Longhorn not threatened by Mac 'halo' effect

Longhorn not threatened by Mac 'halo' effect

Summary: Jo Best from Silicon.com, a sister CNET Networks property to ZDNet, reports that Microsoft still intends to ship Longhorn in 2006 and that the Redmond-based company doesn't think that the next version of its desktop operating system is going to suffer from any halo effect being introduced into the market by Apple's iPod.

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TOPICS: Apple
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Jo Best from Silicon.com, a sister CNET Networks property to ZDNet, reports that Microsoft still intends to ship Longhorn in 2006 and that the Redmond-based company doesn't think that the next version of its desktop operating system is going to suffer from any halo effect being introduced into the market by Apple's iPod. The halo effect to which Best refers has to do with the recently reported boost in sales and marketshare that Apple's desktop systems are apparently enjoying as they ride the coattails of iPod's success. The timing of renewed interest in Apple's systems, along with the fact that a new version of the OS X operating system (code-named Tiger) is on the way, may at first appear to be the sort of double-whammy that Microsoft needs least as questions about Longhorn's timing and upgrade-worthiness continue to get raised.

But, if you ask me, not only won't Microsoft feel the halo effect of Apple's iPod, it may only be a matter of time before Apple is feeling the halo effect of Windows Media. Much of attention and scrutiny being applied to Longhorn is misplaced because the industry is so used to operating systems being the center of attention when it comes to thriving ecosystems. Traditionally, an ecosystem is where developers for a particular operating system beget more software for that OS, and more software begets more users of that OS, and more users of that OS begets more developers who develop more software and so on. Spoils of untold riches go to the vendors of the most vibrant ecosystems. But, taking RSS as an example, today's most vibrant ecosystems are not necessarily based on software and operating systems, but rather on content and content management/distribution platforms.

Much to the benefit of the more popular blogging platforms provided by companies like Google (Blogger.com), Six Apart (Typepad), and Userland (Radio Userland), the sudden ramp-up of RSS-delivered text (blogs, newsfeeds, etc.) in the last year clearly dwarfs any growth spurt ever observed in software development circles and is reviving the old axiom that content is king. While there appears to be no end in sight for RSS-delivered text, RSS-delivered audio (aka: podcasts) is already out of the gates and it's only a matter of time before RSS-delivered video (no brand name yet. Update: Engadget calls this broadcatching for taking delivery of broadcast television shows via RSS but no word on what Google will call it when it's your video) busts into full stride. So, the big question now regarding halo effects has nothing to do with OS-based ecosystems, but rather content-based ecosystems.

Unfortunately for vendors like Apple and Microsoft (and fortunately for users), there's not much they can do to co-opt RSS-based distribution of text (well, there is, but that's a story for a different blog). RSS-based distribution of text is firmly rooted in standard technologies (like XML and the Web) over which no company has enough influence to disadvantage the others. Although Apple got lucky to have its brand associated with RSS-delivered audio (again, podcasting), even that form of content will be difficult for any vendor to "own" because of how the MP3 standard is the most widely distributed and used audio format. (MP3 files can be played by just about any device that can play digital audio.) But, with video, the entire game changes. Unlike the way MP3 got a major foothold before any of the vendor-specific audio formats could interfere with its traction, the reverse is true of video. While MPEG4 is arguably the closest thing we have to a vendor-neutral digital video distribution platform, the vendor-specific platforms from Microsoft, Real, and Apple are the ones with the headstart.


While Apple with its iPod appears to have the deepest penetration of its proprietary technology in the portable audio content space, the appetite for portable video content will be sufficient for technology buyers to seriously consider their options before taking the next handheld plunge. Forgetting phone functionality for a minute, they'll want (if they want to spend their money wisely) a single mobile device that can handle RSS-delivered text, audio, and video. Not only that, in true ecosystem fashion, the way users are drawn to operating systems for which a huge library of software exists, users will be drawn to content platforms for which a huge library of content exists. So, here are some questions to ask. First, what primary digital video formats are in use today? Answer: Windows Media, Real, and Quicktime. Second, if you wanted to buy a handheld device like an MP3 player that's capable of consuming digital video, which of those three formats is actually supported by such devices? As it turns out, all three. But of the three, do you think there's any demand for mobile videos based on Real or Quicktime? Sure, those technologies are available for a few devices, but if you're a content developer (and hopefully, you can see the ecosystem direction I'm taking here) what's the single largest meatball-of-a-target--the one that offers a fair degree of synchronization and media management across devices (albeit a bit painful)? If you guessed Windows Media, then you and I are are on the same wavelength.

