Odd? Not at all

So, Paul Thurrott asks if it’s odd that Microsoft is promoting Telestream’s Flip4Mac QT codec for WMV playback (I wrote about that earlier this week). Short answer: no, it’s not odd at all. The Mac version of Windows Media Player has always been a poor stepchild. It doesn’t play all current WMV formats; it can’t dynamically load new codecs, its UI is poor, and it’s got more bugs than a Tennessee anthill. As I understand it, it was never owned by the Mac Business Unit at MS, which has a great track record of producing Mac-specific versions of MS tools (witness the RDP client or MSN Messenger). It was owned by the Windows Media group, which probably has negative interest in doing anything that makes things better or easier for Mac users– after all, Apple is their #1 competitor in the digital media format war.

In that light, this isn’t an odd move at all: some smart folks at Microsoft realized that they could save money and make themselves look better by licensing Telestream’s excellent product instead of foisting WMP Mac on users. I’m a little surprised they’re not touting it more, actually; I found out when I got a press release from Telestream, well in advance of hearing about it from MS.

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