The real reason Apple and Microsoft are embracing 'HTML5'

By crisp on Monday 03 May 2010 01:43 - Comments (32)
Categories: Browsers, Internet, Views: 24.973

Just the other day Microsoft has chimed in with Apple in its fight against Adobe's Flash calling it 'proprietary' and 'not-open' and pushing forward 'HTML5' as the technology of the future. Both posts seem to focus on video on the web and it is striking that they both mention H.264 as the codec of choice, a codec that is neither free nor open and has little to do with HTML5 itself.

First of all I find the use of the term 'HTML5' in both posts confusing and that seems to be a general issue when it comes to media coverage on new web technologies. Everybody is using this term, but no-one cares to explain what they actually mean by it. Reading news stories mentioning 'HTML5' I get the feeling that everybody is attributing much more to it than just the specification that is aiming to replace HTML4 as the mark-up language for the web. In other words: it has become a term for all 'new' web technologies, even those that have nothing to do with the HTML5 spec-to-be like SVG, CSS3 and new DOM api's.

Especially when you position 'HTML5' against Flash the first things that come to my mind are vector graphics and animations. Ironically, although the <canvas>-element is defined in HTML5, its API is a separate specification and SVG is not really a new technology but one that already has been a recommendation for over 7 years. Both also require scripting which is in the realm of JavaScript and CSS animations and transitions are in the realm of CSS and not HTML.

Microsoft doesn't even mention <canvas> in its blog post, so even though they claim to be 'deeply engaged' in HTML5 it remains to be seen what that exactly means; they haven't been very forthcoming in that department in the past and so far have only been cherry-picking and implementing its own versions of several parts without much participation or consultation beforehand in the W3C HTML Working Group.

Whereas Steve Jobs takes a little more time to get to the real point in his 'Thoughts on Flash' Microsoft doesn't beat around the bush in making clear that it's not really about Flash per-s but about video, and not <video> as defined by HTML5 but H.264 as the codec of choice.

Now <video> in the HTML5 specification has some history. It was included to provide a means of native video-playing ability without the need for plug-ins. In order to have a baseline codec defined for all browsers implementing this element Ogg Theora was put forward since this codec is open in its true meaning and (so far) doesn't have any real patent-issues. Even though it may not be the best codec available, it does fit perfectly in a specification that itself is also open and endorses an open web.

Unfortunately not all browser vendors were willing to implement Ogg Theora citing different reasons, and thus the requirement of a baseline codec (and Ogg Theora in particular) was removed from the specification. This actually leaves the specification somewhat crippled because it doesn't fulfil the actual goal for which it was included in the specification in the first place.

And now the codec-war has really begun with both Apple and Microsoft pushing hard for H.264 and trying to mask it with their 'engagement in HTML5' and 'aiming for an Open web', both of which have nothing to do with this, especially not when H.264 comes into play. When Hugo Roy of the Free Software Foundation Europe reminds Steve Jobs of what 'Open' means the response of Steve leaves no question on what it essentially is all about:
All video codecs are covered by patents. A patent pool is being assembled to go after Theora and other “open source” codecs now. Unfortunately, just because something is open source, it doesn’t mean or guarantee that it doesn’t infringe on others patents. An open standard is different from being royalty free or open source.
So 'Open' in Apple terms just means that the specification of some technology is available to everyone. This contradicts Steve's claim about Adobe's Flash not being 'Open' - Flash is an 'open standard' (by Steve's definition) after all...

But more importantly this response from Steve, combined with the statement from Microsoft in their blog post:
Other codecs often come up in these discussions. The distinction between the availability of source code and the ownership of the intellectual property in that available source code is critical. Today, intellectual property rights for H.264 are broadly available through a well-defined program managed by MPEG LA. The rights to other codecs are often less clear, as has been described in the press. Of course, developers can rely on the H.264 codec and hardware acceleration support of the underlying operating system, like Windows 7, without paying any additional royalty.
paints the whole picture: Apple and Microsoft are after dominance when it comes to video on the web through their mutual contributions to the patent-pool of MPEG-LA that covers the H.264 codec.