The next big generation of developers are not software developers but rather, content developers. Therefore, the next generation of successful ecosystems are content ecosystems, not software ecosystems. And today, there's only one of those that looks even remotely promising as an ecosystem that reaches all kinds of stationary and mobile devices (desktops, PDAs, phones, etc.) and it's the reason that Microsoft doesn't really need to worry very much about how well Longhorn does. Windows Media, which transcends operating systems (making them sort of irrelevant... you don't even have to buy one now to play back Windows Media-formatted content) and telecommunications networks, will be Microsoft's next franchise. The only hope for an alternative might be Quicktime.

Finally, there will be the Apple faithful who say never count us out (sitting in front of a PowerBook here with an iPod permanently connected to my teenager's belt, I can understand this). But, for Apple to seriously challenge Windows Media and Microsoft, it will have to convert the iPod faithful into the Quicktime faithful, which in turn requires one of two tricks: (1) Activating some dormant Quicktime technology in all those iPods (I don't think this exists, but I have read about interesting hacks) is one approach that would take Microsoft by surprise, or (2) shipping video-enabled iPods sometime this year (seems more likely considering the rumors -- I hope they have bigger displays).

Even so, Apple will need to triple the iPod buzz it already has to fuel interest from the content developer side. One reason for this is that Microsoft, because of its work in the phone space, has much better relationships with the telecommunications and cell-phone mafias than does any other media platform company. In true ecosystem fashion, access to those users will affect the choices that content developers are making when figuring out which platform to target. Not surprisingly, some huge content providers like MTV, MSNBC.com, Food Network, Fox Sports, IFilm, CinemaNow, MTV, Napster and TiVo are already swinging in the direction of Windows Media, and I wouldn't be surprised if the platform's momentum draws in some other big content names as we head deeper into 2005. To compete on these fronts with Microsoft will require some interesting partnerships--not just with content providers, but with companies like PalmOne and RIM, two outfits that, because of their popular Treos and Blackberries (respectively speaking), already have some good relationships with the aforementioned mafias.

Bottom line: Halo effect? Guffaw. Not even with governments trying to undo Microsoft's dominance of the media client before it happens does the company have any halo effects to worry about.

Topic: Apple

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22 comments
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  • Flawed logic

    Apple is a hardware manufacturer. OS X is part of their hardware
    selling strategy. You can't use the same paradigm as you can
    with MS.

    Apple doesn't have to "own" the data protocols, they can simply
    make the HARDWARE that handles the data better than anyone
    else.

    The iPod was a hit BEFORE the iTUnes Music Store, when all it
    did was allow you to listen to your MP3 music. AAC and the
    iTunes Music Store were introduced later.
    baggins_z
    • Proprietary - hard vs. soft

      Right.

      Apple is a company whose core business is traditionally selling
      proprietary hardware. MS is a company whose core business is
      selling proprietary software.

      As a result, particularly today, Apple supports open industry
      standards for file formats and protocols (as well as many MS
      formats and protocols) but they maintain complete control over
      hardware. MS on the other hand, supports open industry
      standards for hardware, but attempts to maintain complete
      control over file formats and protocols. Therefore, they have a
      tendency to want to prevent the adoption of open formats and
      protocols which undermine their core business.

      One of the best things about Mpeg4 is that it solves the problem
      of player formats taking precidence over video formats. With
      Mpeg4, an Mp4 file (.mp4) should be playable on Windows
      Media, QuickTime, Real, or any player which supports the
      standard. However, Real and MS both have proprietary file
      formats to protect, and QuickTime doesn't (I don't think), so it's
      not surprising if MS shuns Mpeg4 and Real hedges it's bets.
      CleanAirSystem
  • Content Players

    You may be right about the content players you listed and Microsoft. But the real corner with video will be turned with Movies, not TV type content. Movies will drive the video revolution on the Internet, just as music, not audio books, drove the sound revolution.

