It is tough to get new image formats to catch on, much less to replace prevailing standards, but Microsoft has two strong forces on its side.
First, Microsoft built HD Photo support into Windows Vista, consumer versions of which go on sale Tuesday. That means camera manufacturers increasingly will be able to count on HD Photo support when customers upload their images to a computer, and software such as Web browsers will be able to display and save HD Photo images.
"Clearly, the goal there is to help make it pervasive. If you can use it in Windows, a large percentage of the user base already has access to it," Weisberg said.
Second, Adobe Systems, the most influential image-editing software maker by virtue of its Photoshop products, is helping support HD Photo, said Kevin Connor, Adobe's senior director of product management. Though the "timing didn't work out" to build HD Photo support into Adobe's upcoming CS3 version of Photoshop, Adobe is working with Microsoft on a plug-in with the goal that both Windows and Mac OS X Photoshop users will be able to open and save HD Photo files.