Indeed the 'rights to other codecs' may be less clear, but that is something that is (still) not proven yet and may be equally applicable to H.264 itself. Even then it is a question if some applicable patents aren't overly broad, too obvious or with 'prior art' that may invalidate them. All of this has to be determined and will probably take many years.

If Microsoft and Apple are going to pursue this through MPEG-LA there may be many victims; already many people and websites are in violation of MPEG-LA's licence agreements. For instance most encoders come with a licence that's for non-commercial use only (contrary to Microsoft's statement that developers can use it without having to pay additional royalties). Using an encoder such as x264 used f.i. in FFmpeg and VLC media player puts you in a liable position outright since it's a non-licensed encoder. Also, even though the broadcast license for H.264-encoded video is royalty-free until 2015, this only applies to non-commercial use. Adding ads to a video-stream, or even showing an H.264-encoded video from a page that contains ads may put you in a liable position. Even most 'professional' camera's that use H.264-encoding have a 'non-commercial-use' license.

This puts the whole chain of video-creation, broadcasting and viewing in a web-browser (or on any device) under the whims and control of MPEG-LA which makes it a threat to our Civilization's Video Art and Culture.

All in all these moves from both Microsoft and Apple have nothing to do with 'embracing HTML5' or 'being Open' - they want to kill Flash Video and push H.264 as a 'native' codec for their own gain. The 'Open web' will only suffer from this with everyone paying a steep price in the end.

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Comments


By Grey, Monday 03 May 2010 07:32

Having subscribed to the IEBlog following the IE9 preview, I noticed their post on video codecs almost as soon as it got posted.

I was so close - so close - to get into the really nasty stuff and point out how their whole post is bullshit and lying to their customers and the world at large and about how the manager is an unbelievable suckup and believe me - much, much worse things.

However, I believe that pointing out their evilness in a polite form, like you did, is the right way. So thank you for saving me the time and patience I don't have.

By Tweakers user RoadRunner84, Monday 03 May 2010 09:02

Wow, great article!

I didn't see that the ultimate drive for Apple/Microsoft for being "pro-HTML5" is their chance to push FLV embeds out of scope to push their own H.264 proprietary implementations.
I don't understand why W3C dropped Theora from their specs just because these parties are unwilling to implement. Microsoft has a long history of incompatibilities with the HTML standards, why is the consortium now bending to MS's will?

On the other hand, as you said many websites, companies and individuals are violating MPEG licences by using H.264 as their codec for published movie sniplets. You think the MPEG group will let it thrive and strike when there's no way of turning back for users? That would be straightout evil, and probably not allowed by civil rights organisations.
It's probably not possible to implement H.264 encoders without breaking the MPEG licences, but LAME and others where also breaking MPEG licences by implementing MP3 encoders without paying royalties, won't the same scenario enroll in the case of H.264?

By Tweakers user Pixeltje, Monday 03 May 2010 09:19

That's some nice comment you wrote there. I think using and implementing the H.264 codec on the web, even though the MPEG LA finds it's against their policies, will continue and it will do so fast.

When Microsoft and Apple declare war to flash, and they both adopt 'HTML 5' (Whatever they really understand and mean by using this term) and the H.264 codec for video playback on the web, chances are that most of the content suppliers will follow. Windows and Mac OSX are two of the operating systems most common today and therefore their users are the most important target-group for websites. When those operating systems or the browsers supplied with them do not support flash, websites will lose visitors and therefore money (made by advertisements).

In order to prevent loss of income and visitors websites will use the same standards as their visitors operating systems and web browsers. Whether this is 'fair' or not, it is the way all marketing principles work; Supply and demand.

By Tweakers user Silent7, Monday 03 May 2010 09:30

So annoying to see that MS/Apple (the two hands on one belly hopefully more people start to see this instead of thinking about Apple as a alternative) still waving vague claims about Open Source breaking patents, they are doing this for years now, never specified. But as a compagny you get the message, "steer clear of Open Source if you use it and we want to we can ruin you", and looking around me M$/Appe are getting away with it.

