The glitch is surfacing on the eve of Microsoft's launch of Windows XP in one of the biggest high-tech marketing campaigns ever. It also comes as Disney is trying to boost sagging profits by selling one of the most popular animated films on DVD.
"Some users that have newer systems with Windows 2000 or XP installed may experience playability failures with the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs DVD," said a posting by InterActual Technologies, the software company that provides customer support for the DVD for computer users. "The Walt Disney Company and the Microsoft Corporation are jointly addressing this matter, and expect to provide a resolution for consumers shortly."
According to Microsoft spokesman Greg Sullivan, Disney "didn't test the disk on Windows 2000 or Windows XP." He said the number of DVDs with the glitch were in the low "hundreds of thousands."
Jay Kapur, Microsoft's DVD product manager, said the company posted an update on its Web site Thursday that resolves the problem.
Disney downplayed the problem. A spokesman said patches would be released by the end of the week.
According to InterActual support engineer Steve Zupan, the problem is not related to his company's software, which is installed on the DVD. Zupan also observed that the "Snow White" DVD runs on Windows 98. Zupan would not disclose how many complaints his company had received.
Customers are unhappy. "I am a little bit disgusted that the consumers are made to fuss over this," Tom Frye, a Sacramento, Calif., resident, told CNET News.com. When Frye tried to play the movie, he received a message that read "Out of Virtual Memory" instead. "It looks to me like Disney hurried to get this on the market. For Microsoft, I didn't find anybody that was willing to listen to my problem."
Disney and Microsoft have been longtime business partners. The two corporate giants worked together on the release of Disney's Web-based product called "Disney's Daily Blast."