Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Michael Bay (Yes, the same dude who directed Transformers, Bad Boys, etc movies), says the reason behind this nonsense of a HD format war between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray is because Microsoft is delibrately screwing around, as they have their own agenda.
According to Mr Bay:
What you don't understand is corporate politics. Microsoft wants both formats to fail so they can be heroes and make the world move to digital downloads. That is the dirty secret no one is talking about. That is why Microsoft is handing out $100 million dollar checks to studios just embrace the HD DVD and not the leading, and superior Blu Ray. They want confusion in the market until they perfect the digital downloads. Time will tell and you will see the truth.
Although this sounds like the master plan of the Emperor in first three episodes of Star Wars, there are things to consider before brushing Michael Bay off.
(1) Microsoft DOES have the money and resources.
Their ability to conduct a worldwide ballot stuffing campaign to try to push their OOXML through the fast tracking ISO process has proven that. They CAN influence when they want something THEIR way. Even though the fast tracking has failed, the really scary part is, they can do it at an International level! So Hollywood should be a piece of cake!
(2) Windows Vista has DRM infrastructure built-in
For a review, see here.
(3) Upcoming video cards and IGPs have HD decoding acceleration features
Go ahead, check the roadmaps and features of Nvidia, ATI/AMD and Intel's upcoming video solutions. These will allow HD playback to be smooth on any WINDOWS PC. Anyone who's worked in the graphics card industry knows that Microsoft dictates the features with each generation of DirectX and video card companies build hardware around those features. Notice how Linux drivers don't have the same video acceleration feature support?
(4) Windows 7
There is talk that Windows 7 (one after Vista, coming around 2009-ish) is said to be using a subscription model. ie: You pay for apps when you need it. It would be extremely convenient to offer an "entertainment" or "movies" subscription. (Essentially, emulate Apple's success of iTunes, but for movies...With Hollywood behind you, and you being the only digital provider, how can you lose?).
(5) Microsoft has a history of nefarious activities
You don't be the dominate party by playing "nice neighbour". You rape, pillage, murder, abuse, obfuscate, FUD, confuse, etc and do what you can to maintain your dominant position. You take it as far as the law allows it, knowing full well that you don't answer to anyone but governments. (Even then, officials can be bought...Given the right price). There's no such thing as "competition". This is war, and I bet they are thoroughly versed in books like Sun Tzu's "The Art of War".
People may think Mr Bay's comment is crazy, but when you take a moment and think about it, it may not be all that crazy after all. Heck, its downright feasible given how Microsoft operates. Its not "if"...Its "when".