The only time we managed to even sort of fluster Bill
Gates when we interviewed him back in May was when we asked him whether or not Microsoft was a neutral third-party
in HD-DVD and Blu-ray's battle royale over which optical disc format would succeed the DVD. He was really careful not
to endorse either standard ("We want to see a single format, and we think it's best for the PC industry for a single
format to emerge. That won't necessarily happen and if it doesn't then to some degree we'll have to support both
formats."), but it's no secret that Microsoft has been
cozying up to
Toshiba (the mack daddy of HD-DVD) lately and there's been mad speculation that a future version of the Xbox 360
will sport an HD-DVD drive.
Anyway, despite it looking like Microsoft is leaning HD-DVD's way they've decided to set up a new Windows multimedia technology center in Taiwan that will encourage manufacturers there to push forward with development of yet another competing format, the FVD, or Forward Versatile Disc. We first wrote about FVD back in April of last year and sort of figured that it'd go nowhere fast, mainly because the first generation of the discs can't hold all that much more than a standard double-sided DVD, but the Taiwanese love it because it's cheaper and easier to manufacturer than either of the blue laser standards (FVD uses a red laser) and because they don't have to pay any royalties to either standards group. Not sure whether Microsoft is serious about trying to establish yet another successor to the DVD or if they're just trying to gain some leverage with both the HD-DVD and Blu-ray camps, but the one thing we do know for certain is that this whole scene just keeps getting messier and messier.
[Via The Inquirer]