Ubuntu maker enters BBC iPlayer dispute

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Ubuntu maker enters BBC iPlayer dispute

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, has backed demands by the Open Source Consortium (OSC) for a platform-independent BBC iPlayer.

The OSC in February slammed the BBC's decision to lock the iPlayer into Microsoft products. The BBC backtracked in July saying that it was in talks to develop an open source version of the media software.

The OSC has already complained to the BBC Trust, the former Department of Trade and Industry and broadcast regulator Ofcom over the decision.

"It is shocking that the BBC, which has for so long advocated open access to information, has abandoned the approach for iPlayer," said a Canonical spokesman Chris Kenyon.

"To link the ability to download content from the BBC, a publicly funded body, to the use of one operating system is anti-competitive and at odds with the BBC charter.

"Locking access to BBC iPlayer content to phones and internet tablets running Windows is short sighted and bad for fee-payers. Platform neutral means that we need a solution that supports Linux and Apple's OSX."

Some observers predict that if the BBC continues to ignore the demand for a cross-platform player it risks entanglement in Microsoft's EU anti-trust woes which have already cost the company over €500m.

Canonical is a private company founded and funded by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth.

The BBC Trust has said that it will eventually open up the iPlayer service to everyone, but is starting with the most popular operating system.
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