BBC signs web deal with Microsoft

BBC press release verbatim:

The BBC and Microsoft Corp took a step toward strengthening their working alliance yesterday when the two companies signed a non-exclusive memorandum of understanding.

The memorandum of understanding will define the framework within which the companies can explore opportunities for the delivery and consumption of BBC content and the evolution of next-generation broadcasting.

In Seattle, as part of a fact-finding tour of the US, BBC Director-General Mark Thompson and Director of New Media and Technology Ashley Highfield met Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to officially sign the memorandum of understanding and discuss the BBC’s digital strategy.

This includes plans for its online archive, for a radically re-invented website in the web 2.0 world — a second generation of internet-based services — and for ways to share its online content in the future.

“We are currently witnessing unprecedented rates of change in technology and audience expectations,” Thompson said.

“To ensure that the BBC is able to embrace the creative challenges of the digital future, we need to forge strategic partnerships with technology companies and distributors for the benefit of licence payers.”

“Microsoft’s strength is in driving digital innovation, and our vision is to open up rich, new consumer experiences that allow people to enjoy digital content anytime, anywhere and on any device,” Gates said.

“This vision fits squarely with the BBC’s charter to lead the industry in delivering content that is compelling and accessible. I’m delighted that we’re taking this important step, and I look forward to working together to develop new models for content delivery and consumption.”

“Microsoft is not just a key supplier to the BBC, it is also a key gateway to audiences that the BBC needs to reach through web services it runs like MSN and Windows Live Messenger, and hardware such as Xbox and the Windows Media Center,” Highfield said.

“The BBC needs to work with all players in this space to make sure our programmes and content are enjoyed by the widest possible audience, without always having to come to to find it.

“The learnings from our US visit will very much inform our thinking on the BBC’s creative future.”

The memorandum of understanding aims to identify areas of common interest between the BBC and Microsoft on which a strategic alliance could be developed.

Areas of potential investigation and collaboration include search and navigation, distribution, and content enablement.

Any actual procurements of new technology, or launch of new services by the BBC, would be subject to appropriate regulatory approval.

Press release link here.


  1. I used to think the BBC was good reporting, but over the past few years, it became clear to me that it is just as screwed up as any major American news station. And, yes, the skew is clearly towards MS – always has been.

  2. This is so appalling as to be unbelievable.

    I wonder who else the BBC loooked at? I bet it wasn’t Apple, or Google, both of whom represent the future, not the past.

    But then perhaps it’s appropriate for the BBC to work with another icon that’s past its sell by date?

  3. Guess we can continue to look forward to even more instances of hack journalism from the BBC with speculative headlines implying negative Apple/Mac circumstances. Vague speculative headlines that imply and promote sullied Apple reputation and crap like that.

    We’ll see, but I’m about ready to remove the BBC from my information resources if they keep it up much longer.

  4. . . . of the takeover by the Illuminati.

    I can see it coming: only the first Flip4Mac is free.

    Now that so many Mac users are satisfied with Flip4Mac — conveniently forgetting it’s run by the evil empire — every computer in the world, including Linux boxes, will be forced to have media player under some guise or other. Then comes the day you have to pay your pusher — $100 a month to Microsoft or no signal from any radio/TV station on the net.

  5. I suggest all UK-based readers send an email to the Beeb asking them to ensure full compatibility across ALL platforms in the future.

    Also, write to your MP.

    All licence fee payers have an equal right to access the material they paid for, not just those who use Windows.

  6. Sigh. It’s NON-EXCLUSIVE. That doesn’t stop them from using QT or continuing to use Real. If it was exclusive QT, it would be worse.

    What will probably suck is when, even though it’s non exclusive technically, it ends up being windows only codecs. I had to install real to view some content. Flip4Mac wouldn’t play the WMV files.

    What I thought they were going to do was write their own free cross platform player that would enable delivery of content for 7 days after broadcast within Britain. That’s what I’d still like them to do.

    Open standard codecs are needed for this kind of thing.

  7. We are currently witnessing unprecedented rates of change in and audience expectations

    Like non-proprietary, platform-independent solutions? That’d play for sure.

    we need to forge strategic partnerships with technology companies

    Then you’ve contradicted yourself by choice of partner.

    Microsoft’s strength is in driving digital innovation

    Third strike, ye~r out! And clueless to boot! Hey, but it’s the tax-payers who’ll pay anyway, eh?

  8. “Sigh. It’s NON-EXCLUSIVE. That doesn’t stop them from using QT or continuing to use Real. If it was exclusive QT, it would be worse.”

    It is worse. The old whore will say it plays QT through Flip4Mac. So be happy.


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