Byte.com: Open Source Video: The Web Video Turf Wars

Microsoft wants its own “Advanced Streaming Format” to
become the dominant method for transmission of video over the

“Avery Lee had reverse-engineered Microsoft’s Advanced Streaming
Format (.asf) and added it to the native .avi and .mpg support in
his excellent program. For a while, VirtualDub had been able to
take media in Microsoft’s .asf format and convert it to the more
widely used .avi and .mpg formats. But Avery received a phone call
from Microsoft, threatening to take legal action against him if he
did not remove the .asf support from VirtualDub. Avery was smarter
than to argue with Microsoft’s legal team, and immediately removed
the offending code….”

“In addition to its .asf patents, Microsoft has also been using
its excellent MPEG-4 video codecs to help it dominate streaming
video. Microsoft helped develop the MPEG-4 specification, and at an
early stage it put out a codec that, at this present moment, is
clearly the best video encoder available….”

“Microsoft’s MPEG-4 V3 encoder was “re-engineered” as the “DivX
Low-Motion” codec, and the V2 as “DivX Fast-Motion.” The Linux DivX
player uses the same DLL object code as the PC version, but clearly
the port for the Macintosh demonstrates that these underground
developers have access to source code. In fact, several MPEG-4
source codes are linked from a new website, OpenCodex.com, that is
offering a $50,000 prize to the first developer who produces a good
MPEG-4 codec for Quicktime, and releases it to the public domain
(it’s nice to see that Quicktime devotees will not be bypassed by
the new technologies).”