Microsoft on Friday tipped its hand and revealed itself as the first major operating system developer to incorporate more complete Blu-ray support into its platform. A test version of Microsoft's Feature Pack for Storage will give Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008 the option of burning Blu-ray discs directly from the operating system, averting the need for a third-party app record to the larger storage format.
Upgrading with the Storage patch will also add the ability to lock down removable storage with a certificate or password to prevent the theft of secure material and will also add new forms of Smart Card support for government workers and others that depend on the standard to access networks and data.
The update is still in the beta stage and isn't yet known to have a set completion date, though the scale of the release suggests a comparatively near-term launch.
Microsoft's approach gives it an inroad into more secure workplaces and should also speed the rate of adoption for Blu-ray hardware, whose costs have often remained elevated due partly from a need to bundle third-party software. Linux, Mac OS X, and other operating systems lack both burning and playback support without third-party tools.