Apple's QuickTime File Format will be adopted by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) as the basis for its MPEG-4 specification. Allowing users to view and manipulate audio and video files, MPEG-4 is currently being defined by ISO's Moving Picture Experts Group and is expected to arrive in 1999, but QuickTime will be a starting point "container" for multimedia and video producers to work on. Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, said that 50 million PCs have QuickTime installed, and QuickTime content being created today could be redirected to be delivered in MPEG-4. However, Jeffrey Mann, programme director of the Meta Group research firm, said the announcement is not significant for video and audio developers on the Web. "These developers want users to have no hassle, so they are interested in what is out there now, which is mainly Microsoft stream video files," he commented. "The people who are interested in standards are government agencies and academic communities. Microsoft did not offer its file format (to the ISO), because standards take so long to come through. Microsoft is interested in standards on the ground, not in the books." Apple denied Microsoft has the upper-hand in video standards. "Any one who tells you QuickTime is not already a standard is ignoring the facts," claimed Scott Law, Apple's media authoring business development manager. "There is irrefutable evidence that use of QuickTime dwarfs any other standard on the Internet." Law cited a recent survey by New Media magazine, that found more than 50% of all Web video is Quick-Time. The second most popular format is MPEG, which can be played by any QuickTime application. "Everybody working in the video market will know that QuickTime is a really cool thing," Law said.
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