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February 24, 2008

Microsoft bails out of HD DVD

Posted by David Hunter at 12:16 PM ET.

After Toshiba surrendered the high definition DVD war to Blu-ray last week, the remaining supporters of HD DVD have been announcing their revised plans. Yesterday Microsoft’s were revealed on their Gamerscore blog:

As a result of recent decisions made by Toshiba, Hollywood studios, and retailers, Microsoft plans to withdraw from HD DVD.  Xbox will no longer manufacture new HD DVD players for the Xbox 360, but we will continue to provide standard product and warranty support for all Xbox 360 HD DVD Players in the market.  As we stated earlier, we do not believe this decision will have any material impact on the Xbox 360 platform or our position in the marketplace.  HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a high definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own.

Frankly, the statement is a trifle odd since it seems to promise some sort of ongoing HD DVD compatibility and there is no mention of Blu-ray support. LG Electronics says it will continue to provide dual format players for a while, and I suppose Microsoft could well do the same, but HD DVD drives are soon going to be rather scarce.

One other thing that is odd is that back in 2005 Microsoft was one of the leaders of the HD DVD cause with a public fulmination by Bill Gates among others, but the last ditch battles seem to have been fought by Toshiba alone while Microsoft was publicly AWOL.

Filed under Alliances, Blu-ray, Coopetition, HD DVD, Hardware, Microsoft, Toshiba, Xbox

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