What is QuickTime?

   

QuickTime is a digital audio and video suite developed by Apple. Available for free download from Apple's website, the QuickTime Player is a media player available bundled with or without iTunes for the Apple OS-X and Microsoft Windows operating systems. The free QuickTime download is restricted to 200% playback size and cannot edit or record video. Thus, Apple promotes a paid Pro version of the Player that offers full-screen playback, record and edit functions, and file type conversion. While traditionally used as the format for transferring movie trailers and short video clips in the early days of the Internet due to it's multiple codec versatility, P2P file sharing networks have caused a decline in the need of, and thus the use of, Apple's free QuickTime player.

The QuickTime Movie file format is actually a container format which wraps around avi, mpeg, mp3, and other formats. In addition, it can contain text, pictures, JavaScript, hyperlinks, and many other file types. Thus, the QuickTime Movie file format can transport presentations, 3-D video, and interactive 360-degree virtual reality environments. As the file format is completely publicly documented, companies not affiliated with Apple can create and distribute content taking advantage of all of its features. Additionally, companies not affiliated with Apple can create QuickTime implementations of their own. The popular Linux application QuickTime4Linux was developed independently of Apple, and is maintained by a volunteer community.

Although originally designed for the System 6 operating system, Apple decided early in QuickTime's life to port the software to Microsoft Windows. Because of their extensive video experience the San Francisco Canyon Company was hired to do the job. One year after QuickTime's debut on the System 6, in late 1992, QuickTime for Windows was released as an Apple codec. The following year Intel had contacted the video experts at the San Francisco Canyon Company to recode Microsoft's Video for Windows with an emphasis on Intel's chip architecture. Microsoft had provided the codebase for Video for Windows to Intel, and the resulting optimized code was licenced back to Microsoft by Intel. Apple alleged that much of the code provided to Intel by the San Francisco Canyon Company was Apple property, developed under contract for Apple. Furthermore, Apple accused both Intel and Microsoft of knowingly stealing the QuickTime code. Suit was filed in late 1994, to drag on for over two and a half years. The QuickTime Piracy lawsuit was finally settled out of court when Apple and Microsoft settled an unrelated program support quarrel, and Microsoft purchased $150,000,000 of Apple stock.



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