Microsoft: Digital Media No Competition

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-05-02
 
 
 

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Digital media software does not have the potential to provide platform competition to Microsoft Corp.s Windows, despite the recent testimony from an executive with RealNetworks Inc., according to the vice president of Microsofts Windows New Media Platform division.

Will Poole, in written testimony submitted Thursday morning to U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, said RealNetworks media players are not potential substitutes for the full platform capabilities of the Windows operating system.

"Although RealNetworks media players expose APIs, those APIs are narrowly focused on specialized functions and, as such, are not alone sufficient to permit software developers to write general-purpose applications such as word processing software and spreadsheets," Poole said.

Pooles written testimony was in response to earlier testimony from David Richards, vice president of consumer systems at RealNetworks and a witness for the non-settling states in the remedy proceedings against Microsoft. Poole was scheduled to take the witness stand Thursday afternoon.

Poole also said the inclusion of multimedia technology in successive versions of Windows has not prevented RealNetworks and others from developing and broadly distributing competing software that runs well on Windows.

"In fact," Poole said, "RealNetworks software has been very successful to date."

Richards had testified that about 250 million unique registered people used its media players and its multimedia formats on more than 85 percent of Web pages that support streaming media.

Disputing some of the non-settling states proposals, Poole said some of the provisions about dismembering the Windows platform could hinder the economic recovery, particularly as it relates to the lagging PC industry.

"Requiring Microsoft to make the multimedia technology in Windows optionally removable by OEMs and other Windows licensees would slow the development of multimedia applications and, in so doing, undermine their potential to help reinvigorate the personal computer industry," Poole said in his written testimony.

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