Last week it was uncovered that the way 3rd party codecs will work in Windows 7 is going to be different. Microsoft wasn't exactly happy with our interpretation of the events and so we received a nice email today clarifying a few points; like the fact that Windows will "continue to use codecs and other format technologies from third-party companies." This is great and all, but doesn't exactly jive with what the developers of some third party companies are saying. The real point of contention seems to be that in Windows 7, if the video you want to watch is naively supported by Windows, there's no easy way choose a different codec, like the popular ffdshow. Now obviously you'll be able to add support for a codec not already supported by Windows, but that isn't going to be enough for some. That's not to say there isn't a way to override this out of the box behavior, but it isn't like it used to be. But honestly, a part of us understands what Microsoft is trying to do here. Anyone who has ever messed up their direct show filter priority with some hack codec pack knows the pain of re-installing Windows just to get a video to play again. So in a strange way this might actually be a decent compromise. Now if it was down right impossible to override the default codecs, it'd be a different story. But based on the current beta builds floating around the net, that doesn't seem to be the case. The full official response from Microsoft is after the break.
Microsoft does not restrict the use of third-party codecs. In fact, as we move toward the release of Windows 7, we have worked to add more codecs and file types to Windows 7 to allow for a better user experience and continue to use codecs and other format technologies from third-party companies, just as we always have. Additionally, third party applications can use Microsoft codecs or their own.