QuickTime Turns Ten

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This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Apple's QuickTime technology. On December 2, 1991 the original QuickTime team finished work on QuickTime 1.0, which was released to the public at Macworld San Francisco one month later.

An organization called the Friends of Time has organized an invitation only event to be held this weekend to celebrate what QuickTime has achieved over the last decade. MacCentral spoke with Peter Hoddie, President of Generic Media and one of the organizers of the event. Hoddie spent nine years at Apple with much of that time as chief QuickTime architect.

"There are very few pieces of technology that get to be 10 years old and still have people using them, let alone leading the charge in the industry," Hoddie told MacCentral. "Our industry is one where technology advances get forgotten really quickly. Things that we take for granted today were absolutely insane 10 years ago -- to understand the influence Apple and QuickTime on things like DVD is something the industry should step back and reflect on."

The original team was one of the first to have engineers and input from many different departments. With a goal to bring video to anyone the QuickTime team was made up of people from the Software Graphics Group, Video Hardware, Apple Advanced Technology and the Human Interface Group. Everyone was involved to figure out exactly how video was going to work on the computer.

"A lot of us had a sense it was a big deal, but nobody knew what the whole impact was going to be," said Hoddie. "The project got a lot of buzz at Apple when it first started, people wanted to come and see what these crazy guys were doing with video on Macs."

Although unsure what the impact of QuickTime would be Hoddie remembers seeing Myst for the first and seeing how other people were using the technology. "We moved to the point where this isn't just a cool trick on a computer, but a tool that people are using as part of a bigger experience," said Hoddie.

The QuickTime "family" went on to play central roles as innovators and executives in technology companies such as Microsoft, Palm and Exodus Communications. Artists such as Peter Gabriel, Michael Penn, The Residents and creative users throughout the world discovered the artistic freedom afforded them by QuickTime and pioneered the multimedia experiences we take for granted today in television, motion pictures, CD-ROMs and DVDs, according to the Friends of Time.

This is also a way to get the different generations of the QuickTime family together -- some have never met before. "Having someone stay at a job in Silicon Valley is a long time, said Hoddie. "Looking at QuickTime that means it has basically gone through three or four generations of people. They've all been building on top of what the previous generation has built -- so many of these people have never met or had a chance to talk about what they were trying to do or why they did things."

"Apple didn't invent video, but they sure drove it into the personal computer," said Hoddie.

This is a good time for a QuickTime party -- earlier this week Apple released figures that showed QuickTime is being downloaded more than one million times every three days by Windows and Mac users. QuickTime 5 downloads are on track to top 100 million downloads in its first year of distribution.

MacCentral also posted an interview with Frank Casanova, director of QuickTime product marketing at Apple earlier today.

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on MacCentral.

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