    The first company that gets the big movie houses to transmit their movies legally through the net will be the first to make it big. Personally, I see a iFilm Store from Apple happening before a MS Movie Store. Especially since Sony and Apple are teaming up pretty closely on HD Video. You might see new Apple CD/DVD Drives being able to read and write to Sony's UMD format. Thus, buy your movies on a Mac from iFilm Store and watch them on a PSP. After all, OS X will support HD.264 with the release of Tiger. HD quality with a very small size compared to MPEG-4. That's what will drive legal movies on the web. And I see Apple and Sony doing that first (and of course Pixar for obvious reasons).
    openMind
  • TiVo

    Interesting article although I'm not sure I agree to the conclusion. In my opinion there is already a huge amount of content out there and it has nothing to do with any of the players (Real, QT, Windows Media) mentioned in the article. The source of the all this content is TV.
    Now, the latest iPod photo has a 60 GB hard disk (Tivo has 40 or 80 GB disks) and a S-video out plug. How difficult would it be to build a cradle with TV in and an application to store TV programs?
    The iPod would suddenly become a Tivo on the go...
    And what about copying the content of DVDs to an iPod...
    Not average Joe
  • Wrong Conclusion, Wrong Time

    The days of killer apps are over, yet why do journalists continue
    to write as though the next big thing is just over the horizon.
    The transition into digital media will have a impact on us but it
    will be minimal compared to what has already happened. We
    already have TVs thanks. The iPod was the last impactful device.
    The iPod is a fairly simple, fairly dumb, storage tank for music,
    we've had them before, this one is better. It's digital and is a
    superb design but it is one of the less sophisticated items that
    Apple produces.

    The computer and the OS on the other hand, continue to be the
    hub, the jukebox, the paintbrush, the typewiter, the all-round
    communication tool. More importantly it also is the creative tool
    and scientific instrument. The zeitgeist is, and will be, the
    interplay between multiple software applications that are
    allowed to harmonize in 1 place safely. The future is more about
    creation than consumption. To say that our grand future is to be
    defined by a daily spoonfeeding of push media is naive. Content
    platforms ARE going to be central but central in an arena that
    has diminishing consequence and one flooded with contributors.
    57 Channnels and nothing on? Try 500. This is exactly why
    distributing content within a closed and second rate technology
    is not going to happen in the longer term. This is also why the
    same open standards responsible for wide mp3 usage and the
    web itself are the signposts to the future. Content providers are
    VERY reluctant to standardize around a licence that they can't
    trust.

    Portable video is a non starter now and will continue to be. If the
    Windows media player is the choice for these marginal
    applications then it's largely another waste of time by Microsoft.
    Just another Tablet PC, SPOT watch or networked fridge. These
    ideas are simply retarded and they wonder how Apple can
    succeed with the iPod?

    There needs to be a larger understanding of these issues before
    shooting from the hip. There are fundamental differences
    between Quicktime and WMF. Please, lets not try to compare the
    philosophies behind them or the engineering they are built on.
    Quicktime is a container for multiple technologies, at it's core is
    mpeg 4. WMF is another "good enough" kludge to channel
    people into using a MS license.

    So Microsoft has the weight and distribution channel? Well tell us
    something we don't know. As much as modern tech journalism
    is one painfull declaration of the obvious after another, it would
    be nice to see further ahead than next week. Tell us what you
    want, not what you're given.

    Finally, to increasingly refer to a computer as primarily a content
    delivery appliance is to greatly diminish their potential as tools.
    If cancer is cured, computers will have helped run the tests, my
    money's on OSX. If you want to find a halo effect, look there.
    Harry Bardal
    • Evidence would suggest otherwise.

      wrong conclusion, wrong time? Add these up:

      1) usage of portable DVD players and to a lesser extent animation enabled devices like gameboys.
      2) downloading of desperate housewives and other TV via bittorrent (see http://news.zdnet.com/Impatient+TV+viewers+turn+to+BitTorrent/2100-9588_22-5653362.html)
      3) Google setting up a personal video upload/download service (http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/index.php?p=1236)
      4) the idea of broadcatching (see http://features.engadget.com/entry/1234000167021291/ )..the end of that "story" says: "As more portable video players hit the market, we expect to see a lot of people then transferring their TV shows to these devices"...

