“If it’s possible for a computer giant to tiptoe, Apple is trying gamely as it prepares for expansion into online video services in Europe,” Doreen Carvajal reports for The International Herald Tribune.
“Luxembourg’s economy minister, Jeannot Krecké, last month told a reporter Apple would locate its European iTunes video operations this spring in his country, a tiny, land-locked Grand Duchy that has attracted other e-commerce heavyweights with the magnet of low value-added taxes,” Carvajal reports.
Carvajal reports, “Then the minister sought to backtrack, while Apple’s spokesman insisted the company had not announced anything about a Luxembourg e-store and would not react to ‘rumors and speculation.'”
“But Apple’s every move is being watched by other players maneuvering furiously for any early advantage in the global online video market, which is expected to grow into an $11 billion annual business by 2011,” Carvajal reports. “In Britain, RTL’s Five is selling passes for £40, or $78, to download the season’s latest episodes of the American ‘CSI’ shows from CBS, before they appear on British television. Canal Plus in France just started offering video downloads that can be saved to a disc. And public broadcasters, including the BBC and Arte, an eclectic French-German channel, are positioning their offers for video downloads.”
“The early moves by public broadcasters — which are supported with licensing fees paid by viewers — is stirring some discontent among groups like the British Open Source Consortium, a trade group, which last week filed a complaint about the BBC to the government regulator, Ofcom. In the early start-up in Europe, the public broadcasters and most of the emerging commercial players are shunning Apple’s Macintosh operating system and the open-source Linux system by permitting access only with Microsoft’s Windows,” Carvajal reports.
Carvajal reports, “In the early start-up in Europe, the public broadcasters and most of the emerging commercial players are shunning Apple’s Macintosh operating system and the open-source Linux system by permitting access only with Microsoft’s Windows, which has more than 90 percent of the personal computer market. ‘The basis of the BBC is universal access to information with its long tradition of broadcasting news to the whole world,’ said Mark Taylor, president and founder of the consortium, which represents 70 companies that provide services based on open source software to the public sector. ‘To lock people into a system seems a little strange at a time when the age is to open up information.'”
Carvajal reports, “The BBC’s proposal includes an Internet service that allows viewers to download shows for a week after an episode airs on television. It also includes audio downloads of BBC radio programming and streaming of BBC television channels. The name of the service will make many think of Apple: iPlayer.”
Carvajal reports, “The BBC Trust, though, expressed some doubts in a January report evaluating the proposed iPlayer. ‘Our understanding is that the BBC aspires’ to offer an alternative system, ‘which would enable Apple and Linux users to access the service, but has yet to identify a satisfactory solution. In either case, we will expect this to have been addressed within 24 months.’ The two-year period comes at a sensitive time, critics argue, with Microsoft promoting its new Vista software to entice consumers to switch or upgrade. ‘If one was a cynic, it looks like an attempt to get people to upgrade,’ said Taylor, of the open source group, who said a two-year delay to open the iPlayer system to other alternatives gave a vast competitive advantage to Microsoft. ‘What we’re really objecting to is being locked into one technology choice.'”
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]
What’s going on with the BBC? When it comes to covering Microsoft and Apple, should the BBC’s integrity be questioned? We recommend keeping a close eye on the BBC’s reporting; we certainly plan on doing so. Click to ask the BBC make upcoming iPlayer on-demand service Mac compatible.
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