The beta version of QuickTime 5 (QT 5) launched earlier this week is US only.

An Apple representative said: “Apple cannot currently commit to a schedule for the release of the International-English (IE) version of QuickTime 5.”

Apple always advises its customers not to install US software on non-US systems. It warns of potential system degradation, and poor performance. But the company continues to release its US software first, often months in advance of IE versions.

Outcry There was outcry when Apple chose to put UK English systems in the Wastebasket, or Trash, and when the company said there would be no UK Apple Expo in the future.

Now, with Apple’s most sophisticated and powerful version of QuickTime, and in the face of competition from Real and the upcoming Windows MediaPlayer 7, analysts argue Apple is failing to seize the opportunity to take poll position in the streaming wars and is ignoring input from its International-English users.

Time However, an Apple source said: “The reality is that time is needed to test the software. We don’t release software until it is fully tested. We do release the US code first, but this must then be ported to and tested within other-language operating systems. We need to do thorough testing to make sure its stable.

“What’s better – to release software with potential problems, or to release software in which problems are minimal or non-existent? We care about our customer’s experience.”

Apple’s customers in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, South Africa and other English-speaking territories will have to wait for QT 5's Aqua-like interface, audio controls, improved media player, component downloader for adding plug-ins on the fly, and support for new Web codecs – including Flash 4.

Outside the US, Macintosh users are left with QuickTime 4, which has been downloaded 100 million times, says Apple. Apple has not yet released figures to show how many of these 100 million are based outside the US.