How Microsoft tried (and failed) to kill Apple’s QuickTime

“Just like Sun’s Java, QuickTime threatened Microsoft’s Windows monopoly by offering a way for developers to build code that was not dependent upon Microsoft,” Daniel Eran writes for RoughlyDrafted.

Eran writes, “However, the real interest in swallowing QuickTime wasn’t so Microsoft could provide its own set of media content tools. Microsoft didn’t even see ‘content authoring’ as a market worth entering; it had other plans in mind… At the time, it appeared that the real money in media was going to be made from Internet streaming and playback, not in content authoring, which still belonged to Apple.”

In 1997, “Microsoft hoped to use its Office monopoly leverage against Apple to not only smash the cross-platform threat of Netscape Navigator and Sun’s Java, but also to kill Apple’s QuickTime,” Eran writes. “Prior to the July 1997 agreement, Microsoft’s Christopher Phillips famously told QuickTime manager Peter Hoddie, ‘we want you to knife the baby.’ Apple refused, and QuickTime survived the Mac Office and patent licensing deal intact. That was not the end of Microsoft’s assault on QuickTime however, but rather only the beginning.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz,” “Formica,” and “LinuxGuy and Mac Prodigal Son” for the heads up.]


  1. I am anything but a M$ zealot. I am, however, a big fan of truth and accuracy in reporting. Roughlydrafted isn’t big on either. His morally-relative politics show something of the man — a feeling of invincibility and a heartfelt opinion that the truth can be bent to serve the cause. We don’t need any more folks like that. One Al Gore is enough.

  2. The BIG difference between the writings of Daniel Eran and Paul Thurrott: Eran’s writing can be easily corroborated, since almost everything in his essays are based on public records; anyone can find the info his blogs are based on.

    The same cannot be said about Thurrott. Everything he writes he pulls out of his ass, with little or no factual background. That is why I personally LOVE reading Roughly Drafted.

  3. Never heard the “knife the baby” quote before, but at the time (late 90s) you could definitely sense MS’s desperation to try and squash Quicktime.

    And what was their approach? To bundle Windows Media Player with every OS install. Yes Zunetack, I know, Apple does this too. But the kicker was that Windows Media Player by default placed DRM into every CD you ripped… Your OWN CD’s!!!!

    Like a lead pipe.

  4. “The same cannot be said about Thurrott. Everything he writes he pulls out of his ass, with little or no factual background. That is why I personally LOVE reading Roughly Drafted.”

    And you’d think Paul would at least have the decency to rinse his writing off first.

  5. wow, how stupid MS is all the time.
    They never see anything will be a hit, so they always enter market on the last train and then they bulldoze their way around…. wow, such an innovative company.

    They didn’t see these coming either:
    – internet (killed netscape, mozaic, killed spyglass)
    – office (killed wordperfect and others)
    – online search (tryng to kill google)
    – online marketing
    – crm (trying to kill salesforce)
    – finance software (trying to kill intuit)
    – itunes (already lost to apple)
    – ipod (zune is dead at the gate)
    – online apps like Google docs (will be too late soon)
    – iphone (they really didn’t see this coming)
    – javascript (made active-x instead)
    – java (tried to kill sun)
    – …. and… OSX
    – optical moouse (took the idea from the inventor)

    hmmm…. anymore MS innovations?

  6. Easy “Busting”…

    I don’t think anyone in politics can be accused of being 100% truthful. I usually agree with the “no BS” filter you exercise on MDN, but throwing out one politicians name as it applies to “truth” for a purpose should cover ALL offenders. After all, Al gore is not responsible for “known facts” that have lead to 3191 confirmed US casualties.

    I enjoy your tech comments. Please leave politics out of it.


    Whenever I use a PC, I can’t view anything in Quicktime because Microsoft hasn’t been made to install QT during OS installation.

    I can only weep at how many PC folks who come to Apple’s website only to see nothing of their great products because Windows doesn’t have QT and IT asswipes refuse to install anything non-M$.

    It totally sucks a$$.

    Microsoft should be made to install alternate substancial formats, like Real and QT.

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