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The BBC Trust and the Open Source Consortium (OSC) have agreed the promotion of Microsoft by the BBC should end. After a meeting with the OSC, the BBC Trust restated its commitment to a platform agnostic solution for the iPlayer's catch-up service and agreed that the recently launched streaming service was only an interim solution.

Mark Taylor, President of the Open Source Consortium, said: “We are pleased that the BBC Trust continues to engage with us and take our concerns seriously. The seven-day streaming service is elegant and attractive, and most importantly, can be used on any computer and most mobile devices without unnecessary concern with technology. Instead consumers can choose on the more important criteria of price and performance.

“However we remain concerned that the 30 day catch-up service is exclusively provided only for newer versions of Microsoft operating systems and are pleased that the BBC Trust continues to share our concern that iPlayer be made technology agnostic at the earliest opportunity.

“Thanks to the BBC Trust's intervention we met BBC management to outline how they could deliver an open iPlayer that would meet all rights holders concerns. We think it would be easily possible to use the BBC's existing, world leading Free Software solutions in an open iPlayer. We sincerely hope that the BBC will take this further.

“When we met the BBC Trust, we pointed to the European Court of First Instance judgment in September 2007, confirming that Microsoft has illegally tied Windows Media Player to its Windows operating system and that it should not to use its dominant position in operating systems to leverage parallel markets, including circumventing this requirement though commercial arrangements.

“It is unfortunate that iPlayer has the effect of undermining that decision and we think it is important that the BBC moves away from a position that could be preventing competition in operating systems.

“The streaming iPlayer, together with the recent launch of fully featured, low cost computers based on the secure and stable Linux operating system, will provide an attractive contribution to overcoming the digital divide and providing a safe entry point to the knowledge economy.

“The BBC Trust listened to these concerns and our other concerns regarding the dangers of inadvertent promotion of particular technology companies possibly amounting to illegal State Aid.”

The BBC Trust stated: “The BBC Trust is committed to a platform agnostic solution for the TV catch-up service on BBC iPlayer - as specified in the On-demand Services PVT. The Trust received a platform neutrality report from BBC management in November 2007. The Trust is satisfied that progress has been made towards achieving platform neutrality for the TV catch-up service. The Trust notes that a streaming solution has been implemented, which will be a partial solution to the issues. The Trust welcomes the addition of streaming functionality, but remains committed to the TV catch-up service being delivered as a platform agnostic application within a reasonable timeframe. Management will present their next report to the Trust in Spring 2008.

“The Open Source Consortium also volunteered to share its view ahead of the April 2008 Trust review, on how platform neutrality for iPlayer might be implemented while meeting the BBC's rights obligations.”

Notes for Editors:

About the BBC Trust

The Trust is the sovereign body of the BBC, its independent trustees acting in the public interest.

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About the Open Source Consortium

The Open Source Consortium is a UK based trade body comprising a number of successful companies providing solutions based around Free Software into all sectors of the UK economy. It also promotes and educates on the importance of Free Software in an information society.

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About the Court of First Instance

The Court of First Instance decision imposing requirements on Microsoft to enable interoperability and to unbundle its media player can be found here: .

Paragraph 1152 of the decision states “[...]Microsoft is claiming that the integration of Windows Media Player in Windows and the marketing of Windows in that form alone lead to the de facto standardisation of the Windows Media Player platform, which has beneficial effects on the market. Although, generally, standardisation may effectively present certain advantages, it cannot be allowed to be imposed unilaterally by an undertaking in a dominant position by means of tying”

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Sirius in the following categories: Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit