The post-DVD format war has just surged over the levees into personal and business computing. Just a day after Tosh announced a delay in HD-DVD's introduction to early 2006, and shortly after both Intel and Microsoft backed the HD-DVD candidate, both HP and Dell, representing around half of the world's PC business put their hats into the Blu-ray camp. Oops.
Poor Sony. It produces great technology only the world, or a significant proportion it, doesn't want to know. As for the optical disk business, pah! It produces multiple overlapping DVD formats and we have the unedifying spectacle of movie content makers forcing regionalisation on the dratted devices to prevent cheap DVDs from one area being privately or grey-imported into another and cutting into their grossly inflated profits.
Free trade? How come these rapacious rip-off merchants aren't being hauled before some international cartel-busting agency and fined gazillions of the dollars they have ripped off from customers with their pernicious pricing policies?
Apple supports Blu-ray. Perhaps Steve Jobs, that arrogantly confident and effective banger-together of warring heads to Apple's advantage - watch out Zander; he knows an Apple iPhonePod is coming - might dip into the fray. If he can get the music business to jump over the wall dividing CDs from online music downloads, then perhaps he could help Tosh and Sony get together to produce a combined HD-DVD/Blu-ray standard?
On the other hand think of the opportunities here. So Intel and Microsoft are supporting HD-DVD. You can see the eyes watering with the size of the potential opportunity in the AMD and Linux suppliers' marketing departments. Should we expect AMD to announce it's supporting Blu-ray (as well as HD-DVD too of course)? Should we expect Sun to announce its Solaris freeby is going to have Blu-ray support? Will Novell, ever the late band-wagon jumper, try to add Blu-ray support to its (SuSE) Linux distribution and kick-start its PC Linux business more strongly? Red Hat - Blu-ray? What a combination of primary colours.
We hacks like a fight, especially a public spat, but this HD-DVD/Blu-ray thing is getting ridiculous. We know Microsoft can't support Blu-ray because XBox-competing Sony PlayStations will use it. But why is Intel in there with HD-DVD support? Why should it care? Has it got some chips it wants to sell to HD-DVD kit suppliers?
The market will decide, or maybe not. There is no overall standard in memory card formats. If that's the case I expect we'll see combined HD-DVD/Blu-ray drives. What a silly thing to have to do. Add cost to computers because the various suppliers with their various differing agendas can't sit down and let common sense prevail. Mr Jobs. Come at once. You're desperately needed here.
(And it means you might be able to, heh, heh, 'Kill Bill' on this one. Ho, ho, ho, iMovies on an iPod Mega anyone?)
Have a great weekend.