      I don't make this stuff up. I just add it up. I guess my math could be bad.
      dberlind
      • Good Math, Just the Wrong Place to Use It

        Portables didn't exist, now they do. Clearly the market has
        nowhere to go but up. Desperate Housewives is hot, no
        question.

        My issue is not the transition to digital, that's a given. Portable
        video is as needful as the desire to watch Deperate
        Housewives when not at home and capable of being stationary
        for an hour. My guess is, not much. What's your guess?

        My problem is the notion that you think the vehicle for that
        transition is a given too. Another treatise on Microsoft's
        dominence is fine for the news page but not the blog. The news
        is about deductive reasoning. It should be. But what is a blog
        page if not an opinion. What we're getting journalistic feedback.
        Stories about stories about stories ad infinitum. It's starting to
        sound shrill. I want your opinions, your creativity and your wish
        lists in this forum not recycled polling and the invoking of the
        "market".

        The reason people like Jobs can have everyone and their dog
        chasing after him is because he pulls his thumb out and makes
        stuff. If more people did it well we'd care less about his halo
        effect.

        This is an argument for the creative impulse and it's need to
        exist outside a restrictive license.

        At the end of the day it's creativity and inductive reasoning I
        want in a blog as well. You don't make this stuff up? That's the
        problem.

        regards
        Harry Bardal
    • Re: Wrong Conclusion . .

      "Portable video is a non starter now" YES, you are absolutely correct.

      I have never seen a non-geek using a tiny portable video device. By the time you build in a screen big enough to watch video your phone, etc. is too big to carry.

      Those little TV's you will see some people carry to football games, etc. are seldom if ever used any other time.

      The only "halo effect" I've noticed in the past few years is anything that competes with Microsoft because non-PC industries are terrified of letting MS into their markets.
      alterego_z
      • Agreed

        "It's the small screen, dummy".

        The only way I see that "On The Fly" video becomes important is
        if somebody manages to make "Mission Impossible" sunglasses.

        Now, that would be so cool it could take off.

        Until then, video needs a screen you can actually see.

        Use the iPod to carry the video around !
        Jkirk3279
  • Longhorn Delay May Lead to Apple Steering

    I see Longhorn's biggest weakness is that the long delay in its introduction has given Apple an incredible advantage in making the most of its iTunes, iPod advantage, expanded with the Mini-mac's introduction.

    Yes the Mac's market share is now small. And all you say about cross platform stuff has merit. But, many, many people are very weary of problems in Windows Land and the tenacity of the Mac faithful and the coolness of the Mac recent product line is causing conversations that were not happening years ago.

    I've been a Mac user since the Mac Classic at home while doing Windows at work. Until the iPod came out and iTunes started selling, no one seemed interested in Mac.

    Now, I get questions all the time from friends, family, people curious about Mac. All the time. Weekly. I hear discussions in the park. In restaurants. In lines in the store ("Mommy, I need an iPod and a Mini-Mac! I need them!").


    If anything, the changes on the internet have made switching to the Mac easier not harder. IE for Mac works fine but Firefox is much faster. Both work fine with Blogspot.

    Is Longhorn "Threatened" in the sense of Microsofts commercial base? Probably not, for now. It depends on several things.

    One, will Longhorn work out of the box without serious defects, bugs, back doors, security flaws, and needs for continual updates. If fixing these is the reason for the delays, then Gates is right to delay the release. The chief complaint corporate users have had with Microsoft systems has been the need to continually fix problems with its systems. The fear of introducing a new operating system too quickly because it could not be trusted to work, right out of the box, and of course for legitimate training reasons.

    Virus problems have been another concern. At my last employer we finally began to have serious discussions about having a Mac backbone of redundancy because a Windows virus crippled the entire network bringing all network printer and database activity to a halt for almost a full day while the 5 Macs in graphics and their dedicated printers and server mmed merrily along, completely unaffected.

    But most IT management is too stubborn to go Mac so Longhorn is a safe bet for the Work environment, but in the home market, I would not be surprised to see significant continued growth over the next 5 years.

    People are funny. They know easy when they see it. They know cool when they see it. They are pretty smart about things like recognizing that using a force quit feature to get out of a hung up application is a lot faster than doing a cold boot and a lot safer for your data.

