Director accuses co. of promoting hi def war

Michael Bay has jumped back in the hi def fray.

In a posting on his official Web forum that quickly spread across the Internet, the “Transformers” helmer accused Microsoft of promoting the format war between Blu ray and HD DVD in order to promote online downloads.

“Microsoft wants both formats to fail so they can be heroes and make the world move to digital downloads,” he wrote in response to a question about why Paramount is releasing his movies in HD DVD and not Blu ray. “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.”

Fracas is similar to one set off by Bay in August when he wrote on his site that he wouldn’t direct “Transformers 2” after Paramount agreed to release exclusively in HD DVD. He later softened his stance, however, claiming that he had “drank the Kool-aid” from some Blu-ray supporters, but had since been convinced of HD DVD’s merits.

Accusations that Microsoft is stoking the hi def format war because of its own interest in downloading have been made by many observers. It’s impossible to discern the tech giant’s motives, of course, but industry sources say Microsoft hasn’t spent any of its own money to persuade studios to choose HD DVD over Blu ray. The widely reported $150 million given to Paramount and DreamWorks Animation was funded entirely by Toshiba, partly in cash and partly through marketing support.

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