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Microsoft Offers H.264 Plug-in For Google Chrome 332

Posted by timothy
from the windows-users-hearken dept.
Apparently Firefox was just the beginning: Pigskin-Referee writes "Microsoft has released a Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome so as to enable H.264-encoded video on HTML5 by using built-in capabilities available on Windows 7. As you may recall, less than two months ago, Microsoft released the HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in with the same goal in mind. Even though Firefox and Chrome are big competitors to Microsoft's own Internet Explorer, the software giant has decided Windows 7 users should be able to play back H.264 video even if they aren't using IE9. Here's the current state of HTML5 video: Microsoft and Apple are betting on H.264, while Firefox, Chrome, and Opera are rooting for WebM. Google was actually in favor of both H.264 and WebM up until earlier this month, when the search giant decided to drop H.264 support completely, even though the former is widely used and the latter is not. The company also announced that it would release WebM plugins for Internet Explorer 9 and Safari. Although IE9 supports H.264, excluding all other codecs, Microsoft is making an exception for WebM, as long as the user installs the corresponding codec, and is helping Google ensure the plug-in works properly."
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Microsoft Offers H.264 Plug-in For Google Chrome

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  • by drb226 (1938360) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:39PM (#35187680)
    Something strange has been going on at Redmond, WA lately. And I like it. It seems like a reversal of roles for Google to be reducing end-user choice and Microsoft to be making up for it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Google is pushing an open codec while Microsoft is pushing a closed one. It's to Google's benefit to have an open web, and to Microsoft's to close it off as much as possible. Not much has changed.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:12PM (#35187874)
        Here we go again, confusing what open and closed mean and conflating "patent encumbered" with "closed". h.264 is an OPEN STANDARD. WebM may be an open standard some day, but today it is not and the docs released so far (while a good start) are not even intended as standards documents and WebM has not been submitted to any standards body at all so far. Yes, h.265 is patent encumbered but is an open standard. WebM is currently considered by Google to only be encumbered by patents that Google owns and is freely licensing. It remains to be seen whether WebM will remain this way as MPEG-LA is soliciting patents now for a possible WebM patent pool. It is possible that WebM will remain only encumbered by the patents that Google is willing to license for free. It is also possible that it won't be and license fees will be required for that. Nobody knows yet. At this point, WebM is a closed codec because there are not enough specs and no standard for which someone can create a compatible codec of their own.
        • At this point, WebM is a closed codec because there are not enough specs and no standard for which someone can create a compatible codec of their own.

          WebM is Matroska, Vorbis, and VP8. Matroska [matroska.org] and Vorbis [xiph.org] are already well documented, and Google is at least trying with VP8, having submitted a draft RFC to IETF [dig-life.com].

          • No, Google sent a bunch of C code in an email. In its current form it is not very useful for somebody who wishes to implement their own version of the codec. It is really not explained at all in the way that an actual specification is expected to be.

            http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/archives/377 [multimedia.cx] explains this all, but I am sure you know all this already.

      • by westlake (615356)

        Google is pushing an open codec while Microsoft is pushing a closed one. It's to Google's benefit to have an open web, and to Microsoft's to close it off as much as possible. Not much has changed.

        Google is pushing a codec that is all but invisible except as a YouTube transcode.

        Google is supporting Flash because Flash supports content protection and hardware accleration.

        Bullet points which actually matter in a Netflix market for video.

        Microsoft is looking at video applications in the corporate market.

        In home entertainment.

        It is looking at Netflix's 20% share of peak hour Internet traffic in the states.

        It is looking at what services like OnLive may mean to the next generation of console gaming.

        I

      • Google is pushing an open codec while Microsoft is pushing a closed one. It's to Google's benefit to have an open web, and to Microsoft's to close it off as much as possible. Not much has changed.

        Not entirely accurate. Microsoft is ALSO pushing Windows Media Player and all the Microsoft support plugins that go along with it on the browser end. I chose Chrome (or Firefox) over IE so I could UNinstall the Microsoft crapware - not so I could install more of it. I do NOT trust their plugins or the security risks they bring along for the ride. Sure, many pieces of software have such issues, but Microsoft is, by and large, the slowest to fix such issues. Heck, as horrendous (in some aspects) as Flash is,

      • That's very arguable. H.264 is said to be patent-free and WebM is likely to have royalties issues, but Google backs WebM and is trying to take the choice out of the browser. MS and Apple back H.264 so they put it back in.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Threni (635302)

      Either that or they're hoping all their shit is going to crash Chrome and give it the same shocking reputation for security, speed and standards compliance that IE has always had.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        More likely it's a scheme to ensure that H.264 continues to be the codec of choice so as to make it harder for free OSes and browsers to compete with them. H.264 isn't free despite the claims that a lot of people make. It's free if you've got a small number of licenses or to stream, but as soon as your user base grows beyond the threshold you have to pay for all the licenses and streaming isn't typically very useful, they do charge for encoding and decoding the streams.

