Microsoft joins DVD+RW Alliance

In a move that could influence the rewritable DVD format battle, Microsoft Corp. is joining the DVD+RW Alliance, the group that promotes and develops the DVD+RW format.

The Redmond, Washington, software maker will become the ninth member of the Alliance's policy-setting team, which also includes Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV, Hewlett-Packard Co., Sony Corp., Dell Computer Corp., and Ricoh Co. Ltd., the DVD+RW Alliance said in a statement on Monday.

Although Microsoft will support other formats in its operating system software, the software maker has now made it clear that DVD+RW is the format it prefers, Hans Driessen, a spokesman for Philips and the DVD+RW Alliance said.

"Microsoft will actively promote DVD+RW and invest in the development of the format," Driessen said.

Microsoft already was working closely with some on the DVD+RW Alliance in a group called Mount Rainier to design technology that will make a rewritable CD and DVD as easy to use in a PC as a floppy. The Mount Rainier group last year announced a version of its specification for DVD+RW drives, which Microsoft demonstrated.

Microsoft is happy to become part of the DVD+RW Alliance and will help promote writable DVD standards that are aligned with the Mount Rainier technology, Tom Phillips, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Hardware Experience Group said in Monday's statement.

Rivaling the DVD+RW format are the DVD-RW and DVD-RAM formats, supported by the DVD Forum. The DVD-RW format is being pushed by Pioneer Corp., while Hitachi Ltd., Toshiba Corp., and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. are in the DVD-RAM camp.

The DVD+RW Alliance claims its format is the better one because DVDs created on a PC can be played back on most DVD players and DVD-ROM drives in PCs. This is not possible with DVD-RAM, which uses a disc in a cartridge. DVD-RW offers compatibility only when discs are created using a special recording mode, limiting edit capabilities, Driessen said.

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