Blog Post

Microsoft Pushes Alternative to JPEG: Windows Media Photo

Microsoft is setting its sights on going head-to-head with the JPEG imaging standard, similar to what it is doing in the PDF and PostScript market. It has proposed an image-compression file-format specification, which it is calling “Windows Media Photo.” WMP will allow users to correct, render and print photos in half the size a comparable JPEG requires, the company says. As a result, images will retain more shadow and highlight detail, even when sent via e-mail, IM and other communications channels; and will require significantly less space for storage. According to Steven Wells, a part-time professional photographer, success will depend on adoption. Microsoft will need to get players such as Adobe and Apple on board to win over the graphics professionals, he noted. A major unknown is licensing, which Microsoft has not yet addressed. “Licensing can kill this,” Wells said.
PC World: There are possible nightmare scenarios here, like WMP-format photos existing on the Web and browsers other than IE not being able to display them. How’d you like to have to worry about photo formats when browsing the Web?
The specs for the new format are here.