Open source body urges iPlayer rethink

BBC iPlayer

A trade body representing companies providing services built on open source software has accused the BBC of forcing consumers to use Microsoft's operating system, and says it will take its complaint over the corporation's iPlayer to the European Commission unless it is available via every operating system.

Last month the BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust, approved plans for the iPlayer, which will provide online access to TV shows up to 30 days after broadcast. The Trust removed an earlier condition that the iPlayer needed to work across Apple and open source operating systems within two years, and said it would instead "audit the BBC's progress against this objective every six months and publish its findings".

The Open Source Consortium wants the iPlayer to be launched across all operating systems, and has written to Ofcom, the Office of Fair Trading and the BBC Trust. Consortium CEO Iain Roberts said the iPlayer's reliance on Microsoft's Windows Media Player needed to be re-examined. "It is very disturbing that the BBC should be using licence payers' money to affect the operating system market in this way.

"Imagine if the BBC were to launch new digital channels, but only make them available on a certain make of television—there would be uproar."

A statement from the BBC, published on the corporation's news web site, said: "The BBC aims to make its content as widely available as possible and has always taken a platform agnostic approach to its internet services. It is not possible to put an exact timeframe on when BBC iPlayer will be available for Mac users. However, we are working to ensure this happens as soon as possible and the BBC Trust will be monitoring progress on a six monthly basis."

Lovelace Consulting  |  26.06.2007

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