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Macromedia Opens Flash File Format, Unveils New Flash Products

Macromedia, Inc. today announced it is making its popular Flash file format available as an open Internet standard for vector graphics and animation.

The move enables platform vendors to provide a more attractive environment to content publishers, allows Web designers to make animation a standard element in their Web site designs, and enables developers to deliver Flash-compatible authoring and editing tools.

The announcement to standardize Flash received widespread support from Microsoft, RealNetworks, @Home, Associated Press, WebTV, IBM, Broderbund, and a host of other industry leaders.

"Flash is one of the true enabling technologies on the Web today, and we are putting it to great use with RealFlash," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks, Inc. "Vector graphics technology offers fundamental advantages, both in terms of bandwidth efficiency and device independence. With Macromedia's decision to open the Flash file format, the industry now has a vector standard around which we can unite."

As an important first step in its standardization efforts, Macromedia today published the open Flash file format (.swf) and sample code. The company will submit the format specification to a recognized Internet standards organization, and plans to license the Flash player source code to Internet platform vendors.

Several leading platform vendors announced support for the opening of the Flash file format, with many announcing either new or broadened plans to incorporate the Flash player within their platform.

These include IBM, @Home, Microsoft, PointCast, PowerTV, Spyglass, Sun Microsystems, and WebTV. Macromedia's plans to license its Flash player source code will allow these companies to develop, modify, or support existing run-time engines to optimize playback of .swf content on Web browsers, set-top boxes, and other Web platforms.

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