By Tweakers user YopY, Monday 03 May 2010 09:34

Grey wrote on Monday 03 May 2010 @ 07:32:
I was so close - so close - to get into the really nasty stuff and point out how their whole post is bullshit and lying to their customers and the world at large and about how the manager is an unbelievable suckup and believe me - much, much worse things.
Shame that abrasive remarks like that would most likely be disregarded and, depending on the website, even be removed altogether. In the best case, it wouldn't be taken seriously.

Internets politics, serious business.


In all fairness though, Microsoft and Apple do have a point. Based on past experiences with 'open' software and patents, I can imagine they want to be careful about such things. If both of them implemented OGG or some other 'open' technology (or possibly-soon-to-be-open technology like VP8), they would risk some company to come up and sue them for dozens, if not hundreds of millions for patent infringement. Worse, this would most likely occur in ten years, when the codec has become so commonplace that almost every browser vendor would use it, and they'd all get sued at once.

It's happened before. Using H.264 is the safe bet, as the vendors know which party owns the rights and who they have to pay the licenses to. This however is not possible for the open source browsers that don't have a big financial backing - and I can only think of Firefox in this case, IE, Safari and Chrome all have massive companies backing them, and since Google's all going to back Chrome up, I fear the worst for Firefox and video support.

If both Microsoft and Apple will only support H.264, then the other browsers will have little choice. Google could promote their own codecs (VP8 or OGG) and, resultingly, its own browser (and Firefox as well) to play videos from YouTube, however I believe that it's more likely they'll either going to switch to H.264 for their videos, offer two formats, or keep the Flash player for a while longer depending on the user's browser or its capabilities.

I doubt the browser manufacturers will get to support a single codec, so I fear that, for the lifespan of the HTML 5 specification - which I'm sure will be ten years or more -, we'll get codec wars and video player wars, with the video sites being the center of it all. One video site will offer their videos in a number of codecs depending on the user's browser, the other will flat-out refuse to offer anything but one specific codec (and flip the bird to users with a browser that does not support this) (and, most likely, see their statistics plummet), but I think most of them will offer both an embedded video tag and an external Flash player for their videos.

Because even if the next version of the major browsers support the video tag, with one codec or the other, it'll still take many years before the percentage of users with an incompatible browser will diminish to a percentage where the (video) site owners will go 'screw you goan update nub'. Of course, this is less of an issue than five years ago, seeing that most browsers have an auto update feature now. IE6 is still quite prevalent though.

By Tweakers user BreezahBoy, Monday 03 May 2010 09:48

i disagree when you say h.264 is not an open standard. h.264 is an open standard developed by multiple independent organisations cooperating in a iso standards body. every organisation has equal access to the standard thus resulting in a level playing field. as a result a viable h.264 market has emerged with lots of competing solutions both implemented in software, hardware and distributionmedia.

for the same reasons i state above i disagree when you say adobe flash is an open standard. it is proprietary.

when you say flash is an open standard and h.264 is not an open standard i think you might have difficulty grasping the concept of open standards. i think you are mixing up the socalled free-as-in-speech with open. that is: mixing up free of the free software foundation activists with open standards as a cornerstone of engineering practice.

h.264 is an open standard not a free standard.
adobe flash is a proprietary standard.

so when you depart with this false premisses i think your reasoning why apple and microsoft are using html5 is not correct. still, you might have stumbled upon the 'real reason why apple and microsoft are embracing html5'; even a broken clock shows the right time twice a day...

By Tweakers user crisp, Monday 03 May 2010 09:53

@BreezahBoy: If you take the definition of the FSFE of 'Open Standards' you'll see that both Flash and h.264 are not 'open' in that sense (even though the specifications of both technologies are publicly available).

In my opinion webtechnologie should be freely available (yes, as in 'beer'), else it will restrict and hinder our civilization's culture and way of expression. Now we see that some companies are pushing one 'proprietary' technologie to replace another and they're using HTML5 as an excuse.

About Flash I was saying that it is not more or less open than h.264. I was using Steve's definition of 'open' when pointing to the 'open standard' of Flash. I have clarified that in my post.

[Comment edited on Monday 03 May 2010 10:21]


By Tweakers user Punkie, Monday 03 May 2010 10:19

Well written, its always a joy to read your pieces. References and citations everywhere. This is the difference between a personal rant and an observation of reality (contradictio in terminis intended).

