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The Wall Street Journal Interviews Toshiba Chief About Life After HD DVD

Posted on Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 2:04 PM and updated on Tuesday, March 11th, 2008 9:21 AM

Rounding out our coverage of the HD DVD high definition disc format and its demise, the Wall Street Journal has interviewed Toshiba chief executive Atsutoshi Nishida about the format's final months, and what Toshiba intends to do now:

WSJ: Most industry observers had expected the format war to continue for a while longer. Why did you decide to pull out so quickly?

Mr. Nishida: I didn't think we stood a chance after Warner left us because it meant HD DVD would have just 20% to 30% of software market share. One has to take calculated risks in business, but it's also important to switch gears immediately if you think your decision was wrong. We were doing this to win, and if we weren't going to win then we had to pull out, especially since consumers were already asking for a single standard.

While the failure of HD DVD has got to leave a few egos bruised at Toshiba, it's easy to forget that such technologies are just one of many efforts going on at any large company.

What's interesting from the article is that Nishida says that they will concentrate on video downloads and upconverting DVD players, with no mention of making a Blu-ray player. Those two markets represent Blu-ray's biggest challenges in winning over the hearts, minds, and wallets of the consumer. Former HD DVD backer Microsoft is also very involved in downloads with their Xbox Marketplace, so now you have a hardware company and a software company that have been working together for several years interested in making downloaded video more successful...

Five years from now, we may look back on these past few months as the time when Blu-ray won the battle but lost the war. Or, it might just mean that downloads may eventually replace DVD, with Blu-ray continuing to hold the high position. The days of a single home video format are at an end. We live in interesting times, indeed!

Click the Read link below to read the full article on the Wall Street Journal web site.

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