RealTime IT News

Microsoft Makes Peace with Kodak

Eastman Kodak Co. Monday hailed Microsoft Corp.'s recent decision to modify its upcoming Windows XP operating system to give third-party digital photography software vendors and even footing to compete with the Scanner and Camera Wizard integrated with the operating system.

Kodak said Monday that Microsoft had notified it of the changes, which include:

  • Changing the presentation of choices that appear when a camera is connected to the computer; instead of the drop down menu initially planned, XP will now display a list giving users a view of a number of third-party applications
  • Clearly identifying the Scanner and Camera Wizard within the dialog box as a Microsoft digital photography function.

Kodak said it has worked with Microsoft, with which it remains a partner, to ensure that digital camera manufacturers have the choice to either utilize the standard Windows implementation of the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP), or provide drivers specific to their cameras -- provided those drivers meet Microsoft's quality criteria for Windows.

Kodak said it is in the process of submitting its PTP driver for testing in the Windows Hardware Quality Labs.

"The changes made to Windows XP are a positive move," said Phil Gerskovich, chief operating officer, Digital and Applied Imaging, and vice president, Kodak.

Chris Jones, vice president of Windows, added, "Our goal for Windows XP has always been to deliver a great experience for customers and new opportunities for partners. Kodak is an important partner for Microsoft. We are pleased that we've been able to incorporate their feedback and will continue our communications on ways to improve the digital photo experience."

The clash between the two partners came to national attention in late July, when U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), who numbers Kodak among his constituents, went public about his own concerns with Windows XP. Sen. Schumer, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and previously a vocal Microsoft supporter, sent an open letter to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer criticizing, among other things, the way the new operating system integrated the Scanner and Camera Wizard. He also sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Charles James, head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, to make him aware of the issues.

Sen. Schumer has scheduled a series of hearings in September that will focus on Internet competition and the Windows XP operating system.

Windows XP is expected to ship on Oct. 25.