The media juggernaut from Redmond turns another corner

The media juggernaut from Redmond turns another corner

Summary: This is my second media juggernaut story, so I'm going to turn it into a series.  Why not?

tivo1.jpgThis is my second media juggernaut story, so I'm going to turn it into a series.  Why not?  Hardly a week goes by without some other news of another deal for one of Microsoft's media technologies; deals that in toto are resulting in a media technology fortress that will be difficult for any and all competitors -- Apple (Quicktime), RealNetworks (RealPlayer), Adobe (Flash), etc. -- to penetrate once they realize what's been erected.  I began coverage of the phenomenon in January of this year, started the juggernaut theme in May and threw gas on the fire last week (though it wasn't a juggernaut story, per se).  This week, while flying below the radar of the Apple/Intel news the juggernaut's momentum got a serious shot in the arm when Microsoft and TiVo jointly announced that TiVo's TiVoToGo portable video service would be available on mobile devices and phones running Microsoft's software.   The move is yet another in a string of deals that partners Microsoft with the most important players to the future global digital media infrastructure, nearly to the exclusion of all other competitors.  To date, Apple has clearly achieved the most notable success in portable digital media.  But, notwithstanding it's recent deal with Intel,  it's lack of partnerships with important media partners raises the question of whether Microsoft and it's licensees are now strategically positioned to do to Apple with the Windows Media Platform what was done to Palm's marketshare with PocketPC.

Topic: Apple

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  • David, you don't express much of a view point.

    Of your own I mean. Some, the minority I am certain, will see a vast evil in one company setting the defacto standard where things just work. Perhaps it's the "anyone but Mirosoft" thing?

    But the fact is the competing standards thing has gotten old for a lot of people. What file format is this? Does it work with this player or hardware? Do I need to download the codec of the week? It goes on but the point being we have had multiple media formats for years and this is the first time it looks like competition/market is sorting it out. Something ALL markets do at some point.

    The very fact Microsoft is able to win over so many of the key movers and shakers in both the content and delivery side speaks very highly of Microsoft's efforts. These are not Joe Average users making these decisions, they are knowledgable folks with with an eye to make a profit and they see the tools they want to do it with. Contray to popular belief in these talkbacks, there is nothing wrong or sinister in that.

    But what about vendor lock in? What about the competition being wiped away? What about DRM being forced on users? The fact of the matter is that no matter who wins, all of these will happen. Well, I should say if a for profit company wins.

    But what about open source and open standards and open whatever? Again, the answer is the same. They are being beaten by the competiton. As you have pointed out, the number of the pieces MS has made available to different parts of the industry is huge and nothing in the open anything crowd comes close. In fact no competitor comes close on this day.

    If people want to change the growth of Microsoft in this area, they need to compete and come up with the same sort of end to end package, just do it better. That is the very competition you are asking for after all.
    • ignoring the power of having a monopoly

      No_Ax_to_Grind you suggest that microsoft are winning through technical merit alone. I don't want to deny them technical merit but it seems quite clear that they are using their position of power in the OS world as a way to sign deals that will lock others out. The decisions being made are simply business decisions not technical ones.
      Why do you suppose that Microsoft will never add support for an open standard such as OGG Vorbis in media player even though they use it for the sound in Halo 2 ? Microsoft themselves don't mind the other standards technically... it's simply for business they want control. Slowly everyone is using Media Player and ripping all their songs into WMV without even knowing it. If I were a media company I would sign a contract with Microsoft or else it would become very likely I would witness my company die in a couple of years !
      • It makes no difference

        There is nothing illegal about being a monopoly. Nor is there anything wrong with a business using all it's resources to enter a new market. I mean you don't think the IPod sprung up out of nothing do you?

        No, the fact here is that while MS has more resources than the competition, the competition has failed to do anything about it. Lots of small companies find ways to compete against much larger companies, in this case, no one has.
        • Come on, you are smarter than that.

          "There is nothing illegal about being a monopoly. Nor is there anything wrong with a business using all it's resources to enter a new market."

          These are two unrelated true sentences. I hope you did this on purpose just to be a troll.

          If you had properly used the word "monopoly" instead of the word "business" in the second sentence.........
    • One standard, Okay. One standard in the wrong hands, not good!

      One standard controlled by a company with Microsoft's history, no way! That is bad for consumers.

