MS's WMP is offering something that pretty much already exists in a market that is well established. It does not offer anything compelling enough to cause people to abandon what is available already nor is it tied to any specific software application that will be used in a professional market.
Newsflash: the professional market may not be what Microsoft is aiming for here.
As is usual, their "gratis" software is targeted at the casual user, in business or private.
It doesn't have to be "compelling enough to cause people to abandon" anything else, Microsoft proved that with Word (vs. WordPerfect), Excel (vs. several competitors), Internet Explorer (vs. Netscape and other competitors), and so on.
The file formats for MS Office became as widely used because of the success of MS Office at a time when the market was fairly small and much younger than it is today.
Not too dissimilar to the image editing market today, then.
People are just discovering that they can fiddle about with their images. Guess which OS they'll mostly do it in, and whether they'll prefer to do it with a pre-packaged tool from Microsoft, or from a third party vendor.
MS's domination of Office formats is coming to an end however. Office 07 uses a partially open XML-based format and MS has released a document converter that will convert files to the Open Document standard used by Open Office.
I'm a bit confused. Didn't you just claim that the XMP (HD Photo) format wouldn't catch on? Yet you seem to claim that their partially open format just might. Are you unaware that the image format for XPS is, in fact, the HD Photo format?
HTML? That is not a MS owned standard. It's an open standard controlled by the WC3 and has been around long before MS was even remotely interested in the internet. Everyone follows the HTML standard in their web-browsers, even MS.
Are you serious? One of the major problems in web development the past ten years or so has been that Microsoft has had their own, non-compliant interpretation
of HTML and associated standards (like CSS and in-browser scripting).
I'm perfectly aware that HTML doesn't "own" HTML, but the message I was trying to get across, was that Microsoft "embraced and extended" HTML to something that only worked well in Internet Explorer, and that worked mostly well in Opera because it emulated (well, attempted to emulate) Internet Explorer on demand.
As of Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft has nearly
gotten to the point of following the current standards. I expect that Internet Explorer 9 might actually get there, but by then the standards will be far beyond again.
No, I seriously think that we'll be dealing with HD Photo as a format in the coming years. Whether it will be long-lived like various TIFF derivatives and JPEG remains to be seen.