When the stakes in the industry are this high, you always have to read the comments. These are the blog entries that bring industry buffs out of the woodwork simply because they know what is happening on the ground… and those happenings have nothing to do with WebM!
This comment (emphasis added) was left by user, “Rasmus,” who legitimately discusses the problems with Google’s decision to move away from H.264. There are no happy comments on the blog entry and that should tell Google something. The only other emotion in the comments is apathy, in particular from someone who was fine with the WebM move, but asked Google to be consistent and drop support for Flash. All aside, consumers are unhappy and it seems Google is too self-absorbed to care.
This is a terrible decision, in my opinion. H.264 is (asymptotically close to) perfect as is. Don’t try to reverse innovation. Try to resist the not-invented-here syndrome. Google is just setting users up to suffer through yet another format war. And please don’t tell me it is to support free and open standards when Chrome continues to support Flash and Silverlight. H.264 solved the problem of having the entire production and distribution chain depend on old inefficient MPEG2 and is ubiquitous and has good hardware support by now. It is an open standard. Period. You can say what you like about the industry practice of using IP royalties to recoup and make a profit on R&D investments (and the cost Google might incur from this), but removing support for the best established video standard is not putting Google’s users’ interests first.
Posted: January 25, 2011
In 2022, I am participating in two leadership training programs. This should be a social experience, so I am writing about it. Check out the full list of posts in the series here.