European Commission anti-trust officials are probing the licensing strategies of two rival new generation DVD developers, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, the EU executive said yesterday.
HD DVD was created by Toshiba, while Blu-ray Disc was developed by a Sony-led consortium which includes Philips, Samsung and Sharp Corporation.
The two products will be battling for a share in the lucrative audio-visual market providing they can convince consumers they should upgrade from their current DVD standard.
"We have sent a letter earlier this month to the makers of HD DVD and Blu-ray to request information about licensing," a Commission spokesman said, declining to give further information.
The Commission would not name the companies nor say to how many it sent the request for information, but Sony confirmed it had received inquiries. HD DVD was released in April in the United States and has the support of Intel and Microsoft and the exclusive backing of General Electric's Universal Studios, makers of films such as King Kong (left).
Blu-ray was released last month in the United States, according to its website, and is backed by amongst others 20th Century Fox.