Ina Fried

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Microsoft to Use Dolby Sound Tech in Windows 8

Dolby Laboratories said on Thursday that Microsoft plans to incorporate its sound technology into Windows 8.

Under the deal, computer makers will be required to license directly from Dolby and pay a royalty to use the technologies. A higher rate will apply for those machines that ship with an optical disc player.

“With the incredible growth of online download and streaming media, particularly for video content, this agreement ensures a great audio experience for those consumers who wish to download or stream TV and movies containing Dolby Digital Plus,” Microsoft Windows unit CFO Tami Reller said in a statement. “Additionally, all of their existing and future home videos recorded with Dolby Digital Plus audio will work great on Windows 8 right out of the box.”

“Dolby does not expect this agreement to affect its fiscal 2012 outlook because Windows 8 is not expected to ship until Dolby’s fiscal 2013,” the company said.

Though Microsoft hasn’t officially said when to expect Windows 8, it is widely expected to ship later this year. Dolby’s comments, though, suggest that Windows 8 won’t ship until at least October, the start of its fiscal first quarter.

Shares of Dolby surged in after-hours trading, changing hands recently at $45.38, up $7.75, or more than 20.60 percent.

Update: In an interview, Dolby VP John Couling said that the deal covers Windows running on PCs and tablets and those running on both ARM and x86 processors.

Microsoft is already Dolby’s largest customer and was involved in Windows Vista and Windows 7, largely for DVD playback.

“The PC ecosystem is very important to us,” Couling said.

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