Re: They want free Microsoft money
It's worth pointing out that Microsoft has denied making any payment to Paramount for their support of HD DVD.
I think people are over-stressing Microsoft's commitment to HD DVD, after all they've had plenty of time to incorporate it into the XBox 360 and failed to do so. Why would they miss the opportunity to grab a huge new market for their preferred format?
Unless of course HD DVD isn't Microsoft's chosen technology. It might just be a transitional relatively low risk technology whilst they get their XBox Live Video Store ready for worldwide rollout. At that point Microsoft owns the codecs, the player software, the network and the playback device.
If anything it's in Microsoft's interest to see Blu Ray and HD DVD beat one another to pulp.