It's no secret Microsoft was hoping HD DVD would win the format war - its Xbox 360 console came with an HD DVD add-on and even since Blu-ray came out on top talk of support out of Redmond has been noticeably silent, but this may mark the turning point...
Details have arisen of the 'Windows Feature Pack for Storage' - a kit for XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Sever 2008 which will bring a number of storage functionality improvements to the platforms including, most noticeably: an updated image mastering API for Blu-ray allowing the discs to be burnt without third party software.
Well done Microsoft, it must've been a bitter pill to swallow.
Away from this headline feature are two other key technologies: ' Active Storage Platform' which will enable the Windows platform to restrict access to portable devices (such as a USB Flash Device) via a certificate or password authentication based on the IEEE 1667 standard specification. Secondly, 'Smart Card Driver', which provides support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID.
The public beta testing for the Windows Feature Pack for Storage is expected to begin imminently but if you're not a fan of toying with pre-release software don't worry this one should be seeing a final release sooner rather than later.