updated 06:40 pm EDT, Thu May 20, 2010
Jobs believes WebM may violate patents
Apple chief Steve Jobs signaled his own doubts about using the new WebM format for HTML5 video. When asked about his thoughts by UK developer Kris Bloe, Jobs simply posted a link to a recent teardown of WebM that challenged not just its features but its legality. WebM's VP8 video codec bears a strong resemblance to H.264 and may violate multiple patents.
The look by a key x264 developer also pointed out that, without any significant differences from H.264's Baseline Profile, there was no reason for many companies to use WebM over H.264, especially not if they wanted higher quality video that isn't an option with the newer Google-, Mozilla- and Opera-backed standard.
That Jobs would object to WebM had been expected partly due to its roots at Google, but he has previously cautioned that risks surrounding the patents were his primary concern, as he mentioned in an answer regarding Ogg Theora. Even if Apple had no objections to using either Theora or WebM itself, other members of the MPEG-LA group could claim patent infringement and force a change of format. H.264 requires software royalties but is relatively free from potential lawsuits as a result.
Google is still expected to support H.264 in its HTML5 implementations, but it plans to add WebM to all of its core sites and software, including Android's future Gingerbread update. [via Register]