Microsoft hoping to replace JPEG?

I don’t know how I ended up finding this article, but here’s a good write-up on Microsoft’s new photo format.  The claim is Windows Media Photo will manage roughly double the compression ratio JPEG has while maintaining or bettering JPEG’s visual quality.  If true, this could really catch on.  Even with high-bandwidth connections more readily available, every opportunity to squeeze more signal per bit through the pipe is welcome.

“One of the biggest reasons people upgrade their PCs is digital photos,” Crow said, noting that Microsoft has been in contact with printer makers, digital camera companies and other unnamed industry partners while working on Windows Media Photo. Microsoft touts managing “digital memories” as one of the key attributes of XP successor Vista.

. . .

Not only does compression save storage space, which is especially important for devices such as cell phones and digital cameras, a smaller file can also print faster, transfer faster and help conserve battery life on devices, Crow said. “Making a file that is smaller has all kinds of benefits.”

Will this catch on?  As I said above, I can see the appeal, and if it works out as well as Microsoft is saying it will (read the article formore details of the intelligence in this format), I can only see problems if licensing costs are prohibitive or if Microsoft hate beats out throughput and image manipulation ease concerns.  Even the Microsoft rep realizes that:

Licensing details for the technology are still being ironed out. These could be a concern, Crow acknowledged, but “the philosophy has been that licensing should not be a restriction” to adoption, he said.

Honestly, I’m hoping Microsoft doesn’t pull an Apple and over-price this.  I’d like to see a better image format soon.

[tags]Microsoft, JPEG, photo format[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Microsoft hoping to replace JPEG?”

  1. Pull an Apple? Hmm, with Macs being cheaper to own than Windows-based machines, I certainly hope they do…

    Also, I’d sure be carreful when CNET as an information souce. You do realize that they are very pro-Microsoft.

    Personally, I rather see something like JPEG 2000 be adopted as a new standard. Unlike Microsoft’s offering, with it, you get better quality, too.

  2. Hi! I heard, that as it was expected, Microsoft on Thursday released the last publicly-available preview to Office 2007.

    Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh, which weighs in at 495MB from the Redmond, Wash. company’s Download Center, had been anticipated for weeks by testers. Users must have Beta 2 of the upcoming application suite already installed on their systems, said Microsoft, which is taking advantage of the situation to also test the Office 2007 patching technology and back end support.

    Technical Refresh (TR) is the only version of Office 2007 that will run properly under Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1), the nearer-to-final test edition of the operating system Microsoft released to the public last week.

    Although the TR is free of charge to Beta 2 users, “anyone not currently on Beta 2 will need to download Beta 2 before they are able to download the Technical Refresh,” said a Microsoft spokesperson. “So those customers will have to pay $1.50 to download the beta first.”

    Microsoft slapped the download fee on Office 2007 Beta 2 early last month after more than 3 million had grabbed the preview. Then, it called the $1.50 charge “a cost recovery measure.”

    The TR includes performance improvements, bug fixes, fit and finish enhancements, and according to Jensen Harris, a lead program manager on the Office team, more than 1,000 changes to the Office interface’s newest graphical element, the Ribbon. “The UI [user interface] is now totally feature complete, and you will see only cosmetic differences between B2TR and the final version in most areas,” Harris wrote Wednesday in a blog entry.

    Microsoft has set prices for the new application suite, but has been coy about a launch date, saying only that it plans to put the program in corporate users’ hands by the end of this year, and ship it to others in early 2007. Last month, began taking pre-orders for the product, and listed January 30, 2007 as the ship date.

    Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh can be downloaded from this page on the Microsoft site.

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