In a new twist on the next generation DVD format war, Microsoft has said it will work with Toshiba to jointly investigate the development of High Definition-DVD (HD-DVD) players. The move considerably strengthens the position of Toshiba in the format war, who were previously looking like they were going to be the losers.

In its fierce battle with Sony over the format of next generation DVD, Toshiba needs all the friends it can get and Microsoft is a pretty powerful friend to have.

"From the HD-DVD viewpoint we now have a very strong supporter," said Atsutoshi Nishida, the president and chief executive of Toshiba. "We want to leverage this support and come up with a concrete outcome."
Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, has claimed that the company remains neutral in this particular conflict, despite the fact that Microsoft is a member of the HD-DVD group. Nevertheless, Microsoft will investigate development of HD-DVD players using Microsoft Windows CE technology.