Posted by : Randy Cooper in (CDN)

Streaming media format wars: Care to take a guess at the winner?

I received this message via email yesterday:

Who do you think will win the player war (if one exists)? Is the Move Networks Technology going to win out or will Apple and it’s H.264 ultimately win. Maybe a dumb question. But where would you invest?

Let me say this loud and clear: I believe in standards. I believe in the standards committees and their processes. That being said, it doesn’t make a hill of beans. What matters is adoption and acceptance.

Case in point… I was with Hayes a few years back (during the heyday). We had a product that I felt was far superior to the competitors, mainly because I felt it more closely followed the v.32bis standard and I believed in the people building and supporting the product. Our primary competitor though was marketing a product using proprietary technology that had wider acceptance and was adopted by more BBSs (any one remember Bulletin Board Systems?).

In the end, once the standard was approved the competitor did a flash upgrade and BOOM – into compliance. The moral of the story, is that decisions of this magnitude are often not made in a standards committee but by concensus of the adopters. Despite all of the commercialization, the internet is still the internet and it’s this community that will ultimately decide that format by what we choose to adopt. Until I am graced with a crystal ball, I’m going to defer making a guess at this. It’s why I stopped going to Vegas for COMDEX.

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