Software giant Microsoft has set its sights on the movie and TV distribution business, backed by an enhanced version of its Windows Media Player that will allow feature films to be delivered via the internet.

The software behemoth made the announcement at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference in Las Vegas yesterday (Apr 8). A Microsoft spokesman said an advanced version of the Media Player code-named Corona would tap strategic partnerships with such companies as Adobe and Avid. A spokesman said the company will be launching Corona before the end of the year.

It is not clear how exactly Microsoft intends to overcome the security concerns that are currently inhibiting other ventures in that area. The free-for-all that swept through the music industry via such file-swapping sites as Napster and Gnutella put a chill on willingness of major producers and rights-holder to entrust their material to the digital domain.