Microsoft Cuts DVD Support from Standard Version of Windows 8
It now appears that buyers of the standard version of Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system will not be able to play DVDs. Instead, the company is forcing anyone interested in DVD support to purchase the more expensive Windows 8 Pro edition.
Microsoft made the announcement last week, but has only recently explained its position.
Here’s the reason for the cut: Microsoft says that in order for DVD support to be included, someone (Microsoft, the manufacturer or the consumer) must pay for special audio codec licenses. These can get expensive, and since many Windows 8 users will be running systems that don’t even have a DVD drive (like tablet computers and ultrabooks) it would be unfair for them to have to pay for licenses they can even employ.
Meanwhile, the cost of licensing codecs for new technologies could prove even costlier.
“Blu-ray would be an additional cost on top of these,” said Microsoft Windows division President, Steven Sinofsky.
“So when you add all this up and apply to all Windows PCs, it is an ongoing cost of hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the PC ecosystem, well over a billion dollars over the lifecycle of the operating system and yet by most predictions the majority of PCs will not even be capable of playing DVDs.”
But that reasoning won’t sit well with users of your standard laptop and desktop PCs, because they’ll have to pay substantially more to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. It’s not yet known how much more that version of the OS will cost, though experts speculate it could be as much as $100.
For the record, Microsoft did not have such problems including DVD support in the base versions of Windows 7. Both the Starter and Home Basic versions of that OS could play DVDs.
Fingers crossed that the price differential won’t high. If it is, it could dramatically reduce the appeal of Microsoft’s upcoming operating system.