        Which is one of the reasons that Googl

        • by Eskarel (565631)

          Google were dead keen on it up until they bought WebM and got their own proprietary codec to push. Pretty much every youtube video is still encoded in it. Mozilla aren't keen on it because they can't distribute it legally which makes it awkward for them. If they had any sense they'd offload stuff like codec rendering to the OS instead of wasting their time rolling their own, and we wouldn't need a plugin to make this work.

          Even if everything google says about WebM being only affected by google patents is tru

      • Google Chrome runs plug-ins in a separate container process. (Firefox has since adopted a limited version of this feature [ghacks.net] in the 3.6 series.) A plug-in crash doesn't crash Chrome; instead, the plug-in is replaced with a blank box with text to the effect "the plug-in crashed". Should defective plug-ins from one company become a problem, watch it show the name of the plug-in and its publisher: "the MPEG-4 AVC plug-in by Microsoft Corporation crashed".
    • You remember Word for Mac, right? Even though Apple was pushing the only viable desktop OS/platform alternative to Windows/PC at the time (I'm talking well before Redhat, Ubuntu, and other distros made desktop Linux easy), Microsoft saw value in porting Word, etc., to the Mac. Was it because they supported choice between their own platform and Apple's? Of course not. It was because there was money to be made, and because it promoted MS dominance in office productivity software.

      I'm pretty sure the same l

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Well, actually Office was available for the Mac in 1990 and not for Windows until 1992 (version 3.0) was the first Windows version.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      eh? Microsoft deciding that all your old codes are bad and that you shouldn't use them - all those mpeg2, avi, flv, indeo etc.

      What doesn't surprise me is that they will allow WebM! But I guess even they recognise that Youtube is the number one reason for video on the web nowadays and that they would have to support whatever Google decides it'll play there. No doubt Microsoft is happy that a monopoly exists :)

    • by horza (87255)

      Something strange is going on, Microsoft is trying to force people to use software it owns or has patents on? Eg H.264. If you like it, there are probably jobs going at Nokia.

      Phillip.

  • No thanks (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I like freedom from patent-encumbered garbage.

    And it's sad that patent-loving idiot companies are all over WebM trying to "prove" it is patent-encumbered as well. Go fuck off. Seriously, this is what we need to tell patent trolls. OH PATENT WE'LL SUE! "Fuck off." BUT-- "FUCK... OFF."

    • Re:No thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by node 3 (115640) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @04:11PM (#35188292)

      What do you use that isn't "patent-encumbered"? Your computer is chock full of patents, as is everything else computer-related (except maybe an Arduino). Do you use Linux? Do you use Flash on Linux? Do you have x264 or VLC installed?

      What kind of car do you drive? Do you have a TV? Microwave? Electric shaver? Normal disposable razor? What kind of pens and pencils do you use? Do you ever listen to the radio? MP3 player?

      Sure, you are a hypocrite, but I really don't have too much of a problem with that. Nor do I have a problem with you trying to lead an ascetically "pure" life. I *do*, however, have a huge problem with you trying to fuck over everyone else, demanding they live their lives by your ideology. If you don't want to take part in modern society, by all means, whatever floats your boat.

      • by westyvw (653833)

        The difference is, of course, that those patents in physical items are not changing the way you use them. Would you enjoy your world where patents are connected to licenses so that your electric razor is not allowed outside the borders of your country? Would you like it if the razor stopped working if you no longer were using it in approved homes? How about if you could not reuse anything inside of it for a different purpose? I could go oon, but I think we get the point that patents are not black and white,

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Rockoon (1252108)
          You talk about what "benefit us from a consumers perspective" but many are completely unwilling to entertain the thought that H.264 does, in fact, benefit us greatly from a consumers perspective.

