Microsoft on Thursday introduced a new file format for digital photos that the company hopes will one day replace the widely used JPEG format as the industry standard for electronic photography and digital imaging.
Microsoft claims its new HD Photo format allows digital photographers and editors to capture and transmit high quality image files that are half the size of image files created using the JPEG standard. The company also says HD Photo produces fewer unwanted visual artifacts in digital images than JPEG.
JPEG has been used for years by photographers at major news organizations such as the Associated Press and is supported by major digital imaging software manufacturers such as Adobe Systems.
But in keeping with its practice of developing its own computer file formats and unleashing them on the market by embedding them in its products, Microsoft said HD Photo is natively supported by its new Windows Vista operating system and in .Net Framework 3.0.
Microsoft says HD Photo is also supported on Apple's Mac OS X operating system.
Microsoft says it has developed a plug-in that adds HD Photo support to Adobe's popular Photoshop digital image editing program. Microsoft plans to submit HD Photo to an international standards body for certification.