I agree with YopY. It looks like the best bet for them. However, as crisp pointed out, that doesnt mean they can lie in their PRpress releases.

@BreezahBoy: could you elaborate? Right now it still vague and several statements are put without anything supporting it.

By Tweakers user RoadRunner84, Monday 03 May 2010 10:28

Wouldn't it be possible, for OGG for example, to publish their specification in court or something? Scenario:
OGG publishes Theora to a patent court, which publishes the full inner workings of Theora via an openly readable medium.
The court states that any company that claims pattent issues should claim this to the court within a certain period of time (e.g. half a year).
All pattent issues are resolved:
- modification of implementation to not use the patent (the implementation must be reissued to the court).
- licencing is agreed upon by the parties.
- the implementation is dropped.
Then, after the period is done, when no claims are made, the patent court marks the implementation as immune.
Any claims about patent infringement made thereafter are denied per default.

This way a company cannot "lure" until the implementation is widespread and then claim their infringement. This tactic is on the edge of criminal and should not be possible in any way.

By Tweakers user Sgreehder, Monday 03 May 2010 11:16

So, companies gaining profit by licensing? Big deal; they can self regulate for now, after that all bets are off. What's the big deal anyway, H.264's quality seems to be quite fantastic. Theora may be 'open', it's quality is reasonable and it's legal status and actual adoption rate are questionable at best; plenty of reasons to hold off on it. An alternative isn't really an alternative without it being an alternative, now is it? ;)

By Tweakers user Blokker_1999, Monday 03 May 2010 11:44

If both Microsoft and Apple will only support H.264, then the other browsers will have little choice.
I disagree. Youtube holds the key imho. it is by far the biggest video site and can swing the outcome either way. And Youtube is a subsidiary from Google. Google is releasing the VP8 codec as open source for a reason. Not just because the FSF is asking for it.

I also beleive that the chance this codec is violating other IP is small since VP8 isn't a new codec and on2 was never sued for it.

Furthermore, the W3C could decide to use the VP8 codec in the final html5 specs. The initial drafts already stated that the OGG Theora codec had to be used. The current drafts are talking about an open and royalty free codec, something H.264 is not.

By Tweakers user curry684, Monday 03 May 2010 11:52

I think you're missing the point completely. Fuck h264, it's about freaking time someone in the browser world made a definitive choice about the codecs, and realistically everyone knew it was going to be h264 anyway - and why bitch and moan about it since it's also technically by far the best one. The licensing will sort itself out and as you point our yourself Ogg Theora is more risky because we don't know the patent issues involved yet. So big deal, be glad a decision in this area was forced instead of 10 more years of the vague bullshit we're used to from W3C and co.

The real issue is that Microsoft isn't saying anything strange. They're saying Flash is an outdated technology which is going to be replaced over several years as HTML5 becomes popular. Canvas is part of the HTML5 spec so you're nitpicking by saying a lot of supportive technologies are also needed - obviously that's what they mean and the only way Joe Public can understand it. Microsoft is imho taking a healthy position in firmly choosing to support the upcoming technologies for dynamic web applications. That's why Microsoft states they'll phase out Flash over the next few years.

How different from Apple, where Jobs is outright lying to make an absolutely invalid point, being that Flash is obsolete today because of HTML5 (and related technologies). That's not even true for the current or upcoming versions of their own browser Safari, so simply an invalid point in an Internet Explorer ruled world of supported technology. It will take 5 years (at least!) before HTML5 (and related technologies) are a valid excuse for dropping Flash support. Apple and Jobs are breaking the web with a very simple reason: because they want the web to be less interactive for the next few years. His blogpost even tells us why:

"200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store prove that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games."

What he really means: "200,000 apps on Apple App Store are now making me rich because we get a 30% cut of all sales, and supporting Flash would enable people to get most of these graphically rich games and apps for free online. Thankfully HTML5 isn't used anywhere yet so let's use it as an excuse to win my personal pissing contest with Adobe and ensure our billions of profits for several more years."

Billions of app store profit are the real wtf, not finally making an overdue decision about fixing an, in your own words, crippled specification.