          Its already in most devices, its qualitatively better than VP8, and all the R&D for those decoder chips are way ahead of any VP8 implementation (there is still no VP8 hardware implementation) and even video card manufacturers have spent more than a little money developing accelerated H.264 on their GPU's

          This
      • I *do*, however, have a huge problem with you trying to fuck over everyone else, demanding they live their lives by your ideology.

        The parent didn't say anything in his post that leads me to believe he is pushing his agenda. He simply stated that he's sick of patent trolls wageing war. It does get a bit old.

  • Chrome doesn't have H.264 not because they're unable to implement it, but because it has patent issues. Microsoft implementing the codec doesn't remove the patent issues.

    Besides, it's a WMP plugin. I don't expect to see Linux support.

    • I'm curious what Google will do if MPEG-LA is successful in creating a patent pool for WebM? Will they actually pull support for their own codec and abandon it if patent issues arise? Will be interesting to see what happens if MPEG-LA succeeds.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        My money is on Google using its own patent portfolio to bash them back into the last century. I'd be very surprised if between offensive patents and patents covering the technology that they aren't quite well covered.

      • by alvinrod (889928)
        Stop using it. They didn't indemnify anyone else who uses it so Google is only on the hook for "damages" caused by its usage in YouTube or Chrome. Anyone else who used the codec is on their own.

        After that they can work around any of the patents that they were found to violate and release a new standard.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:00PM (#35187794) Journal
      Architecturally speaking, my understanding is that Microsoft's plugin simply exposes the (already bought and paid for) h.264 decoder that they ship with Windows 7. It doesn't remove the patent issues with h.264 in a broader sense; but Google and Chrome remain completely separate from any h.264-decoder-related code. Even if Google were to start shipping the plugin by default, on Windows Chrome installs, my understanding is that that still wouldn't expose them to any h.264 MPEG-LA trouble: they'd just be shipping a component that plugs into the decoder library available in Windows(Still using Directshow or a descendant thereof, I assume?).

      While, personally, I would prefer to avoid patent encumbrances as much as possible, there is actually a very good 'realpolitik' (and even arguably architectural) argument to be made in favor of this approach. While the ideal would be a single, patent-unencumbered, codec, this seems less than likely at present. Since the FOSS browsers cannot ship the encumbered codecs, and some of the commercial ones don't want to, they could simply ship a mechanism for handing the problem off to the platform's native codec system, possibly along with a matching implementation of their open codec of choice, and let the OS deal with it. Windows, OSX, and Linux all have viable candidates with which to interface, and doing so makes any patent issues Not Their Problem.
      • by Simon80 (874052) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:05PM (#35187824)
        Yes, they could do that, but that would guarantee continuation of the current situation, where Linux users privately infringe patents, and everybody else running a business that needs to use H.264 has to pay royalties. Google and Mozilla are for whatever reason trying to rid the world of this indirect tax by pushing a free alternative, and we should celebrate this instead of questioning the short-term sacrifices they are making to accomplish this.
        • I'm no fan of patent-encumbrances, and I have the greatest enthusiasm for what WebM, Theora, and friends are pushing for(and specifically purchase portable music players based on ogg/vorbis and ogg/flac compatibility, and so forth); but I would, for those areas where h.264 cannot be dislodged, rather see a situation where I can use a OSS implementation of a patent-encumbered format than a situation where I need Flash, a closed(and notoriously buggy) implementation of a patent-encumbered format.

          That is my
          • by hedwards (940851)

            Youtube is the main one that would need to be dislodged, the other providers will likely go that route if Youtube is doing it. Given that Youtube is now owned and controlled by Google, it's a pretty good bet that H.264 is going to be yanked before long. Which is legitimate, Google has to pay a royalty to be able to reencode files in H.264 and as such would almost certainly be free of any antitrust claims that might result.

        • Re:Missing the point (Score:4, Informative)

          by westlake (615356) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @05:44PM (#35188822)

          Yes, they could do that, but that would guarantee continuation of the current situation, where Linux users privately infringe patents, and everybody else running a business that needs to use H.264 has to pay royalties

          There are no royalties on internal use of H.264 video.

          There are no royalties on H.264 Internet video free to the viewer. No royalties on sales of video shorts less than twelve minutes.

          The lesser of 2% of sales or 2 cents a title on feature length videos sold by title. Think about that the next time you go shopping for Pixar on Blu-Ray at Walmart.

