Microsoft Wants Its HD

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-07-31 Print this article Print

Photo Technology to Be an Industry Standard"> Microsoft is looking to get more of its technology certified as an industry standard and has submitted its HD Photo technology to the Joint Photographic Expert Group for a decision in that regard. JPEG, a working group of the International Organization for Standardization, has decided to introduce a new work item for the standardization of Microsofts HD Photo file format, tentatively titled "JPEG XR"; formal balloting of this work item is being submitted to the JPEG national delegations for approval.
The ballot deadline for this new project is early October 2007, with the finalization and publication of the completed standard, if approved, expected to take up to a year after that.
The HD Photo technology was incubated in Microsoft Research some five years ago, where it was known as photon and developed by the Core Media Processing Team, before becoming part of the Windows Media family and being renamed Windows Media Photo. Microsofts Open XML document format suffered a setback on the road to ISO ratification. Read more here. Tom Robertson, Microsofts general manager of interoperability and standards, told eWEEK that this move is another example of the Redmond, Wash., software makers focus on interoperability in a way that allows innovative solutions and technologies to evolve over time. "One of the ways we do this is by making our intellectual property available to others, as giving them access better enables them to build solutions that interoperate well with our products and services and with those from other industry players using the same technologies," he said. Standards are also a very important part of the companys overall interoperability program, and Microsoft is active in more than 400 standards development efforts and has implemented thousands of standards in its products, Robertson said. "Microsoft Research spent a lot of time and energy developing the HD Photo technology, which is going to enable a whole new generation of digital imagery and photography," he said. But JPEG XR will be the second part of a bigger work item called JPEG Systems, which is a forum for the standardization of systems integration technologies focused on the current and emerging needs of consumer and professional digital photography, Robert Rossi, Microsofts principal program manager lead for emerging image and video, told eWEEK. Some skeptics question Microsofts interoperability pitch. Click here to read more. "The JPEG Systems architecture is being introduced as a new major work item, while JPEG XR is being introduced as the second part of this. Part one is going to be a technical report defining this new overreaching architecture, focusing on the future needs of digital photography, that will have a more IT-centric approach," Rossi said. The current technologies for image coding, like JPEG, just take the technologies that exist for digital still cameras in the film world and make a digital version of them, he said, adding that "we are now looking at placing a bigger emphasis on a connected, integrated means of dealing with images, including how they are handled on the Web, where there is partial Web processing and further processing in a network environment, and how the images are dealt with interactively over the Web." Part of that work was done in the JPEG 2000 standard, and so some of that technology will migrate into this new architecture and be made interoperable with multiple types of baseline file formats, Rossi said, expressing confidence that there is a "very high probability" the technology will become a standard. The HD Photo technology brought a number of innovations, including a high dynamic range feature that allows innovation to be developed in cameras to increase the number of successful photographs taken by those with digital still cameras, professional-grade cameras and cell phones. Page 2: Microsoft Wants Its HD Photo Technology to Be an Industry Standard

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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