By robin, Monday 03 May 2010 14:01

to the author:

i think you're confused about what open and free means. h.264 *IS* open. mpeg-4 *IS* open. mpeg-2 *IS* open. the documentation for the h.264 video format, just as for all the other mpeg "technologies", is wide-open, freely available to anyone to use and to implement as they see fit, for no cost.

let me repeat that so you understand: h.264 IS OPEN. it's just not FREE OF COST when it comes to dealing with the end result; dealing with the h.264 video product itself.

By Punit Pandey, Monday 03 May 2010 14:06

Politics aside, with HTML, I can do all my vector drawing and animation in HTML in all popular browser. It was a big problem for a long time.

Video, as you mentioned, still seems to be the area of concern but I am sure eventually it will be market driven whether some company backs it or not. Let us wait and see what market has to decide.

By Tweakers user Trinsec, Monday 03 May 2010 14:08

A correction (or rather several):

it's = it is
its = possessive of it

Just saying because your article is interesting to read but those errors stick out like a sore thumb.

By Tweakers user crisp, Monday 03 May 2010 14:21

robin wrote on Monday 03 May 2010 @ 14:01:
[...]
let me repeat that so you understand: h.264 IS OPEN. it's just not FREE OF COST when it comes to dealing with the end result; dealing with the h.264 video product itself.
Public availability of the documentation doesn't mean that the technology can be considered an 'open standard' as per the definition of the FSFE.
Trinsec wrote on Monday 03 May 2010 @ 14:08:
A correction (or rather several):

it's = it is
its = possessive of it

Just saying because your article is interesting to read but those errors stick out like a sore thumb.
Thanks, I corrected those and will pay more attention in the future :)

By Tweakers user dB90, Monday 03 May 2010 14:40

See crisp, this why we need a tweet this/share this button on the tweakblogs :P I wan't other people to read this! Now I have to do that manually and I'm lazy 8)7 Great read though!

By Peter, Monday 03 May 2010 14:41

Another correction for you: seperate -> separate :)

And to those blindly commenting about h.264 being "open," please note that the author has stated multiple times that the definition of "open" for this article comes from http://fsfe.org/projects/os/def.en.html.

@curry684: Genuinely curious: do you have any evidence to back up the claim that H.264 is "technically by far the best"? I don't see it that here: http://people.xiph.org/~greg/video/ytcompare/comparison.html. Granted it's from Xiph, but the methods are clearly spelled out, original data provided, and AFAIK no one has claimed the results are fabricated.

By Tweakers user curry684, Monday 03 May 2010 15:42

@curry684: Genuinely curious: do you have any evidence to back up the claim that H.264 is "technically by far the best"? I don't see it that here: http://people.xiph.org/~greg/video/ytcompare/comparison.html. Granted it's from Xiph, but the methods are clearly spelled out, original data provided, and AFAIK no one has claimed the results are fabricated.
That's an extremely singleminded en singlesided test - Youtube has so much bandwidth and storage at its disposal that it's well known to use ample amounts of both, and the true test of a video compressor is in its compression. Ogg can stand up to h264 if you're just trying to compress high quality video+audio and compression level isn't a concern. Once you start trimming down the differences start showing better. Even Ogg's creators have publicly admitted that their codec doesn't shine at heavier compression levels.

Recent and very professional comparison: http://keyj.s2000.ws/?p=356
Slightly older but bigger media: http://arstechnica.com/op...d-to-head-comparisons.ars

Key quote:
In the videos and still images that he provides for comparison purposes, the h264 content has better color quality and higher detail than the Ogg Theora content. Comparing 468 kbps clips, one can detect a very noticeable difference in quality between the two codecs. Even the 1mbps Ogg Theora clips are not on par with the 468 kbps h264 clips. Based on the results, Ozer concludes that h264 will have the upper hand in many Internet streaming scenarios.

"These tests are very aggressive, but purposefully so—at very high data rates, all codecs look good. In particular, YouTube encodes their H.264 video at 2mbps, about 2.5X higher than my tests. So my conclusion isn't that Ogg is a bad codec; it's that producers seeking the optimal balance between data rate and quality will find H.264 superior," he wrote.