          Subscription services with less than 100,000 subscribers pay nothing.

          Broadcasters and cable services serving more than 100,000 households and less than 500,000 have the option of a one-time charge per encoder of $2,500 or $2,500/yr.

          MPEG LA is major league ball.

          They do not want to hear from you until you are raking in the green.

          • by bit01 (644603)

            There are no royalties on internal use of H.264 video.

            There are costs to everyone. It's just hidden in the cost of device and media purchase and the lack of free/open competition, that's all.

            ---

            It's wrong that an intellectual property creator should not be rewarded for their work.
            It's equally wrong that an IP creator should be rewarded too many times for the one piece of work, for exactly the same reasons.
            Reform IP law and stop the M$/RIAA abuse.

        • where Linux users privately infringe patents, and everybody else running a business that needs to use H.264 has to pay royalties.

          It is shocking I know, but at some point in your career you will have to BUY software, and the people you bought it from in turn will have paid for licenses to use technology they didn't develop themselves.

          I know all this exchanging of money for goods and services thing is alien to the free software world, but you can't bury your head in the sand and pretend everything is free of cost.

    • by Simon80 (874052)

      Besides, it's a WMP plugin. I don't expect to see Linux support.

      For Microsoft, lack of Linux support is a bonus. If they can look like they're improving interoperability while actually harming it, that's great for them. I suspect that any web developers that adopt the video element this early are aware of all of these issues, and are either offering multiple formats or a flash-based fallback.

    • by node 3 (115640)

      H.264 has no "patent issues". You want to use it, under certain circumstance, you pay to use it, just like countless other things you pay for. There's no "issues" here for 99+% of the people out there.

      The effects of the H.264 patents are minimal, and easily addressed. It's disingenuous to act like this is some major problem.

  • Hard to argue with that, surely. I'm very far from a Microsoft fan, but credit where it is due.
    • by sxeraverx (962068)

      You're confusing choice on the part of comely producers with choice on the part of consumers. It would be amazing if all content were available I'n every conceivable format, but it's not. Providing a patent-encumbered codec that works on only one platform will lead to the situation we had with the ActiveX debacle.

    • Re:Choice is good (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Simon80 (874052) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:36PM (#35188046)

      I see lots of people saying this, but it's not true. This is designed to indirectly combat choice. Not the choice of what codec to use on the client side, but the choice of accessing the web from completely unencumbered operating systems, with no flash and no patented codecs, or from mobile devices that don't have flash support, or whose manufacturers haven't paid to include the H.264 codec on the device. This is the kind of choice that matters: people on the client side don't care about choosing what codec is used, they care about choosing the devices or operating systems they want to use. A codec that is free from patent royalties is easier to support in free operating systems, browsers, and in mobile devices, where the OS is included out of the box, and the device maker would otherwise need to pay royalties.

      Microsoft can still claim to be supporting choice, because they're helping web developers have the choice to use a patent encumbered codec. The use of this codec helps reduce consumer choice in what devices and operating systems they can use.

      What is each company's interest in supporting either side? Microsoft recognizes that anything that is good for alternative operating systems and devices is bad for their Windows monopoly, which is why they are pro-H.264. I'm not sure what Apple's motivation is, but maybe it's similarly because all of their devices and software support H.264, and they want to retain a competitive advantage, however small. Google wants the web to be an open standard, because it's what their applications use, and Mozilla can't properly support H.264 without compromising their attempt to offer a free web browser that works just as well on every platform they support.

      • What is each company's interest in supporting either side? Microsoft recognizes that anything that is good for alternative operating systems and devices is bad for their Windows monopoly, which is why they are pro-H.264. I'm not sure what Apple's motivation is, but maybe it's similarly because all of their devices and software support H.264, and they want to retain a competitive advantage, however small.

        No, Microsoft is pro-H.264 because H.264 is the standard for video compression. It's an ISO standard. It is the dominant codec for DVD and Blu-Ray discs, for satellite TV, for broadcast TV, for cable TV, and for commercial streaming services. It is supported by pretty much all professional and prosumer video hardware and software, and a very large number of consumer devices that deal with video (portable players and gaming consoles).

        Note that Microsoft is also supporting WebM in IE9. Microsoft doesn't care

  • by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@NOSPAM.xmsnet.nl> on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:47PM (#35187716)

    I want a plugin that intercepts HTML5 or Flash video and opens it in VLC instead of the browser window.