    On the other side, games fanatics may or may not go Mac. Though a souped up G5 with all the video works is a powerful machine, not all games are Made for Mac and Virtual PC 7 may slow things down too much. Not an expert.

    I do know this. I would never have predicted the number of iPod, iShuffle and iTunes sales to date when they were announced. Nor the overall Mac sales trends. 2006 is a long way away.

    Tiger is coming and we still don't know what Jobs has hidden under the covers.

    That's my 2 bits.

    Peter

    http://thepeterfiles.com

    G4 iMac User, who also has non-Mac experience going back to the C-64 and the dos command line
    Thepeterfiles.blogspot.com
    • Link Fix

      Sorry

      I'm at

      Http://thepeterfiles.blogspot.com

      Peter
      Thepeterfiles.blogspot.com
  • "Best Buy" effect

    I'm wondering what will happen when Mac Mini's are available at Best Buy, Target, etc.

    Up to now, you have had to order a Mac Mini and wait a couple of weeks. What will happen when you can pick up one at your local big box store?

    These days, a Windows user need to be a pretty good geek to stay out of trouble.

    I'm constantly asked by my users and clients about new computer purchases. I point them to an article on the Microsoft site titled "Six steps to secure your brand new computer"

    http://www.microsoft.com/smallbusiness/issues/technology/security/6_steps_to_help_secure_your_brand_new_pc.mspx

    I tell them to do everything in the article, then make sure to run Windows Update at least once a week, update their antivirus and antispyware program daily, and do full system scans every week. Then I tell them that even if they do it all, they will still probably get infected with viruses and spyware.

    After than most people ask me if I do all that, and I answer "No, I have a Mac. So far, it hasn't been necessary"
    alterego_z
    • Alterego is clearly clairvoyant

      Best buy announced today that it will be selling minis: http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1040_22-5655593.html

      [Edited by: admin on Apr 5, 2005 2:40 PM]
      dberlind
  • Mac "halo" Effect Just a Blip on a Radar Screen

    You guys don?t seem to understand just how technologically advanced Longhorn will be. It?s going be very advanced! The idea that Apple?s Mac OS upgrade this year is going to be comparable to Longhorn is a joke. MS has made the Windows API in Longhorn into a dream ? modeled very similarly after .Net. Avalon by default is an easy to use 3D system allowing for stunning possibilities. This means there is the possibility for applications to allow for the creation of 3D animation presentations by users, providing remarkable realism to presentations of all kinds. This also means that brand new 3D metaphors for presenting information can be created, allowing us to move away from 2D representations that are not that intuitive. Then there are vector graphics, significant enhancements to the way words can be displayed on the screen using Cleartype and anti-aliasing, support for high resolution screens ? all of these things allowing people to do on their computers, more of the stuff they do on paper today. Many people do not realize it, but the Tablet PC can be a very important key to the broad use of electronic paper. Cleartype is at the point where it makes a lot of sense to do mark ups of your documents on a Tablet PC, and keeping your notes electronic. Quite frankly, this alone justifies having a Tablet PC. You can mark up or create any ad hoc document; store it, organize it, search it, electronically distribute it, etc. Believe me, the Tablet PC is anything but irrelevant technology. E.g. reading ebooks on Tablet PCs is more fun and convenient than reading regular books, because of all the books you can store and better organize on a PC, and because of all the electronic manipulation you can do the text in the ebooks.

    There really is a ton of new, advanced, easy to use technologies in Longhorn, which absolutely blow away technologies in the new version of the Mac. You really cannot compare the two platforms.

    Regarding the better media platform: I?m really amazed at how people try to compare the Mac to Windows Media Center. The Media Center is far more advanced than the Mac for the manipulation and consumption of entertainment data of all kind. Not only can you from the Media Center interface coherently view picture, music, and video content on your PC, you can consume TV data, and data from services provided by a range of service provides ? given the fact that Media Center is extensible. You can also easily export your data to portable digital devices.