      The MS apologists out there say that Microsoft has done more for the pc industry than anyone else etc, etc.... A fact that is true of almost any monopoly in any area.

      Many believe that Microsoft has done more to harm the progression of the pc industry than to help it.

      Microsoft's own success in the video game business is a prime example of what real competition can do for a market.

      MS made Sony get off their duffs and take things to all kinds of new levels.

      If only Microsoft had faced the same type of competition ten years ago that they are currently giving Sony. Of course, we all know the history of how Microsoft made sure that would not happen.

      What could the OS have been like today if competiton had been allowed to exist?

      We wouldn't have the out of control security, spam and virus problems we have today.

      We would probably have an OS that comes on immediately when you turn on the computer.

      We would have differently priced versions of an OS for the home pc based on consumer need. Not one size and price for all.

      The OS would be easier to use since customer satisfaction would be the primary motivating factor.

      I could go on and on.....

      Without competition, MS has put maintaining it's monopoly ahead of offering a better product.

      Look at the massive advances on the hardware side.
      Faster, smaller, easier to use, cheaper etc. All have progressed with lightning speed in the last ten years.

      Conversely, the Os has become slower, massively larger, much harder to use and not become any cheaper. This is the direct result of no incentive due to no real competition.

      So...... Is not having competing standards preferable and even better for consumers? I would say yes. As long as the standard is not controlled by the wrong entity.
  • So?

    Agreements signed does not mean technologies implemented.
    Of course I'm going to listen to and sign some sort of agreement
    with a monopoly. As a business exec, I can't afford not to. Mr. Bill
    doesn't look kindly on those that don't sign. :-)
  • Toilet TV

    I suppose it's just me that thinks an adult staring at his phone
    for 45 minutes is just a bit sad.

    Another reminder of the inevitable, and the futility of competing
    with Microsoft. The deals stack up and the die is cast. There
    seems to be a giddy satisfaction from drawing attention to this
    juggernaut. It's pointed out to a distracted culture. It will require
    emphasis. Everyone has their nose in their PSP.

    We define ourselves through the things we admire though. There
    are a few left who haven't thrown themselves under Krishna's
    chariot just yet.
    Harry Bardal
  • In the words of ...

    ... Agent Smith from the Matrix, "Do you hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability." :-)
    P. Douglas
  • But who wants to watch

    any video on a tiny, tiny screen? Will there really be a market for this?
    • Who?

      Well, not the US really. But the rest of the world apparently. Those that use their phones for web browsing!

      But I was thinking about the same question. I couldn't imagine the appeal of watching TV on a cellphone. Even if the content was compelling, and I haven't seen any 'compelling' TV in a long long time, they would need to seriously handle screensize for it to be interesting to me. Like a whole new screen technology that gave me the illusion of some 21" model or something.
  • macrosoft buys more aging technology

    With streaming media just weeks away, how long
    will tivo be relevant?? Many will be lining up
    to serve content (all on macrosoft software?) so
    storing it on your own hard drive will become
    pretty old hat. At some point something will
    really happen to the computing model that will
    push it to new heights, and finally cripple
    macrosoft's stranglehold on the marketplace. If
    we think towards the future, it seems like there
    will be a thin client for the home, with more
    centralized computing going on, and it seems
    macrosoft will be there as well. 10 years out
    multistate computing should begin to emerge, and
    this will provide the next real opportunity for
    a new company to step up. As with david and
    goliath, it was a single well placed blow that
    delivered the coup de grace. I doubt that will
    come from Linux or Apple, although wounding the
    beast, reducing it's market share to like half,
    so that there is some competition, lack of
    homogeneity to prevent catastrophe through a
    virus, and a feeling of hope for those who would
    try, and dare to dream, would be nice.
  • All I see is "announced" and lots of cheerleading.

    When you have real numbers, and the sad realization that consumers will not tolerate being told what they can and can't do, we'll talk.

    It's all nice and dandy.. when no one uses it we'll be laughing.
    • Yeah, no one will use Windows either. Buwahahahaa

      Do you ever think before spouting?
      • You're mistaking a convicted monopolist with concerned consumers.

        Consumers do not want limited use items.
  • Palm not a good example

    Microsoft have invested a massive amount in PocketPC over the
    entire project length, and now they inherit the market (not by
    numbers, but by value) as the PDA market is disappearing.
    This is like winning a game of shuffleboard on the titanic.

