Microsoft Licenses DVD-Authoring Software for Longhorn

Microsoft announced this week that it has licensed Sonic Solutions' DVD-authoring technology, probably for inclusion in the next version of Windows (code-named Longhorn). Following Microsoft's announcement, shares of Sonic Solutions soared almost 40 percent yesterday.

Windows XP currently supports CD writing and DVD data recording through the DVD-RAM format; the Sonic software is used with more common DVR-R, DVD-RW, and DVD+RW drives to create movie CDs. By the time Longhorn ships in mid-2003, DVD movie authoring will be much more common than it is today.

"We're delighted that Microsoft has chosen Sonic DVD technology," said Bob Doris, president of Sonic Solutions. "The features of Sonic AuthorScript will create new opportunities for Microsoft customers in the future." AuthorScript is the underlying technology in Sonic's DVD-authoring products, which come bundled with most DVD-recorder-enabled PCs today.

Microsoft declined to speculate about how it will integrate Sonic's software into Windows, but the company will likely upgrade the Windows Movie Maker (WMM) product to include DVD-authoring capabilities. Microsoft doesn't plan to update WMM until Longhorn ships, despite the fact that other Windows Media components in XP, such as Windows Media Player (WMP), will see major upgrades later this year. Microsoft licensed XP's CD-writing capabilities from Roxio, which makes Easy CD Creator. If the company follows that model again, Longhorn's DVD-authoring tools will probably be fairly basic so that users still have reasons to upgrade to the full Sonic products.

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