Google and Nokia Reopen the Video Format Wars
For anyone who thought the online video format and codec wars were over, and that H.264 won, Google and Nokia say, "Not so fast." Google, which owns the royalty-free WebM format, driven by the VP8 codec, isn't going to let it wither away, not when Google also owns YouTube. As Giga Om reported, Google's WebM product manager John Luther said that YouTube and Google Play video rentals on Samsung Chromebooks will now use WebM instead of Flash. Google isn't stopping there, but will increase the use of WebM on Chrome OS devices. Thanks to recent improvements, WebM is now a secure HTML5 option for premium content, Luther said.
But Nokia is taking aim at Google and VP8, asserting that VP8 isn't open source and that Google is using its position to force adoption. It's also saying that VP8 infringes on Nokia's intellectual property. To prove its point, Nokia listed 64 of its patents and 22 pending patent applications that it says VP8 infringes upon. Nokia has declared that it won't license its patents for VP8 or any codecs derived from it.
Required reading on the feud is a recent story in Fast Company. Industry insiders should get a laugh from Fast Company's assertion that Flash "was largely stamped out and replaced by H.264." Fast Company might want to slow down once in a while and check some of those facts.
The Nokia Technologies division will lose 310 of its 1,090 employees, while putting more resources into creating digital health products.
For those who forgot about WebM, you're not the only ones. Support never materialized for Google's open source format.
While WebM has seen brighter days, the door hasn't closed yet. Here's an overview of Google's royalty-free HTML5 format.
MPEG LA says that 12 patent holders have stepped forward with patents they believe are essential to the VP8 standard. A patent pool license could be next.