Microsoft may "encourage" support for HD-DVD
EETimes has a story discussing how
Microsoft may leverage its OS market share
to encourage adoption of the HD-DVD standard. According to the article, Microsoft may offer "coupons" (that is, cash incentives) to PC manufacturers who agree to support HD-DVD. Microsoft hasn't confirmed or denied the rumors, but has denied that such support would amount to playing favorites or hurt competition. From the article:
Asked whether Microsoft is now doing just that [playing favorites], Weber said that in the end, "It's about money and the cost to the PC industry." Whereas the overall Blu-ray royalty structure adds up to $30 per PC drive, she said, everything a PC vendor needs to support HD-DVD "comes free, shipped and integrated with Vista - Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation operating system."
The article goes on to explore potential reasons behind Microsoft's sudden interest in optical data formats, given that they've historically tended to stay out to stay out of such discussions. Microsoft's long-term plans for the Xbox 360 and Bill Gates' stated belief
that Blu-ray will be the last physical format, ever, make the question of why Microsoft is choosing to back HD-DVD now particularly interesting. In the same interview quoted above, Gates says Blu-ray's lack of user-friendly managed copy options are the primary reason for Microsoft's decision to back HD-DVD. Apparently that hasn't changed, even though Blu-ray has now adopted
a set of mandatory managed copy permissions similar to those in HD-DVD.