Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

Summary: Dolby Laboratories executives shared some information about Microsoft's Windows 8 during an earnings call this week. What are the implications of the disclosure?

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During an earnings conference call with analysts and press on August 4, Dolby Laboratories executives shared some interesting tidbits about Windows 8.

Specifically, they revealed information about what they believe won't be part of Windows 8 -- Their  DVD playback technologies.

From a transcript of earnings call remarks by Dolby's Chief Financial Officer Murray Demo:

"In the PC market, the broad adoption of optical drives has driven the inclusion of Dolby technologies on many of the world's PC shipments.

"We work with operating system providers, ISVs and OEMs to support DVD on the PC. In recent years, our mix of PC licensing revenue has increasingly shifted towards the operating system as our technologies are included in 4 editions of Windows 7. However, we have recently learned that our technologies are not currently included in the Windows 8 operating system under development. If our technologies are not included in the commercial version of Windows 8, we expect to support DVD playback functionality by increasingly licensing our technologies directly to OEMs and ISVs, and we will seek to extend our technologies to further support online content playback."

As Forbes Tech Trade blogger Eric Savitz noted on August 5, Dolby's shares are down today following the call.

DVD playback is built into Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate.

Dolby's Digital Plus technology also is built into Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate, according to Dolby's Web site. The site describes Dolby's DIgital Plus as providing "next-generation surround sound" that helps improve the listening experience of DVDs and digital TVs by complementing high-definition video with support for HD audio.

"Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate editions all allow you to watch, pause, rewind, and record TV with Windows Media Center. You can also watch all of your favorite DVD movies. All three editions include integrated video codecs as well as Dolby Digital Plus to deliver next-generation surround sound," Dolby's site explains.

Anyone have any thoughts/guesses as to what Dolby's Windows 8 disclosure means? Are there implications for Microsoft's Windows Media Center and/or Microsoft's Xbox Live TV service (which could potentially work on Windows and not just the Xbox)?

Topics: Software, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

    My wife's new Acer Aspire 5750-6690 came with Windows 7 Home Premium and a separate Dolby driver. Not sure what the separate driver added, but it's likely that PC assemblers will include one of Windows 8 doesn't. (And maybe even if it does.)

    --rj
    Roger_Jennings
  • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

    makes me wonder what Dolby are charging for this dying technology - MS are probably thinking that by the time windows 8 arrives how many users will be playing DVDs on their PCs anyway.
    cymru999
    • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

      @cymru999 Apple is phasing out optical drives. It's pretty clear which way they see it going. Microsoft may have a similar road map.
      Admin71
      • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

        @Bookmark71 the mini doesn't have a drive. Thats the only computer from apple that doesn't have a drive.
        soniclooking
      • Neither does the MacBook Air

        @soniclooking Laptops are computers too.
        adacosta38
  • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

    Another possibility is that Microsoft will be supplying a DVD player through Windows Live, not Windows 8. Dolby still could be supplied through the additional app/application.
    jglopic
  • back to basics

    Mediacenter will be no more in windows 8. instead there will be a marketplace for movies using zune. Windows 8 start screen will function on a tv, and there should be a tile for live tv, and a guide. I see this being built into the OS instead of an app.

    DVD audio playback will be provided from the OEMs.
    soniclooking
  • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

    I really hope they don't take out WMC. I use it every day on my HTPC to watch Netflix and as a broadcast TV DVR.
    spivonious
    • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

      @spivonious Same here, I chose <a href="http://addto.it/Windows-7-Home-Theater-PC-(HTPC)">Windows 7 for my HTPC</a> specifically because of WMC and the fact that it handles media in general pretty well. I really hope that Microsoft keeps its media playback features around in Windows 8.
      jonfleck
  • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

