HP panics over Blu-Ray

From Good Morning Silicon Valley

Bill Gates’ recent assertion that Sony’s Blu-ray DVD standard is “anti-consumer” and “won’t work well on PCs”… has apparently put The Fear into Hewlett Packard. At a meeting of the Blu-ray Disc Association Wednesday afternoon, HP, which has shipped a Wintel PC or two in its time, delivered a pointed ultimatum: Include two technologies supported in HD DVD or we will consider switching allegiances. The first of HP’s requested features, “mandatory managed copy,” allows users to copy high-definition movies for use on home networks. The second, iHD, supports PC-friendly interactivity and is slated to be implemented in Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system. HP was “shocked” when Microsoft and Intel announced support for HD DVD, and hopes the addition of these features will lead to a compromise between the rival groups and hopefully a unified standard. “We’re still supporting Blu-ray, but we’re very serious that we want these technologies,” said Maureen Weber, general manager of personal storage in HP’s personal-systems group. “If in the end, they’re supported in one and then not the other; we’ll have to make a choice.”

Coincidentally, HP’s appeal came on the very same day that Forrester predicted Blu-ray will win the DVD format war. “After a long and tedious run-up to the launch, it is now clear to Forrester that the Sony-led Blu-ray format will win,” Ted Schadler, a Forrester analyst, said in a report. “But unless the HD DVD group abandons the field, it will be another two years before consumers are confident enough of the winner to think about buying a new-format DVD player.”