    Regarding content: it is still about the platform when it comes to developing the best ecosystems. Certainly you can create generic platforms, and they can have great value like the web. But then you always run into the problem of the Least Common Denominator effect. In other words, you always wind up being held back in the way you can innovate. MS has shown that the web is great for the wide, rich distribution of data. However, having rich client platforms allow you in many cases to manipulate data from the web, in far richer ways than you can do in a web browser. Therefore to the extent that Longhorn, WMP and related technologies, and other MS technologies, provide a richer and broader platform for the delivery and consumption of Internet media data, it is only a matter of time before MS and partners overtake the iPod, and be overall the preferred platform for the delivery and consumption of Internet and other media.
    P. Douglas
    • OMG

      Have you ever even visited apple.com to see what Tiger is bringing. Please do your research!

      Tablet PC is a non-starter in it's current form, people like books, get over it. The only markets using it are warehousing, and inventory control. Even they still prefer PDAs. I can't imagine taking a TabletPC to bed with me, like I do a book!

      Media Center more advanced than Mac. Hmm, never seen iLife then. iLife is about making what should be difficult, simple. People buy Macs just for iDVD and iMovie, because plugging their camcorder into a PC just doesn't cut it, whether it's Media Center or not. The Mac Mini is a real solution here, and it's fully loaded with a FREE copy of iLife. By the way, given MPEG 4 is the standard on which almost every digital device is based, exporting is simple. I can even export via bluetooth directly to literally millions of phones.

      I do agree however, that there isn't really an app that does the same thing that Media Center does when you plug it into a TV; however, how many of these things have actually been sold? Not many... And HP decided to integrate iTunes into it because it needed it!

      When you compare the capabilities of Mac OS X with Longhorn you're shown several things: Graphically Mac OS X is years ahead. What Longhorn is bringing, Mac OS X has had for what, 4 years! Cleartype? Yep, there is a better system that's actually switched on by default.
      henryb7318
    • LOL

      Spoken by a true Microsoft Windows user who has never used a
      Mac. Look, I have been using Windows since Windows 3.1 -
      probably before you were born. :-) I have run everything in
      between (Win 3.1 through Win XP Pro). I switched to a Mac in
      November 2004. It was my very first Macintosh computer ever.
      It runs OS X. I can honestly compare the two platforms. I use
      Windows XP Pro at work too. Look, OS X is far superior to Win
      XP. I bought a laptop (12" PowerBook) last month (my second
      ever Mac computer). Why? It is a better platform. It's more
      secure (now and will be in the future because it's based off of
      FreeBSD).

      Anyway, before bashing OS X you should at least spend a month
      with it.
      my.subscriptions@...
  • pronghorn ain't threatened

    WMP is wimpy. The video isn't great, the software sucks, and if it
    fits in wit .NET then it's merely a wrapper to cover up defects in
    Windoze. Get real! it's just another crappy implementation of a
    poor proprietary format that makes you and me beholden to a
    software juggernaut. I prefer not to get crushed under the
    wheels.
    binesi
  • Mac halo affect about to hit the tipping point

    The short answer is that what's about to happen in the digital
    media world will be very different from what David Berlind has
    described.

    Just to make sure everyone playing at home understands,
    QuickTime isn't a format; it's an architecture and has been since
    1991. It's already the chosen format for the MPEG-4 standard. In
    addition, the wireless media standards 3GPP & 3GPP2 are based
    on MPEG-4. So, by definition, every celluar network that
    supports these standards already supports QuickTime. In this
    country, that's Verizon and Sprint.

    Apple already creates the entire solution for authoring, editing
    and distributing digital content. Every QuickTime-enabled
    application can export MPEG-4 and 3GPP/3GPP2 files, which can
    be distributeted over the net. Sprint has already certified Apple's
    Xserve for this very use: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/
    2004/aug/26sprint.html.

    So, lets summarize: the standard for media on 3G networks in
    3GPP & 3GPP2, which QuickTime natively supports. And the
    major carriers are on board--not just in the US but globally.

    AAC is a standard--anyone who wants to can get the
    specification and create their own player, including open source
    ones. Google 'open source aac' and you'll see what I mean. AAC
    is also part of (guess what?) MPEG-4. Windows Media is
    proprietary to Microsoft. Fairplay, Apple's DRM scheme is what's
    proprietary to Apple.

    Now, probably by the middle on this year, over 500 million
    tracks will have been downloaded from the iTunes store, all of
    them in AAC format. And that doesn't count the many millions
    of AAC files created by users that rip their own CDs.

