Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Cisco, Intel, Netflix, and Amazon today launched a new consortium, the Alliance for Open Media. The group plans to develop next-generation media formats – including audio and still images, but with video as the top priority – and deliver them as royalty-free open source, suitable for both commercial and noncommercial content.
The problem is that the supposed next-generation codec, HVEC, is going to be a lot more expensive, whereas other initiatives, such as Google’s VP9/VP10, would surely face patent trolling from the other major players. By coming together like this, all these players can have a say, without fear of them suing each other. That being said, smaller players will still want to sue, but at least the united front should make that a little harder.
And, unsurprisingly, one major player is not part of this new initiative. I guess they didn’t like the open and royalty-free part.
Google has been extremely open (and has spent much money) in their pursuit of free codecs, but they have been ignored, threatened and laughed at by various bodies, mostly without justification.
Intel and Microsoft have happily played the restricted IP codec game for a long time, but now they feel the heat on their fingers. I hope they are in time and pour money and effort to float this boat.
It is good that such powerful allies are finally coming to the party; hopefully MPEG-LA and Fraunhofer will get the kick in the nuts they deserve and, together with Apple’s Attitude, vanish into the depths.