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Why BBC is Microsoft Media (Video)

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Videos at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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  1. Faemir said,

    June 25, 2008 at 4:25 pm


    That’s rediculous, how can you claim the BBC are MS corrupted when their whole system runs on linux and they have put effort into making a truely outstanding codec (dirac) instead of using more traditional prop. ones?

    In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they swapped to using dirac for the iplayer, atleast optionally at some point.

    This is almost as bad as MS FUD.

  2. Ben said,

    June 26, 2008 at 2:44 am


    Simply saying “because M$ said so” is as bad as any FUD M$ uses. If you think there’s something dodgy then provide real evidence.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 26, 2008 at 2:59 am


    Ben, have you seen the accompanying links? Here is a good place to start. I realise that some people are totally new to this and lack context/background. I’ve personally watched this closely for years and wrote about it also.

    As for DIRAC, that’s the ‘Old BBC’. The new BBC (media division) is managed by Microsoft folks, some of whom came from Microsoft.

  4. Ben said,

    June 26, 2008 at 5:33 am


    No I haven’t, and it doesn’t matter. _This_ post consisted of accusations without evidence.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 26, 2008 at 9:18 am



    This post contains only a video (showing you a hearing at the Parliament) and 4 links. Where are accusations made? If you challenge previous posts, then be specific and I’ll gladly provide evidence. Don’t rush and shoot the messenger.

  6. RyanT said,

    June 26, 2008 at 12:19 pm


    The accusation is quite blatantly in the title.

    Some of the links are pretty suspicious too – one, still being links to your own site, and 2, the fact that BBC made a documentary on Bill (a series called the Money Programme about history of many of todays biggest businesses) and while it focused more on his retirement, still had time to bring up some criticism including “talking head” sections from his critics. While it wasn’t comprehensive, it seemed to be something a little more lighter anyway rather than a hard case expose.

    Then, as already mentioned, the investment in Dirac.

    There’s been a spotty past, but even so they’ve tried, and are mostly tied by what is currently popular (flash, and at one point using Realmedia/WMP based players, which they realised they had to move away from and did).

  7. RyanT said,

    June 26, 2008 at 12:45 pm


    My word….

    Watchnig that video, there is so much stuff said in the text that makes us out as no worse than the people we’re accusing of FUD.
    First of all:

    It’s easy to be a smart arse when you’re not under interview pressure and have google to hand to check the figures, while she, being a human being, is not a perfect human being, and even so did remember the rough estimate (as noted during the interview, excuses staff payment, so I don’t really see how the figure mentioned in the text is debunking or showing anything – it was clear to all it seemed that this was excusing that, and if it wasn’t, it was mentioned by her anyway).

    Unfounded claims of Silverlight wrapper (despite it’s linux based back end and the fact it uses flash, and works fine for streaming on all systems), and while downloading is a bitch to not have, you have to remember is copyrighted original works, therefore has to be protected, making it harder to get around the Linux/open source side of things, and even if they did they’d probably complain because they wouldn’t release the source of something that is meant to seal off/protect the content entirely (Firefox can get away with it because a lot of exploits are down to bugs and such, not that it has to protect copyrighted works from piracy of course – that’s down the content of the page, not the browser).

    Then the incredibly presumptive text in general that doesn’t bring up anything – it just spins and suggests FUD to make the interviewees sound suspicious when for the most part they haven’t said anything deserving of that, except for the interoperability part being on all platforms, which considering the confusion they seemed to have over what they meant, could’ve been an honest mistake or a slip of the tongue. The clip itself sadly only shows a very specific part too, not the whole thing, which would be better.

  8. Ben said,

    June 27, 2008 at 7:26 am


    “This post contains only a video (showing you a hearing at the Parliament) and 4 links. Where are accusations made?”

    During the video, the subtitles were serious accusations but no evidence to back it up. Some examples:

    at 0:43 : “In fact, the IPlayer cost more than 130 Million! (See Grocklaw.net).” Your accusing the BBC of giving dodgy figures yet no direct links to any evidence, asking viewers to search through a huge site or take our word for it. (And for the record I did find the interview, 130 Million was the cost of modernising the entire BBC from tape based to digital based, Iplayer itself was about 4.5 Million.) And a real citation ;)
    look for [14:49]

    at 3:25: “Because his pals at Microsoft Told him to”. That’s a serious allegation against both the BBC and Microsoft. And without any evidence its pure FUD.

    at 3:54: “No its a monopoly tool created by Microsoft”. Well firstly that makes no sense given the context.
    MP “Why did you build Iplayer, why not use BitTorrent or BTVision”
    BBC Director “Actually Iplayer isn’t an internal BBC creation* we did use external tools”
    * Subtitle appears here

    at 3:13: “By Microsoft…”, He doesn’t actually name the various components (and why should he, it wouldn’t answer the question). And the strong implication is that using Microsoft technology is bad, probably is but unless you say why (and it has to be a good reason), or specifically link to someone who says why, its nothing but FUD.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 27, 2008 at 7:46 am


    re: first point

    BBC iPlayer protest report

    “We have 1500 fliers to distribute, that focus on the key issue with the iPlayer, and why $130 Million and 4 years of development don’t get you much when you choose Microsoft DRM.”


    re: second point

    Bear in mind that I didn’t edit or produce the video, but just to bear in mind: Erik Huggers, group controller at BBC Future Media & Technology at the time, is a former Microsoft high-level employee who also attended antitrust proceedings in Europe (over Windows Media Player abuses, IIRC).

    re: third point

    Why would the BBC exclude the #1 rival of its new media partner then?

