In a move that could influence the rewritable DVD format battle, Microsoft is joining the DVD+RW Alliance, the group that promotes and develops the DVD+RW format.
The software maker will become the ninth member of the Alliance's policy-setting team, that also includes Koninklijke Philips Electronics, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Dell, and Ricoh.
Although Microsoft will support other formats in its operating system software, the software maker has now made it clear that DVD+RW is the format it prefers, a spokesman for Philips and the DVD+RW Alliance, Hans Driessen, said.
"Microsoft will actively promote DVD+RW and invest in the development of the format," Driessen said.
Microsoft already was working closely with some on the DVD+RW Alliance in a group called Mount Rainier to design technology that would make a rewritable CD and DVD as easy to use in a PC as a floppy.
The Mount Rainier group last year announced a version of its specification for DVD+RW drives, that Microsoft demonstrated.
Microsoft was happy to become part of the DVD+RW Alliance and would help promote writable DVD standards that were aligned with the Mount Rainier technology, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Hardware Experience Group, Tom Phillips, said.
Rivaling the DVD+RW format are the DVD-RW and DVD-RAM formats, supported by the DVD Forum.
The DVD-RW format is being pushed by Pioneer.
Hitachi, Toshiba, and Matsushita Electric Industrial are in the DVD-RAM camp.
The DVD+RW Alliance claims its format is the better one because DVDs created on a PC can be played back on most DVD players and DVD-ROM drives in PCs.
This was not possible with DVD-RAM, which used a disc in a cartridge, Driessen said. DVD-RW offered compatibility only when discs were created using a special recording mode, limiting edit capabilities.