Microsoft Pushes Its Own Alternative to JPEG

Microsoft is encouraging developers to add support for its fledgling "Windows Media Photo" specification to devices and applications that read or write image files. (Microsoft Watch)

SEATTLE—Not content to take on PDF and PostScript with Windows, Microsoft now also is setting its sights on going head-to-head with the JPEG imaging standard.

Microsoft introduced on May 24 at WinHEC (the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) here its proposed image-compression file-format specification, which it is calling "Windows Media Photo."

During a session on Windows Media Photo, Bill Crow, principal program manager with Microsofts Digital Media Division, described some of the characteristics it plans to support with the fledgling spec.

Windows Media Photo will allow users to correct, render and print photos in half the size a comparable JPEG requires, Crow said. As a result, images will retain more shadow and highlight detail, even when sent via e-mail, instant-messaging and other communications channels; and will require significantly less space for storage, he told WinHEC attendees.

"While the half the size of a JPG is interesting, its largely irrelevant in my opinion," blogged Thomas Hawk, a San Francisco-based digital media enthusiast and author of the "Digital Media" blog.

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