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Sky's Murdoch criticises iPlayer, sees it as potent threat

Observers will find it particularly interesting to hear that James Murdoch, apparent heir to Media Magnate, Rubert Murdoch, openly criticised BBC's iPlayer, saying that it has distorting the competitive landscape.

Talking to the Marketing Society annual lecture in London on Thursday night, he described BBC's iPlayer's internet TV services as a "big step, a pre-emptive intervention in a marketplace otherwise hugely competitive and moving very fast".

His frustration, it seems, was more targetted at the way the iPlayer was rolled out, rather than at the technological aspect itself. The BBC has already allocated £131 million over 5 years to the iPlayer project.

BSkyB also owns a catch-up service called Sky Anytime and like the iPlayer, Channel's four 4OD and others, it uses the Kontiki platorm which is owned by Verisign.

Clearly, Murdoch is unhappy about the popularity of the iPlayer, but more worryingly for him, Sky is being faced with the increased prospects of being conspicuously excluded from Kangaroo, the commercial, worldwide equivalent of the iPlayer, which is set to be launched later this year, and the freesat HD satellite TV service which is also set to start in Spring.

Sky has joined the bandwagon of anti-iPlayer lashers which includes ISPs, but for different reasons.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.