    Feeling the heat at Microsoft

    [CNET]: If I ask you who is Microsoft’s biggest competitor now, who would it be?

    [Ballmer:] Open…Linux. I don’t want to say open source. Linux, certainly have to go with that.


    re: fourth and last point

    Microsoft has a proven track record of abuse and delivery of shoddy software which, by design, does not play nice with competitors. The iPlayer and its constituent parts are a brilliant example of this.

  10. Mark Kent said,

    June 27, 2008 at 8:01 am


    The Daily Telegraph reported that up to £120 millions had been spent on the Microsoft version of the iPlayer.

    The BBC DG (the top bod, responding to a parliament questioning) could only admit to “more than £20 millions”, which indicates quite clearly that it’s a lot more, and they were not going to say quite how much. Suggesting that the BBC’s DG and his advisers would be so incompetent as to be unable to answer “what does it cost” to a parliamentary committee specifically set up to investigate the iPlayer is ludicruous. If he’s really that incompetent, he should find another job, along with his advisers.

    The Dirac codec was developed years before the Microsoft iPlayer disaster came along, which was the result of some ex-Microsoft people joining the BBC in their new “media” section, and doing a deal back with Microsoft. There has never been any real intention to support Linux, and it will never happen. This would not be in Microsoft’s interests.

    The successful iPlayer, the one built in a few weeks on the Adobe platform, after the humiliating failure of spending up to £120 millions with Microsoft for something which is so locked to a specific version of windows that hardly anyone can use it, cost a tiny fraction of the Microsoft version, and has been very succesful.

    The BBC’s main argument *for* the Microsoft solution was “DRM”, amazingly, this argument was forgotten in moments when the flash solution was pushed out. Clearly, the DRM line had been a Microsoft one.

    The key party in the BBC eventually lost his job over the whole fiasco, and rightly so in my view. I was disgusted, and remain disgusted, at the amount of my own money (licence-fee) wasted on this ill-advised proprietary junk from Microsoft.



  11. Ben said,

    June 28, 2008 at 2:39 am


    £120 was NOT the cost of the Iplayer. It was the cost of _modernising the ENTIRE BBC_ Previously the BBC’s archive was stored on tapes, they moved decades of film and audio onto digital storage, that was what cost the big money. Developing the Iplayer application cost £4 million.

    “Bear in mind that I didn’t edit or produce the video,”
    Dosn’t matter. Posting it on your blog without commentary is a full endorsement, if you do that you have to take responsibility for any inacuracies.

    I have no idea why they said >£20 Million to parliament, but that’s a guestimate, if you want accurate figures read the interview where he actually had them on hand. http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071118205358171

    “Erik Huggers, group controller at BBC Future Media & Technology at the time, is a former Microsoft high-level employee”
    If he’s part of an evil plot to take over the BBC from within then take him down. But unless you have actual evidence he’s deliberately doing evil its pure FUD to claim he’s part of a sinister plan.

    “Why would the BBC exclude the #1 rival of its new media partner then?”
    Technical reasons, prioritising by user count, maybe they wanted to get the public response and make changes before they started porting. Who knows? But jumping to the worst conclusion without evidence is FUD. Besides the online verison is cross platform and it was worth a little teathing troubles to get hold of.

    “Microsoft has a proven track record of abuse and delivery of shoddy software which, by design, does not play nice with competitors. The iPlayer and its constituent parts are a brilliant example of this.”
    Nope, Iplayer’s online Flash version is compliant with internet de-facto standards (and its not like there is an official standard to use anyway), cross platform and pretty high quality. I don’t know if there’s any web 2.0 features people are missing but if you want to watch some BBC TV online, its great.

    The Downloadable client according to the digital grapevine (I never used it) shoddy and tied to Microsoft. But that dosn’t prove anything. You can say the same about any badly written peace of Windows software in existence.

    “There has never been any real intention to support Linux, and it will never happen. This would not be in Microsoft’s interests.”
    Iplayer has an online flash version. Its far more popular than the downloadable version (even with Windows users) and fully supports Linux. I use it and I have no complaints.

    “The BBC’s main argument *for* the Microsoft solution was “DRM”, amazingly, this argument was forgotten in moments when the flash solution was pushed out. Clearly, the DRM line had been a Microsoft one.”
    The BBC isn’t pro-DRM, if you read what they actually said http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071118205358171 its that DRM was a nessacary evil, not because of pirates, but because they needed to convince the copyright holders to allow Iplayer to allow their shows online, DRM convinced them. If they can convince them to allow their shows on the Flash version of Iplayer without DRM, nice work BBC!

    “The successful iPlayer, the one built in a few weeks on the Adobe platform, after the humiliating failure of spending up to £120 millions”
    IPlayer itself did not cost £120 million, the £120 million was spent restructureing the BBC without witch the Flash Iplayer could not have been built. I agree the downloadable Iplayer was a waste of time and money, I just don’t see an evil intent, but please, get your figures right.

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