Apple to challenge MS with open source QuickTime

Version 4.0 to bid for web streaming deals

Apple is poised to make parts of its QuickTime code open source, according to reports. The company is expected to make the announcement at the National Association of Broadcasters meeting in Las Vegas this week. The move would make Apple a late entrant in the main arena for streaming, but with arguably the best technology. Microsoft is there with NetShow, and RealNetworks with RealPlayer, but this is still a battle in progress. Microsoft has been targeting web sites to persuade them, with co-marketing offers, to go exclusively or primarily with NetShow, and has Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, Warner and CNET. Apple would offer the next version, QuickTime 4.0 for the Mac, and server versions for Win32 and Unix are likely to become available quickly. Version 4.0 was originally scheduled for release at the January MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. It is probable that Apple has chosen to make the announcement at this meeting because of the growing importance of streaming for corporate webcasters and portal sites. Since Yahoo said it would be acquiring Broadcast.com for a staggering $5.7 billion, the need for better streaming software has been heightened. QuickTime 4.0 is expected to offer better live streaming, so that content can be played while it is being received, with less buffering than happens at present with rival products. Apple says it has had 8 million downloads of its QuickTime trailer for Star Wars: Episode 1 since it was made available on 14 April. ®

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