updated 09:10 am EST, Fri November 12, 2010
Microsoft video jabs Apple for lack of Blu-ray
Microsoft last night posted a video (below) taking a mild jab at Apple for the lack of Blu-ray on Macs. The roughly minute-long spot personifies a MacBook and a Windows 7 notebook on a flight and has the Windows system play a Blu-ray copy of Avatar that the both of them enjoy. The Mac isn't criticized but is clearly envious, saying that the movie is "so cool."
Windows has so far had an advantage in optical drive support by having basic support for Blu-ray movies in the OS, although most playback requires a companion app like CyberLink rather than the native player. Apple chief Steve Jobs is well known for having referred to Blu-ray as a "bag of hurt" because it requires extensive, OS-level support for AACS encryption and other copy protection mechanisms that aren't needed for DVD or downloads. He has predicted that Internet downloads will take over, although he has had a vested interest given the size of iTunes relative to the Zune Video Marketplace.
Microsoft's promo notably omits the download option, which would negate some of the advantage. iTunes is currently limited to 720p instead of Blu-ray's 1080p, but both can produce surround sound and have access to special features. The Windows 7 user would have access to other digital movie stores, but with Blu-ray would have to purchase the disc to practically take it on a flight as well as own a heavier, relatively expensive notebook. The Mac user could rent an iTunes download and wouldn't need an optical drive at all or to chew battery life through spinning an optical drive.
The ad may not have significant effect, since it so far isn't believed to be a TV commercial and may be limited to YouTube viewers.