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Microsoft to Open Spec its Video Compression Technology

Microsoft Corp. said it intends to open the specifications for its video compression technology. Microsoft submitted Windows Media version 9 to SMPTE on Sept.8 for review. Open specs allow other companies to create compatible products, if they so wish.

"We really wanted to think of a way for companies to use Windows Media 9 without ever having to contact Microsoft," said Jonathan Usher, director of Microsoft's Windows digital media division.

Microsoft's Windows Internet browser, which dominates the market, continues to be proprietary. Microsoft has more competition in the multi-media player area, most notably RealNetworks.

Shares of RealNetworks spiked Wednesday after the company announced an agreement with the NFL to offer live and archived NFL audio and video programming and events for the 2003-04 season on NFL.com. As part of the agreement, RealNetworks become the exclusive on-line format provider for NFL.com.