By rick, Monday 03 May 2010 18:41

How does Ogg Theora compare with h.264? I've been thoroughly impressed with h.264 because of the lack of problems, the small file size and compatibility across different systems.


http://arstechnica.com/op...d-to-head-comparisons.ars

I'd pick a codec based on speed of transmission, data-rate, hardware support and filesize. It looks like h.264 wins on most of those.

By Tweakers user sanderev66, Monday 03 May 2010 21:57

Also Google is on the h.264 camp. It's like HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray.

By Tweakers user Kale Kiwi, Tuesday 04 May 2010 00:54

Can someone explain me why it isn't possible for a browser to implement both h.264 and Ogg Theora? Or at least why none of the browsers is planning on doing this? :)

By Tweakers user curry684, Tuesday 04 May 2010 01:37

The Yorick wrote on Tuesday 04 May 2010 @ 00:54:
Can someone explain me why it isn't possible for a browser to implement both h.264 and Ogg Theora? Or at least why none of the browsers is planning on doing this? :)
Why would they? What's the point of standardization if it doesn't make choices? The whole idea is that it won't be required to implement several different standards.

Also, it's hard enough to pick one standard that everyone must implement, now you suggest they pick two? It's not as if the race has already been run to the point that there are only 2 finalists, theoretically stuff like VP8 and Dirac are also still in the game.

By Tweakers user BARTdG, Tuesday 04 May 2010 10:46

Nice article, Crisp. I like the way you break down the confusing use of ‘HTML5’ by both Apple and Microsoft. It’s become just another word for anything that’s sort of new on the web. Do you remember the time people called anything slightly interactive ‘ajax’?
HTML5 is the continuation of Web 2.0 by other means, just as Web 2.0 was the continuation of DHTML. Apparently we need a vague, all-encompassing term for cool new stuff that we want browsers to support and clients to buy so we can play with it.
as PPK put it. That’s why he proposed 'HTML5 apps’ as a better buzzword for pushing W3C widgets. Quite understandable, from a marketing point of view, but sadly adding to the confusion about ‘HTML5’.

So how is ‘HTML5’ going to replace Flash, in Steve Jobs’ opinion? First, playing video on the web.

I really don’t know enough about the quality of different codecs and the problems that may arise with H.264, so I won’t comment of that. But I quite understand that it’s better to drop the requirement of a baseline codec from the HTML5 spec, than to pick a codec two big vendors aren’t going to implement anyway. This would only weaken the status of the spec, I believe.

But Flash isn’t just video.

With CSS3, <canvas>, SVG etc. (‘HTML5’) we can do a lot of ‘rich’ things in websites, which are traditionally done with Flash. Think Really Cool Menus, ads, interactive graphs, widgets, etc. Why should Apple need to implement Flash on the iPhone, if similar things can be achieved with true open standards? Webkit/Safari is great in supporting those and I hope IE9 will follow in this respect.

Yes, the video argument is one reason Apple wants to kill Flash (and you’re probably right in your concerns about that). But it’s not the only reason. Anyone who cares about the ‘new’ stuff the vague buzzword ‘HTML5’ encompasses, should be glad that with any luck Flash is going to die.

By Tweakers user Punkie, Tuesday 04 May 2010 11:12

curry684 wrote on Monday 03 May 2010 @ 11:52:
I think you're missing the point completely.
[...]
He didnt even took a stance in the debate what the best codec is. So he cant be missing the point in that discussion.
What he IS writing about are the consequences of that choice, and the gaps in information and disinformation they are spreading.
curry684 wrote on Monday 03 May 2010 @ 11:52:
The real issue is that Microsoft isn't saying anything strange.
[...]
Popularisation doesn't necessary mean the information has to be erroneous or manipulative or ment to cover up.
curry684 wrote on Monday 03 May 2010 @ 11:52:
[...]: because they want the web to be less interactive for the next few years. [...]
There are a lot of stakeholders that want to access flash, a lot more then apple can stand up against. Thus they wont succeed. Therefore i doubt that is an argument.
curry684 wrote on Tuesday 04 May 2010 @ 01:37:
[...]

