The Mac Observer

Skip navigational links

You're viewing an article in TMO's historic archive vault. Here, we've preserved the comments and how the site looked along with the article. Use this link to view the article on our current site:
Microsoft Compares MovieMaker To iMovie, "Innovates" By Adding FireWire Support

Microsoft Compares MovieMaker To iMovie, "Innovates" By Adding FireWire Support

by , 4:20 PM EST, November 1st, 2002

This just in from the "Whoda Thunk?" Department, Microsoft has added features to its iMovie rip-off MovieMaker that iMovie has had for two years. MovieMaker is the consumer digital video editing software that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates audaciously called innovative when it was announced several months after Apple released iMovie. The company has released a beta version of MovieMaker 2 for Windows XP, and chief among the new features are support for FireWire, [Editor's Note: one irate Observer indignantly says in the comments below that FireWire support has been present for two years], and the zany new concept of transitional effects. From a Microsoft press release:

Microsoft Corp. today released the beta version of Windows® Movie Maker 2 for Windows XP, a new and completely redesigned video editing feature of the Microsoft® Windows XP operating system. Using state-of-the-art technology, Windows Movie Maker 2 offers dramatic improvements for Windows XP customers to remove the complexity and confusion from home video editing. Beyond breakthroughs in ease of use, Windows Movie Maker 2 offers deep and powerful new features with over 130 new kinds of video effects, titles and transitions to help even novice PC users create their own home movies with a professional touch.

FireWire support is included MovieMaker 2 movies are output as Windows Media Player files. MovieMaker 2 has one foot up on iMovie in that it can make VCDs without third party software.

[Update: The original press release said that MovieMaker 2 could make VCDs, while the current version of the press release as posted on Microsoft's Web site omits the term VCD. VCD is an open standard that can be played on many types of consumer DVD players. According to the press release and the MovieMaker 2 Web site as they currently read, MovieMaker 2 can only burn CDs in Window Media 9 or DV-AVI format, both of which are proprietary Microsoft and limit the burned CD to Windows machines, or software video players that support the format in question. Thanks to Observer Graeme Bennett for keeping us on our toes on this. - Editor]

DVDs, however, can only be burned using third-party DVD burning utilities for Windows. Apple's iDVD is included with Macs that have DVD burners. You can find more information on MovieMaker 2 at Microsoft's Web site. On that site it s comparison chart that pits MovieMaker 2 against iMovie 2. That chart, as posted by Microsoft:

Feature Description Windows Movie Maker 2 Apple iMovie
Support for analog and digital cameras Feature included  
Built–in transitions
Built–in titles
Built–in effects
Industry–leading compression technology Feature included  
Publish directly to the Web Feature included  
Automatic movie creation Feature included  
Easy–to–use wizards for common tasks Feature included  
Task–based interface for better ease of use Feature included  
Windows Media® compatible Feature included  
Support for burning DVDs* Feature included Feature included
Save video back to tape Feature included Feature included

This chart shows that MovieMaker has the edge in included transitions, titles, and effects, though it makes no mention of the free add-on pack offered by Apple that includes more such effects. All of the other "missing' iMovie features would be considered subjective by most people, and the reliance upon Windows Media is most likely a liability. It should also be pointed out that support for burning DVDs requires third party software, and is not actually included within MovieMaker 2 itself, despite Microsoft's attempts to suggest it does above.

The Mac Observer Spin:

There's nothing really new in Microsoft copying features from Apple's software offerings; it's been going on for more than a decade. What chaps our collective hides is the fact that the company introduces these things as new, "dramatic," and even innovative, though that particular adjective is thankfully missing from today's press release.

The comparison chart we included is another beast altogether. It includes outright falsehoods, and omits many features that iMovie has that MovieMaker does not. For instance, iMovie's audio options dwarf those of MovieMaker 2. The control that iMovie offers is also superior. It's possible that the lemmings out there would also prefer Microsoft's "do it our way" wizards, but iMovie's interface is second to none. That's a subjective stance, but there are many other such differences in the two products.

This whole presentation indicates to us that Microsoft continues to see Apple's offerings as a threat to their market dominance. That a specific comparison chart to Apple's iMovie is included on the site, while comparisons to other Windows consumer digital editing offerings are not included, is remarkable, telling, and dramatic.

Those Observers who have Windows XP, we would be interested in hearing about how well Movie Maker 2 stacks up against iMovie 2.

Recent TMO Headlines - Updated May 18th

Tue, 4:40 PM
Star Wars Future Unveiled by Disney
Tue, 4:18 PM
Apple Facing Lawsuit Claims AirPods Ruptured Child's Eardrum after Amber Alert
Tue, 3:39 PM
Apple Delays Stricter In-Person Work Requirements Citing Rising COVID-19 Cases
Tue, 2:37 PM
Customize Your CarPlay Apps the Way You Want Them
Tue, 2:28 PM
247 Catcher for Pokémon Go Helps Users Catch 'em All
Tue, 1:50 PM
Civil Liberties Group Warns of Global Privacy Breach, Google Largest Offender
Tue, 1:33 PM
Apple Previews New Accessibility Features Coming In 2022, Including Door Detection
Tue, 10:36 AM
Apple Explores Ways to Improve iPhone Sensor Accuracy and Water Resistance Simultaneously
Tue, 9:45 AM
Apple Developers Will Soon Be Able to Offer Auto-Renewable Subscription Price Increase
Tue, 9:37 AM
Apple Rolls Out Communication Safety in Messages to the UK and Other Countries
Mon, 6:29 PM
Apple Releases Software Updates for Most Products
Mon, 5:27 PM
Method Found to Run Malware on iPhone Even When It’s Turned Off
  • __________
  • Buy Stuff, Support TMO!
  • Podcast: Mac Geek Gab
  • Podcast: Daily Observations
  • TMO on Twitter!