer their Internet content only in standard definition or back the Blu-ray standard. Apple has contributed to both Blu-Ray and HD DVD in financial and software support but has yet to introduce a computer or device with an HD-capable optical drive.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    BR - HD

    Divide and rule, i always wondered why MS is supporting HD-DVD so aggressively.

  1. Herod

    Joined: Dec 1969


    doesn't surprise me

    probably will need vista to view them as well.

  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So a movie director knows how much about this? This is just like any other guess posted on a forum, except the guy posting is someone whose name we have heard before.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Blow up MS

    and rid the world of that plague once and for all!

  1. HombrePhaty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bullying and Theft

    The MS empire is built entirely on bullying and theft. None of their successes are caused by innovation or quality. And I suppose that throughout history, success in any field has been gained by bullying and theft. Apple is an exception: their success has come through innovation (being first) and/or quality (being better)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Oh, this is special! Are you telling me there is a corporate entity that has backed a specific format and wants stuff issued in that format? OMG, the next thing you'll tell me that Sony wants its movies only in Blu-Ray because that's the device they've backed and so that they'll be playable in the PS3. Oh, wait, that probably is the case!

    There is a reason they call them the 'format wars'. (Oh, and it's no different then the DVD-R vs DVD+R or VHS vs Betamax wars). If anything, you'll notice Apple doing the "wait on the sideline until the dust settles" move. No sense making another mistake and going with the wrong sister to the prom. They already did that with PCI-X, ADB, NuBus, and DVD-R (I think they started with -R, might have been +R, whichever they picked turned out to be the least favorite of the two).

    BTW, what does the directory prefer? Blu-Ray. So would he be upset or yelling if the movie was only available in that format?

    And is this really anything but another full-of-himself director pissed off because the producers, and not he, is calling the shots?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And he also says: "What you don't understand is corporate politics," he says in the response. "Microsoft [officials] want both formats to fail so they can be heroes and make the world move to digital downloads."

    If they both are being offered, how are they 'failing'? And he's really giving MS a lot of credit. Sure, they once were really good at spinning markets and being able to grab a market, but that was a LONG time ago. If they were that good, the Zune would be the big media player and the iPod the just a distant memory.

    Oh, and lest we forget, the MPAA is really good at s******* people over to suck customers dry of cash (and pocketing most of it). Do you really think they're going to just go "Oh, MS, you saved us! Here, take over this entire market!" You see how they react to Jobs and Apple.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Supposing MS actually manages to buy their model into existence, we all know they're going to bundle a delivery system with their OS. However, as it stands now, Vista isn't selling nearly enough copies to make a dent. Do you think they'd go so far as to put it in with XP, since people actually use it?

    Then again, as soon as someone makes a HD decoder, you know these format-war files are going to show up on P2P networks, making the issue null. The only thing really stopping dissemination in this vehicle are ppl's connection speed.

    Time will tell whether this is BS, or an actual MS scheme gone awry once again.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    missing the point...

    Testudo! The question up to now was why were Microsoft supporting one side where, as an example, Apple supported neither? What interest does a software company have in a physical data format at all? The fact that HD-DVD "ISN'T" Sony, the fact that Blu-Ray uses Sun's Java for interactivity and navigation? I was already aware of the studio payoffs but the suggestion that M$ wants both sides to fail is a new and interesting (if not totally credible) perspective. Also, there's already an installed user base of over 5,000,000 blu-ray players, they're called PS3's against something like 750,000 HD-DVD players, no wonder Bay is pissed. Microsoft may have lost the capacity (and ability) to dominate markets but they retain the deepest pockets with which to s**** up and artificially distort them. Think of the kid who, when not allowed to play, insists on spoiling the game.

  1. McDave

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Think of the kid who, WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH to play, insists...


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