    To me, it looks like the pendulum is swinging back. XP released without it, people were forced to purchase WinDVD and the likes, Microsoft heard complaints, licensed it into it's next two OS versions, and since has found a diminishing return on investment due to online streaming and decreased usage of DVDs altogether, not to mention the additional cost to the consumer outside of the OS to support BluRay with same/similar technology (in a sense, double dipping), only slightly altered to line the pockets of Dolby in tandem. Add to that, Dolby has not (as far as I know) done anything to better their offering for years, but has had what most would consider a free ride for quite some time. Time will tell if offerings such as Windows Live will provide measures to bridge the gap, but the licensing price of yesterday will likely need to be renegotiated unless there is a demonstrated consumer need and a bit more added value to the Dolby technology.
    TechNickle
  • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

    Mary Jo, I must ask... What steps have other operating system vendors such as Apple OS X iOS, Google, and even Linux taken to alleviate the concerns of Dolby with regards to embedded OS licensing? The answer about Windows 8 will likely fall in line with the answer to this question.
    TechNickle
    • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

      @FuzzyBunnySlippers
      Why should *ANY* OS vendor (including MS) be responsible for alleviating Dolby's concerns?
      jaykayess
  • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

    I think it means that windows 7 will be the last version of windows to have media Centre as Mrcosoft shift foucs to XBox for Home entertainment.
    alamfour
  • WTH

    Media Center killed??? I am hearing this for the first time. I will sue Microsoft's ass off if they kill Media Center. Way to reduce functionality in an "upgrade".
    xp-client
    • Sue them if you want

      @anonymuos

      Prepare to lose, though.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • You have the choice not to buy.

      @anonymuos Suing would is not only inappropriate but dumb in that you will simply throw money away. Microsoft has the legal freedom to remove whatever functionality they want. They have to bear any market consequences though. Regarding the suit, not only would you not win such a suit, I doubt it would even get on the docket.
      DevGuy_z
      • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

        @DevGuy_z , that's what's really bad about a monopoly. There's don't exist any real choices, at least not for the worldwide market where Apple presence is nonexistent and Linux support/usability and aesthetics is par below Windows.
        xp-client
      • Monopoly?

        @ anonymuos

        That's rubbish. You can get a Mac anywhere in the developed world, and even in most of the developing world. Desktop Linux may be crap compared with Windows or Mac OS, but with a commercially supported UI layer on top (even a poor one like Android), it can serve as an inferior substitute.

        Most people in developing countries don't even buy Windows anyway. They use pirated/hacked copies of Windows XP (often without even SP2, much less current updates, which they're trained not to install). When a majority of users in a market are using a hacked/pirated copy of a 10-year-old product (still better than Linux, apparently), the supposed monopolist has very little market power.

        In the developed world, it's clear from the emergence of non-Window PCs like the iPad that Microsoft haven't got monopoly power. Even Lawrence Lessig, a law professor who was one of the most outspoken supporters of regulation of Microsoft in the 90s, later admitted he was wrong about Microsoft having monopoly power. They simply haven't.

        Early regulatory intervention to do things like eliminate the 'Microsoft tax' in 1994 (where Microsoft offered lower prices to firms that agreed to buy a licence for every PC sold, with or without Dos/Windows) was arguably good for consumers. However, the later, broader attempts to regulate the PC OS market (e.g. forcing Microsoft to use uniform pricing) probably did more harm than good to consumers, and to the overall market.

        Finally, one of the biggest strengths of PCs is their extensibility. If there's any real demand for something like Media Centre and Microsoft stop including it in Windows (I've no idea if they will or not, but just assuming they do), someone else will fill the gap with a similar product.
        WilErz
  • RE: Dolby: Our technologies are not built into Microsoft's Windows 8

    To the cloud...
    windowseat
  • WMC WILL be in Windows 8, according to Steve Sinofsky

    Steve Sinofsky promised some time back, on the Building Windows 8 blog, that the final release of Windows 8 will include Windows Media Center, although the implication was that there would be no or few improvements to it over Windows 7's. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/02/reflecting-on-our-first-conversations-part-2.aspx
    deb@...