Microsoft includes DVD support – for a price.

The progress of Microsoft’s upcoming Operating System Windows XP has remained steadily on track from a technical standpoint. From legal and practical standpoints however, the software has received harsh criticism for it’s handling of MP3 and DVD technologies. Finally, Microsoft has arrived at a solution that at least on the surface seems to be an equitable solution for all involved parties, but it will cost the user a bit more.

DVD and MP3 technologies are relatively simple things to include in Windows. Both formats however, are currently the controversial subjects of much legal and ethical discussion. Additionally, integrated support for the powerhouse formats would add fuel to claims that Microsoft is creating a monopoly. To solve these problems, Windows XP will ship in October without any real support for either format. The consumer will however have the option to purchase or download a special add-on to the system that will incorporate these technologies for a yet to be determined price. Although the add-on will be distributed by Microsoft, the software is being developed by third party compaies CyberLink, InterVideo and Ravisent.

Although the extra software will cost more, it provides flexibility that solves many issues. Since the software is created by a third party, the installation of the add-on will allow the user to use Microsoft’s built-in player if they choose or use players provided by third party users, thus allowing options not available under a Microsoft monopoly. Additionally, the high price of licensing for DVD decoding and MP3 encoding lies with the software providers and not with Microsoft itself. This allows the price of XP to be lowered for users who do not need support for these formats.

Microsoft Windows XP is still scheduled for an October release date. The DVD and MP3 add-on will likely be available at the same time or shortly after the release of the OS.

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