    For Flash video, this means it'll get played in by a player that performs decently (instead of the crappy Flash video we get in OSX browsers). And it means I get a decent UI to control playback, with real controls that listen to keyboard input and whose preferences can be modified, instead of the pathetic mouse-only 'controls' offered by Flash video code.

  • Analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:50PM (#35187742) Homepage

    It looks like it's just a NSAPI plugin, with a content script that converts video tags to object tags for all mp4, wmv, mp4v, and m4v files, and uses Windows Media Player to handle them. It's a bit of a misnomer to say it's HTML5; basically it converts the HTML5 back to HTML4.

    The best part is that it looks like the plugin can be invoked manually through an object tag, no video tag required. Now all three browsers (IE, Firefox w/a Microsoft addon, Chrome) can have WMP invoked at will, unsandboxed (Plugins aren't sandboxed by Chrome since most wouldn't work correctly, the one exception being a modified Flash). Great.

    • Oh yeah addendum: It's not hosted on the Chrome Web Store, probably because it uses a plugin. Extensions using plugins have to undergo manual review to ensure they don't have gaping security holes, and THIS plugin launches WMP, which is perhaps too large a code base to test thoroughly for that kind of thing (if Google would even want to). Microsoft probably didn't want to risk extension rejection by Google, I think.
      • Addendum addendum: I just remembered there are third-party IE-engine plugins, but web pages cannot use the plugin component, only the extension can invoke it (when the user presses the "IE engine" button, an extension page is opened which invokes the plugin). This WMP plugin can be invoked at will by web pages.
  • Gotta love it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:13PM (#35187888)
    I love how with some people, everything MS does has to be bad, no matter what. Give users more choice? Booo!!!!

    This is a good thing. Choice is good. This doesn't render html5 as useless, as it just gives their users more choice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 0123456 (636235)

      I love how with some people, everything MS does has to be bad, no matter what. Give users more choice? Booo!!!!

      Users don't care whether the video is H.264, they just want to play it. Web sites put up video in a format that users want to play.

      If Windows users can play H.264 in their web browser and Linux users can't because it's patented to hell, then this clearly has the intentional or unintentional side-effect of encouraging web sites to use a format which Linux users can't view.

      I mean, seriously: why do you think that Microsoft would be releasing 'improvements' to other browsers out of kindness?

      • Re:Gotta love it. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Beelzebud (1361137) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:32PM (#35188010)
        If you can't watch h.264 on your Linux box, you're doing it wrong. Linux users don't need their hand held. Not everything is a nefarious plot to bring down the 1% of desktops that use Linux...
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by 0123456 (636235)

          If you can't watch h.264 on your Linux box, you're doing it wrong

          I can play H.264. I can't play H.264 in Firefox with HTML5 tags, because Firefox doesn't support it due to patent concerns.

          Which part of 'play H.264 in your web browser' is proving so hard for you to understand?

          • by theurge14 (820596)

            Does Firefox plan on having support for 'patent encumbered' JPEG as well?

          • I can play H.264. I can't play H.264 in Firefox with HTML5 tags, because Firefox doesn't support it due to patent concerns.

            Again, that's a limitation imposed by Mozilla (and the Chromium people). There is no reason they couldn't provide a fallback HTML5 video handler which piggy-backs off of system libraries that virtually all users of "desktop Linux" have already installed (i.e. ffmpeg). Such a mechanism is smart software engineering, and it would give the users the ability to decide which codecs they might want to use.

            In other words, if you can't play h.264 in your browser on desktop Linux, your platform (including your

          • by jo_ham (604554)

            It's not Microsoft's fault that your browser is intentionally not supporting H.264, for whatever reason it chooses to do so.

            Perhaps they should drop jpeg support too, since that is also "patent encumbered".

          • If you can't watch h.264 on your Linux box, you're doing it wrong

            I can play H.264. I can't play H.264 in Firefox with HTML5 tags, because Firefox doesn't support it due to patent concerns.

            Which part of 'play H.264 in your web browser' is proving so hard for you to understand?

            H.264 video works fine on Linux in Firefox, via Flash. You didn't say anything in the post Beelzebud was responding to about HTML5 tags.

            Firefox could use Flash to implement the HTML5 video tag, thus gaining H.264 support without patent worries. Or they could use gstreamer or something similar, and play whatever video formats the user has installed codecs for, again without patent worries. Or they could include an H.264 codec themselves but as an optional download, available only in countries where H.264 is

        • by pavon (30274)

          I prefer not to break the law to watch videos online, nor support a codec that requires those websites to pay to encode it.

