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Apple Makes Stealth QuickTime Move With Digital Camera Vendors

Apple Makes Stealth QuickTime Move With Digital Camera Vendors

by , 10:30 AM EDT, April 24th, 2001

In the battle for multimedia standards, Apple's QuickTime has been losing ground to Microsoft's Windows Media Player and Real Networks' Real Audio and RealVideo. While QuickTime has some major technical features not found in Windows Media Player or RealVideo, Apple has still not been able to win Mind Share over those two products. Yesterday, Apple announced that several of the largest consumer electronic and photography companies have adopted QuickTime as the standard multimedia file format for their digital cameras. According to Apple (including the fluff quotes):

Apple® today announced that many of the world's leading digital camera manufacturers including Canon, Casio, Kodak, Olympus, Panasonic and Sanyo have integrated QuickTime™ technology into their products, establishing Apple's QuickTime file format as the industry standard for capturing digital content. QuickTime is Apple's industry-leading software for creating, playing and streaming high-quality audio and video over the Internet.

More than 75 camera models playback content using QuickTime, 25 of which also capture short video clips in the QuickTime format. As a cross-platform standard, QuickTime allows both Mac® and Windows users to assemble still photos into movies and seamlessly download and playback video clips captured on the cameras.

"QuickTime is rapidly being adopted by every major camera manufacturer," said Philip Schiller, Apple's vide president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Beginning with this widespread adoption from the digital camera industry, we're seeing QuickTime extend beyond the desktop and into mainstream consumer devices."

"Sanyo is proud to support the QuickTime format with our digital cameras," said Makoto Harada, executive vice president, Industrial Video Division, Sanyo Fisher Company. "QuickTime is an excellent cross-platform moving image player, and its ability to play smooth, uninterrupted video enhances the performance of our video-enabled cameras, such as the IDC-1000Z iD SHOT."

"Coupling QuickTime technology with our next generation digital cameras simplifies the process of capturing and delivering images and video to the desktop," said Mary Miceli, product manager, Panasonic Optical Group. "Customers have responded very positively to the QuickTime feature because they recognize it as a branded technology and understand the quality advantage it provides."

As part of their adoption of QuickTime, camera manufacturers are displaying the QuickTime logo on their cameras and are providing QuickTime software to their customers.

Yesterday, Apple also announced the release of QuickTime 5 and QuickTime Streaming Server 3. You can find more information on QuickTime at Apple's Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

There are some noticeable names in that list in the first paragraph of the press release. There are also some noticeable names that are missing. Sony and Nikon spring to mind for the latter. However, considering the marketing muscle of Microsoft and their win-at-any-cost-approach to business, this is quite a victory for Apple. Digital cameras are selling in the millions, and everyone sold to a PC owner that uses QuickTime means that another PC will have QuickTime installed on it. This is of enormous significance to Apple.

QuickTime is a technology that was once so far ahead of its rivals that it seemed Apple's supremacy would last forever. Alas, as with many Apple technologies, Microsoft was eventually able to catch up in some ways with Apple, plus they had the added benefit of including their own technology with every copy of Windows sold. Apple has been able to promote the use of QuickTime by doing exclusive deals with movie trailers and online presentation of music videos, but they haven't made too many such announcements during the last year. QuickTime TV has also been slow to catch on. It's enough to make an industry pundit ask "what the heck are they doing?"

Enter the stealth deals with these digital camera manufacturers. That's a great back door onto the hard drives of PCs everywhere, and one where QuickTime's advantages are still head and shoulders above the competition (Windows' Media Player, in this case, because Real does not offer a technology for this space).

This also plays well in Apple's battle for the Desktop Video space. Microsoft has been also-rans in this market, being Johnny-come-after-he-sees-Steve-do-it-first's, and they have less chance of overtaking Apple in this particular area. If Apple can continue to make deals with the camera makers, then that should bode well for the overall success of QuickTime. We do wish, however, they would make more public deals to grab direct mind share. QuickTime is the de facto standard on Macs, but it is the battle for PC desktops that matter. That's where the market share is. Apple's movie trailer deals, the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace for instance, added significantly to the traffic at Apple.com, and led to the downloading of QuickTime by millions of people. It takes events like these to keep QuickTime in the minds of computer users.

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