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Microsoft Announces Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere and Expression Studio

Available in a Community Technology Preview (CTP) today, Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere is a browser plug-in for delivering rich media, animation, and video content, leveraging the popularity, compatibility, and DRM of Windows Media in a cross-platform tool.

"The WPF/E preview includes support for playback of the Emmy-award winning Windows Media Audio and Video platform as well as SMPTE VC-1 with integrated vector-based overlays, dynamic video resizing, and interactive marker support for syncing actions on a web page," Key says. "Customers will be able to take advantage of the bandwidth, cost, and quality efficiencies offered with Windows Media streaming services in Windows Server 2003 and Windows Longhorn Server for live and on-demand scenarios."

While it's easy to view WPF/E as Microsoft's competitor against Adobe's Flash, Key claims that there are important differences, including the fact that with WPF/E and Expression Studio, developers and designers can deploy the exact same assets across multiple platforms. "It's important to frame the discussion around the total 'ecosystem' of Windows Media versus other solutions on the market,"Key says.

"Both traditional media companies and emerging 'new wave web media' businesses are considering not just the platform for consuming and displaying rich media—along with the authoring tools for designing and developing the experience—but also, very importantly, the wider ecosystem for producing, tracking and otherwise protecting, and cost effectively deploying the media," Key says. "In the case of Windows Media, there really isn't a competing platform on the market that can offer the breadth of support for media across the multitude of end-user touch points."

Key points to the use of Windows Media on Microsoft's Media Center PCs, the Xbox 360, andvarious IPTV and HD solutions (including HD DVD and Blu-ray) as examples of the penetration of Windows Media beyond the desktop.

"We've been gathering customer requirements for over a year now for WPF/E (which we first showed playing video in a Mac browser in the spring of this year at the Mix web conference in Las Vegas), and we understand that a cross-platform, highly customizable, web browser hosted solution was something we needed to add to our platform," Key continues. "So we have!"

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