        • by Draek (916851)

          I agree living in the US is already doing it wrong, for the most part, but some people have families there and may not want to abandon them just to move to a country with saner patent laws.

          Or what, did you forget that h.264 is patented to hell and back and that just because an implementation is open source it isn't free of that?

        • You claim that those who can't watch h.264 video under linux "are doing it wrong" but yet you failed to say exactly how linux users can watch h.264 video on linux and how they can do it in a free way, both in beer and in speech. Claiming that Microsoft enabling some other program to be dependent on a piece of Microsoft technology which is only distributed in Microsoft's latest product is somehow good for everyone is disingenuous or terribly naive.

        • by trawg (308495)

          If you /can/ watch h264 on your Linux box, chances are you're doing it "wrong", at least from the perspective of the software patent holders that want to charge you for the privilege to do so. This is what the h264/vp8 fight is about.

          This move from Microsoft is super-clever - it looks like they're bringing more choice to the table. But the reality is they're just further entrenching h264, because it's in their interests to do so - they can happily afford any patent licensing costs (oh, and they're one of th

      • Re:Gotta love it. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @03:45PM (#35188100) Journal

        I mean, seriously: do you think that Google has released 'WebM' out of kindness?

      • Linux users can't because it's patented to hell

        Linux can do it's open source, free software, "so free you can give it away for free" crap all you want buddy, no one is stopping it. However, I'm not hearing the reasoning for making everything else in the world revolve around THAT mentality. At what point in time did free software community shift from "nobody else will do this, so I'll make a free replacement" to "stuff I have to pay for is evil"?
        The whole viral $free aspect of Free Software is really, really starting to piss people off. You cannot den

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          My thoughts exactly. It is the height of arrogance and selfishness to demand that others be limited by your own choices.

          What justification is there for limiting web standards to things which are FOSS/GPL-compatible? Thats basically exactly what many are demanding we do.. limit the web standards because of GPL concerns. As if GPL was so god damned important that everyone must limit themselves to it... what the fuck...

          Meanwhile a year or two from now a codec better than either H.264 or VP8 will be availab
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @04:54PM (#35188576)

    Google is behaving like any other company. Do you really think they've dropped h.264 because they love open formats? No, it's a strategic move with the ultimate goal of making more money - either through search, through monetizing your personal data, or both.

    If they were being altruistic, they'd have dropped Flash support and mp3 support at the same time. Heck, to really be pure they'd need to drop gif and jpeg as well. No, they dropped h.264 because right now their browser is trending upward, and they see a way to grab an edge versus both Apple and Microsoft.

    • What you say is true as far as it goes ... it's a strategic move that, if it pans out the way I'm sure they're hoping, WILL increase their profits. But you're missing that they've made a choice in basic company business plan - that their business plan is to benefit when computing advances in capability, and individual users are empowered to do more and create more with it. MS, Apple, etc. have business plans that really work best if they monopolize a whole segment of the computing market, and suppress inno
    • by horza (87255)

      The patents on GIF ran out a long time ago, and JPEG isn't patented as far as I know. The HTML5 video is a move towards dropping Flash, and none of the browsers support MP3 internally afaik.

      They dropped h.264 much as every single other browser has, except IE who is a h.264 patent holder. The web may be relatively open but putting a toll on all video would put the brakes on that side of things. This is where the interests of Google and the consumer align, so if we get a better deal and they make more money

    • Plus as Google has acquired VP8 and WebM, the concept of them being 'open' is a bit misleading. Sure the code may be released, but any changes to the code will be irrelevant, as Google will decide and define all aspects of what is their 'standard'.

      Thus any innovation and future compatibilty will be all what Google wants.

      Sadly, if people do move to VP8 and WebM, Google will have a lot of power, and when they put in tracking and monitoring of video and data collection that goes directly back to them, there i

  • In an effort to support reuse, my comments are an instantiation of the same discussion we had about this topic two weeks ago. You can download them at the following link: http://slashdot.org/story/11/02/02/175227/Microsoft-Makes-Chrome-Play-H264-Video [slashdot.org]

Given its constituency, the only thing I expect to be "open" about [the Open Software Foundation] is its mouth. -- John Gilmore

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