    Tiger, which is about to ship, supports H.264, also known as
    MPEG-4 Part 10. It's super high quality and scales from
    handheld devices to HD displays. This is the same codec that's
    part of both specs (Blue Ray and HD-DVD) for high definition
    DVDs. So no matter what spec wins, H.264 wins.

    And because it's bandwidth friendly, it's more likely that Apple
    will be able to create a digital video service using H.264 that
    would be similar to the iTunes Music Store today--regardless if
    the content is movies, music videos, tv programs or whatever.
    Again, QuickTime-enabled applications get H.264 support for
    free. That means iMovie, Powerpoint, Final Cut, etc. will be able
    to create H.264 files when running on Tiger.

    So, lets summarize again: Apple has picked industry standards
    and incorporated them into QuickTime. QuickTime 7, which is
    about to ship in Tiger, has support for H.264 and a bunch of
    other things. Microsoft hasn't solved their iPod/AAC/QuckTime
    problem on Widows yet; they certainly have no answer for
    MPEG-4/3GPP/H.264. We'll probably get more FUD like Plays for
    Sure.

    Apple is so far ahead of Microsoft in the music space, it's
    shocking. There could be a billion downloads (all in QuickTime
    compatible AAC format) by the end of 2005 from iTunes. And
    whatever device comes next from Apple that's focused on
    video--a set top box, a DVR, an expanded iPod that does
    video--Apple will recreate what they've already created with
    iTunes. There will be hundreds of millions more QuickTime
    compatible files on hard drives. As successful as the iPod is,
    what people haven't noticed is that QuickTime is being loaded
    on millions of PCs that normally would only have Windows
    Media, because of iTunes and the iPod. And you can be sure the
    next version of iTunes ensures that every Windows users gets
    QuickTime 7.

    Get ready--it's about to go down.

    -- Al
    awillis_z
    • I agree

      I agree, Quicktime is the trojan horse. Install iTunes get Quicktime. In the last couple of years, Real has been beaten into 3rd place behind Windows Media and now Quicktime in terms of market share. That's a massive change from Quicktime being what, 10% of the market?

      iPod is so much more than a music player, it's success has enabled Apple to parlay into new markets, reach new customers with Mac Mini, expand markets such as Quicktime and Mac OS X and become "relevant" again.

      These things are all connected, and just like MS did, Apple as an entire company will benefit. They may not win everything, but that's obvious, MS still have traction all over the place. Their systems are "locking" companies in (Quicktime, xServe, Final Cut Pro etc), almost like MS have in the past. Except you aren't really locked in with technology, you're locked in with superiority. Don't like Quicktime Streaming Server? Fine, switch to Real and you can still stream your MPEG 4. Don't like Windows Media? Tough. Don't like Final Cut Pro? Fine use Adobe Premiere. You don't get those choices with Windows Media. And just like MS says, it's all about choice!

      Apple isn't just a Mac company anymore, they are a solutions company, and not just to consumers, and vertical markets, to all sorts of businesses.
      henryb7318
      • Trojan Horse

        Somebody came up with a great theory a few months back.

        He looked at patent applications and deduced that Apple was
        planning to add video player ability to iTunes.

        No more need for a DVD player app, either. Pop a DVD in, or
        download a divX clip, and iTunes plays it for you. Maybe
        including visual effects in the background !

        And with this ability on the PC version of iTunes also, M$ will be
        caught by surprise ... again.

        Non-commercial videos could be exported to QT7 and
        downloaded to iPods for convenient transport.

        If you want to deter a Vampire, legend says use garlic. If you
        want to deter M$, common sense says make a better product.

        M$ has ruled with fear, intimidation, and outright cheating for
        years now.

        But All Good Things come to an end.

        Thousands of years ago, the Mayans were sacrificing human
        beings to their gods. And making war, as the story goes, to get
        captives for the sacrifices.

        In Communist Russia, a knock on the door at midnight was a
        death knell. Tens of millions of people were disappeared and
        the public were too scared to do anything to stop it.

        But those days are gone. And one day, M$ will be gone.
        Because the Human race is moving away from tolerating this
        kind of bullying.


        What, do you think it's over the top to compare M$ to Vampires,
        Human sacrifice and Stalin?

        It's all a matter of degree...
        Jkirk3279