Linked by Kroc Camen on Thu 29th Apr 2010 23:04 UTC
Internet Explorer I am almost flabbergasted by the spin and blunt-face upon which this news is delivered. We were just discussing the pot calling the kettle black with Apple / Adobe and now Microsoft have also come out in favour of a closed video format for an open web--IE9's HTML5 video support will allow H264 only. Update Now that the initial shock is over, I've rewritten the article to actually represent news rather than something on Twitter.
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The rewrite of this post is lame.
by MollyC on Fri 30th Apr 2010 19:53 UTC
MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

Quoting from the rewrite:
"If that alone wasn’t bad blogging / journalism, then the fact that Microsoft did not once mention that they themselves are a patent licensor for the MPEG-LA is much worse. Microsoft own part of the pool of patents that make up the H.264 codec. This means that it is their express interest that people pay for H.264 licences as this pays into their back pocket via the MPEG-LA.

This is a defraudment of developers, monopoly abuse—using their monopoly in IE9 to direct business to the MPEG-LA of which Microsoft will profit. Absolutely shocking, and no mention of this shocking bias is made in their announcement. "


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First, it's well known that Microsoft has patents in H.264. Hell, a Microsoft guy chaired the H.264 committee for a time, even as Microsoft was also developing VC-1. Yeah, Microsoft has patents in this area. But there's no need to disclose that in every statement they make. It's well known. But so do lots of companies have H.264 patents. As I said above, if Microsoft had said that they'd only support VC-1, your charge would have more merit (though still fall short), since Microsoft has a larger share of the patent pool for that than they do for H.264.

Second, what "monopoly in IE9"? IE has no monopoly, let alone IE9, which hasn't even been released and won't even run on XP, which still commands the majority of desktops. There is no IE9 monopoly. There is no IE monopoly at all, not anymore. Micrsoft bashers can't keep bashing Microsoft for abusing monopoly in IE (let alone IE9) while at the same time boasting at the large share that other browsers have garnered.

Third, Microsoft isn't leading the rush to H.264 adoption, they're following that rush, which is led by Apple, Google, and the content creation industry. Microsoft's going to do whatever Google does. If Google makes YouTube use Theora/VP8 or whatever, then Microsoft will support it. If not, then Microsoft doesn't want to add bloat to IE or Windows by making either carry around a codec that nobody besides OSS fans cares about. Google is the one with monopoly power here, not Microsoft.

Fourth, H.264, from everything I've read, is simply better than Theora. Apple has demonstrated with their success in iPhone/iPad that the public doesn't care one iota about "software freedom". Given that, the users deserve to have the better codec, and that's H.264. They don't care that H.264 is "less free". And Apple and Microsoft don't want to carry extra bloat of Theora for no reason other than to placate OSS fans.

I do think that Microsoft's decision is lame. They should've made their HTML5 implementaion neutral and just call the system API to play whatever video a web site delivers, and if the codec is installed, it'll play. I've not seen Micrsoft state a technical reason that they don't want to do that. The only reason I see for their making this statement at all is that they know that they can make IE9 codec-neutral in how it plays HTML5 video, but the reality is that there are only two defacto candidates for the codecs that web sites will use for HTML5 video, and Windows 7 already supports one of them (H.264), the same one the Apple supports, the same one that YouTube supports, the same one that the industry supports, while Windows 7 does not support Theora unless the user installs that codec himself (I don't even know if a MediaFoundation (successor of DirectShow, used by Vista and Windows 7) plugin for Theora even exists; VLC supports Theora on Windows 7 but VLC carries around its own code for all codecs, not relying on the system api at all).

Reply Score: 2

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Correct, I made a typo there, of course there’s no monopoly on IE9, it hasn’t been released yet! Microsoft still have a monopoly on IE though. It’s still over 50% in most places and as pretty much every computer comes sold with Windows which defaults to IE (and the browser ballot is broken in Microsoft’s favour).

But besides even that, you’re underestimating the amount of clout that Microsoft holds over developers with IE. Why on earth are developers still supporting IE6? And equally, many developers will have been holding off of using HTML5 because “IE doesn’t support it”. IE9 will of course work toward changing that, and it supporting only H.264 will provide a mighty amount of weight in developer’s minds to just forego providing OGG entirely.

Reply Parent Score: 1

nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

Correct, I made a typo there, of course there’s no monopoly on IE9, it hasn’t been released yet! Microsoft still have a monopoly on IE though. It’s still over 50% in most places and as pretty much every computer comes sold with Windows which defaults to IE (and the browser ballot is broken in Microsoft’s favour).


Having over 50% marketshare is a monopoly? Since when? Germany has had a remarkably high majority Firefox marketshare for years even though Windows has a higher marketshare there than the US.
http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-DE-monthly-200904-201004

So your issue is really with countries where the majority hasn't installed a browser that you favor. Your problem is with people, not Microsoft.


Why on earth are developers still supporting IE6?


Most developers work on what the boss wants them to. If you have a business where 15% of your sales are to IE6 users it would be incredibly foolish to block IE6 just because it is a lousy browser. IE6 only has about 5.5% share in the US. It's dropped by half in about a year so I think the solution to IE6 is patience.
http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-na-monthly-200904-201004

Reply Parent Score: 3