Apple outs Quicktime 6 – without MPEG 4 deal

Gambling on summer sign-off

Apple has let loose Quicktime 6.0 by way of
free 'preview' download, without agreeing terms over the MPEG 4 digital video standard used in this streaming browser.

Remember the company could have released Quicktime 6. in February, except for a tussle over per play royalty fees proposed by the MPEG-LA, the company which controls the MPEG 4 video standard.

In April, the MPEG-LA announced that it was considering a cap on license fees, but this still failed to meet Apple's objection to the principle of per play pricing.

So what's new? Apple reckons that it's now safe to launch Quicktime, and is confident that it will have agreed terms in the summer when V.6 is officially released.

"The licensing stuff is getting worked out," Apple CEO Steve Jobs told CNET this week. "Every 'i' is not dotted and every 't' is not crossed, but it's getting there. I have a lot of confidence it will. This is too important not to get worked out."

MPEG4 should ultimately mean cheaper streaming costs for content providers, if the licensing issue is resolved. MPEG4 is collection of technologies, the most important of which are compression algorithms. The upshot is that MPEG 4 streaming can deliver the same quality video streaming as MPEG 2, the current industry standard, but using one third of the bit rate. ®

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