Microsoft must apparently have a lot more at stake in the success of HD DVD than we realized, since apparently they're said to be offering up "coupons" -- or certain cash incentives -- to manufacturers who use HD DVD drives in their future machines. According to the EE Times, Microsoft is also making HD DVD support "free" in Vista, whereas they could be passing along up to a $30 charge in licensing for Blu-ray support. That drive support licensing figure might sound a little unfair, granted, but remember that Microsoft does have an extensive, long standing intellectual property licensing partnership with Toshiba, which could well entitle them to access HD DVD technology, whereas other companies might have to pay for up for the very same. (For example, if Microsoft didn't have that partnership, they might well have to pony up that $30 licensing fee for both formats, not just Blu-ray.) It's all a bit cyclical when it comes to the chicken-and-egg partnering/licensing angle though (and we'll refrain from using the M-word for now), but one thing's for sure, a "coupon" to incentivize HD DVD adoption on the part of OEMs is very unsettling at best, and it sounds like Microsoft isn't about to just lie down and let the forthcoming format war sort itself out.
[Via CNET, thanks BK]