Native media playback support has been steadily improving in Windows over the years, but what most people don’t realize is that this functionality comes at a price. Dozens of third party licensing agreements are needed to playback all the different forms of audio and video you’re likely to stumble across, and over the years Dolby has benefited quite handsomely from the inclusion of its Dolby Digital Plus pack into Microsoft’s operating systems.
Dolby’s offerings are one of the key technologies behind native DVD support in Windows, and on Friday the company was forced to admit to investors Microsoft has indicated it will not be licensing any Dolby products in Windows 8. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Microsoft is dropping DVD playback support entirely; rather it may simply mean that they are shopping around for a better deal.
Investors as you can imagine weren’t impressed by the news, and reacted by slashing the company’s shares by almost 18 percent in just one day. It’s too early to tell what Microsoft will offer on the DVD front going forward, but when you consider that Intel anticipates optical drive-less Ultrabooks to make up 40 percent of laptop sales by 2012, spinning media might not be something they need to worry about for much longer.