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QuickTime 6, the stick and the carrot

Create a pressure tool, a sort of noose hanging on the head of MPEG LA, the consortium that manages the license rights of MPEG-4. This would be the attempt made yesterday by Apple with the announcement of having completed QT 6.0 but of having blocked its distribution in a time for reasons of incompatibility between the requests of the owners of the rights on the technologies of MPEG-4 and the commercial strategy of Apple.

The suspicion behind Phil Schiller's controversial decision yesterday in the context of QuickTime Live! there is a precise strategy from numerous industry observers who have commented on the event for the American media. "It is a clear message – says Jos Alvar, a journalist of Streaming Media a specialized newspaper -, a message addressed to the owners of the licenses of the technologies on which MPEG-4 is based. Apple – adds Alvar – the main supporter of MPEG-4. People, faced with Apple's positions, could begin to get impatient and put pressure on MPEG LA "

As noted, Apple yesterday explicitly stated that it agreed on the proposed payment of a certain amount for each application that uses the MPEG standard, but that it was not willing to pay the "tax" on streaming in MPEG format. 4. The MPEG LA consortium for the moment does not seem willing to give in as can be deduced from the comments made after yesterday's announcements. "We believe that the licensing rights as announced – said Larry Horn, vice president of MPEG LA, a company that brings together 18 different companies – can work. A right to use an honest thing. The market recognizes the role that intellectual property plays in the development of these technologies and the good news that the market understands the need to respect these rights and their remuneration "Two positions that, for now, they appear divergent to the point of not making it understandable how they can approach each other. Apple, in any case, does not seem to be excessively worried about the continuation of the arm wrestling, even fearing, in an interview released by the most responsible of the QuickTime sector, Frank Casanova, the possibility that MPEG-4 could be abandoned. According to Casanova MPEG-4 the best codec for QuickTime, but not the only one. An important part in the solution in positive terms of the story could come from concrete steps by ISMA. The Internet Streaming Media Alliance, which Apple is part of with several other electronics and computing giants, has embraced MPEG-4 to create a standard for the distribution of video and multimedia content on the Internet and, in line with Apple , considers the MPEG LA licensing model unacceptable. If other members of ISMA, which includes, among others CISCO, IBM, Kasenna, Philips Electronics and Sun Microsystems, take the same official position as Cupertino, it could become very difficult for MPEG LA to resist its positions.