Readers zoom in on Microsoft's JPEG rival

Almost half of voters in a CNET poll express concern that the new photo compression format comes from Redmond.

The world is ready for a new photo compression format to rival the ubiquitous JPEG, CNET readers say.

But they're not so sure it should be a Microsoft product such as the new Windows Media Photo format, which promises better quality images at half the size as JPEG files.

In an unscientific poll asking whether a JPEG competitor is needed, almost half of the 5,621 voters said maybe, "but I'm concerned about it being a Microsoft product."

About 20 percent said, yes, "e-mail and Web pages need smaller files," and about 30 percent voted, no, "JPEG works just fine."

The poll was in response to a story on the demonstration of Windows Media Photo last week at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. The compression technology will be supported in Windows Vista and made available for Windows XP.

The 135 reader comments on the story seemed to mirror poll results. Many agreed that new technology is a good thing, but can't get beyond its maker. Poll

Does the world need another photo compression format?

No, JPEG works just fine.
Yes, e-mail and Web pages need smaller files.
Maybe, but I'm concerned about it being a Microsoft product.

View results

"In the case of Microsoft, the concern must be, given Microsoft's abusive track record, pre-eminently the 'who,' and not the how or what of a proposed technology," one reader wrote. "Anyone who understands the usefulness of innovations such as the Web and the Internet must be wary of any proposed Microsoft 'standard.'"

Reader Peter Simpson added that no matter what the benefits are of Windows Media Photo, he's concerned about Redmond's "strong affinity for proprietary formats encumbered by Digital Restrictions Management."

"I'm concerned that, sometime in the future, Microsoft may hold my photos for ransom, requiring that I purchase an upgrade to view them," he wrote. "Or, even worse, that Microsoft may drop support for the format; and since it's proprietary, there wouldn't be any other viewers available."

A reader who went by the name "JohnUSA," said he'll only use the new format if it's proven without any doubt to be superior to JPEG, if it's completely free, forever, and if it's "without any strings or conditions or any **** that Microsoft may throw at its users...Simply put, I never, never trust Microsoft."

But another reader said it's time naysayers stop focusing on "nonsense argumentative junk such as the 'evil' Microsoft monopolies, 'open source is better' crap and lame positions that other alternatives exists so why bother."

"Let's be sober here in saying that anybody arguing that this isn't going to be a new standard, must be disillusioned. It will be a standard simply because Microsoft is going to have all its operating systems (XP and on) support it," the reader wrote. "Moreover and more importantly, Internet Explorer will support it (which is the undeniable king of the browsers when it comes to market penetration)."

"Shao," is also impressed with Windows Media Photo, and just hopes it won't be held up by licensing issues.

"I, as an advanced amateur photographer with over 25 years with SLR cameras and a lot of past darkroom experience, am very impressed with the first information received here. No (loss) rotation, faster dSLR picture taking with this format, better compression with less quality loss," Shao wrote. "Definitely filling the gap between JPEG and RAW format. Seems too good to be true."

And others questioned why fix JPEG, if it ain't broke? "No need for another standard. JPEG is just fine for amateur photography," one reader wrote.

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