RealTime IT News

Microsoft Makes Streaming Media Moves in Europe

[London, ENGLAND] Seeking to extend its reach in Europe's streaming media markets, Microsoft Corp. announced Wednesday a whole range of new relationships including 50 new Windows Media Service Providers.

Companies that have committed to Microsoft's media technologies, Windows Media Service Providers now number around 300 worldwide. The new members are spread throughout Europe in 11 countries -- Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Will Poole, vice president of Microsoft's Windows Digital Media Division, made the announcements of Microsoft's lastest European moves in a keynote speech at the Streaming Media Europe 2000 conference in London.

"The new relationships unveiled today will bring to millions of European users the great quality, scalability and reliability of Windows Media," claimed Poole, noting that the product comes in over 25 languages.

Other key relationships announced by Microsoft in Europe include many new agreements with leading European and multinational music labels, content delivery networks and content providers.

Companies that are taking up the Windows Media Format for new streamed audio, video and distribution of major films via the Internet include Sony Music Entertainment Europe; Pathe subsidiary Netcine, and French radio webcaster Yacast.

Sony Music Entertainment Europe will cooperate with Microsoft in setting up a streamed European music video channel at bit rates suitable for dial-up as well as broadband users. The service will be available in German and Swedish and will launch in November.

Netcine plans to release 1,000 movies via the Internet from Pathe's library of films, as part of a new video-on-demand service.

Yacast will offer webcasts of some leading radio stations in France such as RTL, RTL2, Skyrock and Fun Radio, again using the Microsoft technology.

Microsoft also reports that content-delivery networks Global TeleSystems (GTS) and Servecast.com are both using Windows Media Services running on Windows 2000 Server to build their new content-delivery services.

Adding support to the Microsoft push, Servecast.com said it will promote Windows Media Technologies while developing its video and audio broadcast network infrastructure in Europe. Servecast.com said it expects to have 16 European points of presence by March, 2001.

With its huge investment in language localization, Microsoft is now getting ready to reap some of the rewards, judging by the sheer quantity of digital media news it has been able to issue at this week's London conference.