The case against BBC’s iPlayer: it isn’t usable, didn’t have to be bound to Microsoft’s DRM and cost £123m to build. Pretty convincing… assuming another DRM solution can be found?
Illustrates the dangers posed by corporate capture of state instutions (and yes, the BBC is part of the British state):
…the iPlayer is not what it claimed to be, it is built top-to-bottom on a Microsoft-only stack, the BBC management team who are responsible for the iPlayer are a checklist of senior employees from Microsoft who were involved with Windows Media. A gentleman called Erik Huggers who’s responsible for the iPlayer project in the BBC, his immediately previous job was director at Microsoft for Europe, Middle East & Africa responsible for Windows Media. He presided over the division of Windows Media when it was the subject of the European Commission’s antitrust case. He was the senior director responsible. He’s now shown up responsible for the iPlayer project.
From an e-democracy point of view, the interview includes a good illustration of how MySociety’s petitioning system for Number 10 is becoming part of the political process (despite all the criticisms). You can read PM’s response to the petition here
Update – 25 October
Something not mentioned in the Groklaw interview, but picked up by Simon Dickson today: on 15 October
The BBC and Adobe Systems Incorporated … announced a strategic relationship around the delivery of Web video. By adopting Adobe Flash Player software, the BBC will make its free catch-up TV service – BBC iPlayer – available as a streaming service across Macintosh and Linux, as well as Windows, by the end of the year.
Source press release here [PDF]
It took 2+ years and £123m pounds to develop the iPlayer; Adobe will have streaming Flash in place by the end of the year: doesn’t say much about the BBC’s choice of technology. I guess one issue will be making sure any embedded Flash movies can only be seen in the UK, but YouTube already does that. OK, offline playback will still be missing, but that’s not such a big deal for me since I don’t have a video iPod or anything, and there are a lot of people like me out there (I think!).