http://www.it-director.com/blogs/Abrahams_Accessibility/2007/6/Why_Toshiba_was_zapped_by_the_Blu-Ray.htmlStone beats scissors, scissors beat paper, and VHS beats Betamax. Those are the rules of the game that is played by consumer electronics companies everywhere. In a recent comment on Apple, I suggested that Apple is a consumer electronics company and doesn't care much for open standards. It's true and neither do Sony and Toshiba. Rather than collaborate on the next standard for high capacity DVD they chose to fight a commercial war, which Toshiba lost last week when BlockBuster video decided to carry Blu-Ray only and ditch HD-DVD. The immediate aftermath of that decision was a large number of cancellations of HD-DVD player orders. It now remains for Sony to send in its troops to bayonette the wounded.
Victory will be sweet for Sony, as it knows how to lose a war of this kind. Sony was the proud purveyor of the Betamax standard and was given to boasting that Betamax was a far superior format to VHS—a fact that no-one seemed to dispute as the world gradually adopted VHS. A commercial war of this kind is not in the interests of the consumer for obvious reasons. It delays the introduction of the new format for quite a while, delaying the benefit for the consumer. After all, who wants to be left with a completely useless Betamax player on their hands or a niche set of Betamax movies, which you eventually throw away or keep for 30 years in the hope of selling them as antiques on eBay.
Why did Sony win with Blu-Ray? It wasn't certain that Sony would win. HP, Microsoft and Intel, for example, were in favour of HD-DVD, while Dell was on the side of Blu-Ray. Ignoring Sony itself, the Hollywood studios were more enthusiastic for Blu-Ray, but not so much that it sealed the fate of HD-DVD. And, believe it or not, the pornography industry chose HD-DVD. A significant technology adoption in terms of numbers, but this wasn't the stuff of a great press release: "Porn Kings Prefer HD-DVD" is not a killer endorsement.
The reason Sony won was because of the limited success of its PS3, which is both a games machine and Blu-Ray player. Despite the fact that it came to the market late, is sold at a loss and was deemed pricey, the numbers that actually sold convinced Blockbuster to back Blu-Ray. Any company, like BlockBuster, whose business depends on carrying vast numbers of video disks will decide early rather than late in a commercial battle like this. Think about it. With more than $5 billion in rental revenues, mostly from movies, you don't want the additional cost of two formats. When you have millions of customers worldwide you just made the format choice on their behalf. Game over.
Scissors beat paper, VHS beats Betamax, Blu-Ray beats HD-DVD.
So that's what, Panasonic, ZDnet, and now IT-Director? I'm seeing some kind of trend forming here
We should know in another week or so, just how much, if at all, all this negative news has affected HD DVD's sales, with the release of this weeks sales numbers through Home Media Magazine.