Microsoft and MPEG-4

Astonishingly, Microsoft appear to be trying to buy another market, in the same way that got them in trouble with the US DOJ. This time it’s video.

Having effectively dismissed their one time competitor, Real Networks, MS now has bigger fish to fry – the future of digital delivery of media to consumers.

The current and fairly long-running excitement with MPEG-4 compression as the standard for consumer delivery looks like it might have a challenger and strangely its from a prominent member of its own standards steering committee.

My understanding from the Gartner research [PDF] is that licensing the MS version of MPEG-4, Microsoft Media 9, is less expensive than licensing the official version. If this is correct, it’s not only strange, it’s madness.

How can you undercut an open standard? – there’s got to be something wrong with picture (pun intended).