On the heels of releasing QuickTime 3.0 (see the MailBIT "Apple Ships QuickTime 3.0" in TidBITS 422), Apple has without warning unveiled new licensing policies for shipping QuickTime with Macintosh or Windows 95/NT products. Developers were able to ship QuickTime 2.x with products free of charge. However, to ship software with QuickTime 3.0, developers must pay Apple $1 for every copy of the product sold. Apple will waive this fee if programs play the "Get QuickTime Pro" movie when their product installs and copy that movie to the desktop every time their product launches (unless it’s already there or QuickTime Pro is installed). This policy has been dubbed “desktop spamming” and sets an alarming precedent, since it produces end-user animosity, opportunities for malicious Trojan Horses, and technical support burdens. To ship QuickTime 3 Pro, developers must pay $2 per copy.
At the same time – and also without warning – Apple has discontinued licensing for QuickTime 2.x, the most recent version that functions with Windows 3.1. Developers planning to ship QuickTime products for Windows 3.1 – still an important market – are now rapidly looking for alternatives. Further, since there is no QuickTime 3-compatible Director Xtra for QuickTime VR, terminating QuickTime 2.x licensing hamstrings products using QuickTime VR with Macromedia Director – developers can’t make products that use QuickTime 3.0 and can’t ship products built with QuickTime 2.x.