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On2 to release VP4

On2 Technologies (www.on2.com), The Duck Corporation announced that it will be unveiling a redesigned Web site on May 21. On2 hopes that the new Web site will help it to position itself as a premier codec company, and the new site will highlight the beta release of On2's new codec , VP4, as well as a newly created e-commerce area.

On2 was originally known as The Duck Corporation, but changed its name in June 1999 to capitalize on the dot-com mania. Back then, it was focused on the encoding/compression side of the business, but when it went dot-com, it tried to become a media portal. Last year, On2 decided to back away from the portal strategy and went back to its compression roots.

In April, On2 Technologies dropped the dot-com completely from its name and went back to the official name of On2 Technologies, The Duck Corporation.

"The recent name change to On2 Technologies, the revamped site, and the addition of e-commerce were completed with two goals in mind — making the On2 brand synonymous with video compression, and making our leading-edge technology available to a wider audience,'' stated Douglas McIntyre, president and CEO of On2 Technologies in a statement.

The VP4 Codec, released for set-top boxes last month, replaces VP3 in On2's encoding facilities and the company's line of Encoding Workstations. On2 adds that playback only plug-ins for VP3 and VP4 will continue to be available for free download, and the VP3 for RealPlayer Plug-in will continue to be part of Real's AutoUpdate program.

On2's efforts to redefine itself as a codec company may be a matter of life and death for the financially beleaguered company. The company's stock price is continuing to linger around $.50 a share, and while the company has reduced its losses through staff reductions and by shifting away from the portal model, the blunt language in its last SEC filing indicates that the road ahead is still bumpy.

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