    Similarily the content market is NOT expanding, it's contracting.
    This is because the amount of content is increasing
    phenomenally. how does this work economically?
    In the world before sugar you can sell sugar for $millions to the
    kings and queens only. When everyone has a candy tree in their
    back garden, who wants to buy sugar?

    It's never been easier to make your own video and music, and
    the future will show masses more invention in this field.
  • You guys just don't get it...

    There's a change in the wind. First ask yourself : What small company is managing to capture headlines day in and day out. What company has able to develop cool designs, forward thinking, and truly innovative products. 10 will get you twenty, it's not Microsoft. Who I'm talking about is Apple Computer under the great leadership of Steve Jobs.

    When I look at or think about Microsoft, I think old school. They're like the Oldsmobile of the Computer industry. Microsoft's idea of innovation is to buy up and steal as many of the niche developers they can swaggle. They seem to me to be in panic mode. It doesn't seem they are capable of coming up with anything that will draw the positive press they so desperately need.

    Mac is going Intel. Wow, think about that. In a year, you'll be able to buy a Mac that will also natively boot into Windows. Will you but a Dell, a Gateway, or an HP, when for a few bucks more you can purchase a system that will run Windows and Mac OS X.

    Yes, Apple sales will suffer over the next year because of the transition, but in the end, they will prevail big time. They'll be able to survive because of their true innovations derived through iTunes and the iPod. Apple has proven themselves the true innovators in the IT industry. They've garnered enough attention and recognition to lead themselves into the forefront. Not by copying or stealing others achievements, but by being true pioneers and innovators. Something I doubt Microsoft will ever achieve.
    • uhm....

      [i]When I look at or think about Microsoft, I think old school. They're like the Oldsmobile of the Computer industry. Microsoft's idea of innovation is to buy up and steal as many of the niche developers they can swaggle. They seem to me to be in panic mode. It doesn't seem they are capable of coming up with anything that will draw the positive press they so desperately need.[/i]

      Fair enough viewpoint when setting up for a lesson to us all on the wonders of Apple......


      [i]Mac is going Intel. Wow, think about that. In a year, you'll be able to buy a Mac that will also natively boot into Windows.[/i]

      So Apples demonstration of superiority is to produce hardware capable of giving yet another platform for Windows to run natively.

      Its a wonder Bill Gates doesn't shoot himself from sheer despair.

      My god man - don't you even read through what you write? ya dork
      Dave F_z

    Microsoft's main product is its Operating bEngine. Some how it carved a nitch for itself with its Browser by duplicating the misguided Netscape. I call the Netscape browser misguided because it gives too much power to the owners of Clients who abuse their power by getting the server to send the files belonging to total strangers by convincing it that the demand for the files is legitemate. There is no firewall that will prevent the Hackers from doing their job. The only way the Hackers can be stopped is by changing the role of the servers so that hey would not be obligated to send the documents to the clients.

    This Browser was Microsoft's blunder in that, although Microsoft is way ahead of AOL Owned Netscape in IE usage, it is bein attacked by many other browsers like Linux, Mozilla, Opera Browsers. These browsers do not mount much of an Attack. But the hackers could easily put Microsoft IE out of favor by seriously affecting it with viruses and worms.

    Microsoft could easily have kept away the Hackers by designing its browser so that the server wouldnot have been obligated to send the files to the clients.

    Microsoft had the second chance to beat the competition when it developed its MSN 6 internet servicer. Thistime it blundered again by duplicating the approach adopted by AOL. Again Microsoft could have put the compition away. Not only hackers could have been kept away by developing the internet service so that the service was processed by the server and not by the client.

    Although Microsoft was very successful in promoting its IE browser because it incorporated its browser in to its operating engine. This led the government to sue Microsoft and Microsoft Lost. Microsoft was forced to remove the IE browser from its operating Engine. But IE browser was well entrenched by this time.

    But it could not incorporate its internet service in to its browser or the operating Engine. No body has ever used its MSN 8 internet service although it tried hard to market it even getting others like Verizon to package it with their internet services.

    The power of the Hackers is described at

    The server side approach to delivering the internet service is described at

    Microsoft could have become untouchable if it had described the approach discussed in these comments. Now it is not certain. Several writers have written in various articals at ZDNET that Microsoft demise was predicted by Microsoft's own people and may yet be proved to be right. If Microsoft demise comes to happen it would be their own fault.