Why would they? What's the point of standardization if it doesn't make choices? The whole idea is that it won't be required to implement several different standards.
But why standardize it in the first place? Is it really necessary for a HTML standard to define something related to video?
The are pros and cons of course but I cant see why the pros should win.
Pro: reuse, implement it once and sell it to all browsers. heck, make it open source and free to use and the cost will be the lowest possible.
Con: that pro aint gonna happen. despite one codec specification you can still have several implementations. If you test a browser you do it together with an implementation not a specification. It thus wont be cheaper for bowser developers.
Con: its more difficult to react to changes if you have a standard to break. Changing the standard is also very expensive.
Con: it stiffens competition and innovation.
...

By medlaw, Tuesday 04 May 2010 16:38

Pixeltje wrote on Monday 03 May 2010 @ 09:19:
That's some nice comment you wrote there. I think using and implementing the H.264 codec on the web, even though the MPEG LA finds it's against their policies, will continue and it will do so fast.

When Microsoft and Apple declare war to flash, and they both adopt 'HTML 5' (Whatever they really understand and mean by using this term) and the H.264 codec for video playback on the web, chances are that most of the content suppliers will follow. Windows and Mac OSX are two of the operating systems most common today and therefore their users are the most important target-group for websites. When those operating systems or the browsers supplied with them do not support flash, websites will lose visitors and therefore money (made by advertisements).

In order to prevent loss of income and visitors websites will use the same standards as their visitors operating systems and web browsers. Whether this is 'fair' or not, it is the way all marketing principles work; Supply and demand.
Regardless of what standard Microsoft and Apple adopt for their web browsers, they will never get away with outlawing Flash plugins based on antitrust issues. So far Apple has succeeded in banning flash plugins from the iPhone only. I can't see that ban extending to their web browsers in general.

The question then comes down to whether the market power of iPhone and it's flash ban is sufficient enough to stampede developers away from flash? It may be. I can't see anyone in 2010 building an all flash website.

By Jhonghee Park, Tuesday 04 May 2010 16:38

looks like Apple/M$ are pursuing carthaginian wars against Adobe.

"Furthermore, I think that Carthage must be destroyed" (Replace Carthage with Adobe)

The punic wars started 264 BC seems to be pretty amazing coincidence. Don't you think? :)

By Turbo, Wednesday 05 May 2010 06:24

Sorry folks. You are clueless. The real reason for this battle is DRM.

By iDarbert, Wednesday 05 May 2010 15:26

Let's assume for a moment that Adobe wouldn't mind if someone implemented Flash on their browser using Adobe's SWF specifications.
But would it do any good? What is the point of implementing the whole SWF format if you are only interested in video? Wouldn't it be easier to just implement video decoding?
Flash may be an open standard, but is it worth to adopt as far as video is concerned?

I also fail to understand how the open web will suffer from being able to play videos without a third party plugin that doesn't exactly perform well unless video acceleration is available, which isn't always true.
Unless the "open" in open web actually refers to "the web as seen by the FSF", in that case I understand their concerns with H.264 and also agree with some of them, but I fail to see how using H.264 in the <video> tag is worse than using it inside a Flash container.

By Tweakers user jessewillem, Wednesday 05 May 2010 18:43

Everybody knows that large companies got more influence on this kind of things.

But I hope Ogg Theora wins this battle as standard codec. Because a open web has to be open. And Ogg is that. And H.264 isn't. But have the webbrowser vendors to pay for that codec(h.264)?

By Tweakers user alt-92, Friday 07 May 2010 07:57

Turbo wrote on Wednesday 05 May 2010 @ 06:24:
Sorry folks. You are clueless. The real reason for this battle is DRM.
Funny, I was sort of thinking the same thing.
Let's see. What would be a reason for MS to take Flash out of the equation? Silverlight?
The enemy of my enemy is a friend ?

By Tweakers user analog_, Monday 17 May 2010 03:32

Why is it so important we pick one codec. Why not several with , say a minimum requirement to support at least certain codecs. I don't get the fact why we are deliberately betting on one horse. This in-flexibility could hinder in the future. I'm also pretty sure one big company could buy/acquire the patents and decide to set a new policy. Why doesn't MS/Apple buy H.264 and release it. Everyone happy: their technology of choice and everyone using it.

[Comment edited on Monday 17 May 2010 03:34]


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