ESPN Motionless

I am a sports fan. And one of my favorite sources of sports information on the Web is ESPN.com. Its RSS feeds are among the most used of any in my NetNewsWire subscription list.

For the last year, ESPN's web site has included an innovative new feature, ESPN Motion, which streams video highlights from ESPN to your PC. Note I said PC. I've tried ESPN Motion on a Windows computer and it works great. It's a very cool idea. And it doesn't work on the Mac.

Now, this is far from the first time that some Web feature didn't work on my Mac. It happens all the time. The galling thing about ESPN Motion, however, is something that ESPN has declared on the ESPN Motion site since day one: "A Mac OS X version is currently in development. It will be released as soon as it is ready." In the site's FAQ the answer to the question, "Will you be offering a Mac version?" is: "Most definitely. A Mac OS X version is in the works right now and it should be ready shortly." There's even a thumbnail image showing ESPN Motion running in the OS X dock.

Talk about cruel. ESPN taunts Mac users with promises of compatibility, but they never appear. It's been 13 months, and yet the promised OS X compatibility is still not there. (Apparently an ESPN employee promised IDG's Scott Berinato in early January that "The MAC OS X version of ESPN Motion will be debuted in a beta form within the next few weeks." It's been a few, but as you might expect, there's still no sign.)

The video technology used by ESPN Motion is called DIG Motion, and is a we-invented-it-ourselves technology from Walt Disney Internet Group. (Is this another reason to pile on Michael Eisner? Why not?) You'll also find it at Movies.com. Mac users, just click on the "Movies.com Motion" tab to see... nothing.

It's one thing to ignore the Mac. It's another to pay lip service to it and never deliver on your promises. That's what ESPN and its Disney kin are doing when it comes to Motion. As Roger Ebert (a committed Mac user and Disney employee) might say, "thumbs down."

( Update: If you're really feeling in the mood for a downer, read the Mac Marginalization Report at Macintouch. But do it near a loved one, and stay away from sharp objects for 12 hours afterward.)

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