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Microsoft posts H.264 plugin for Chrome, casts doubt on WebM

updated 10:55 am EST, Wed February 2, 2011

Microsoft offers H.264 for Chrome in Google debate

Microsoft today obviated much of Google's attempted stand on web video policy by posting an H.264 extension for Chrome. The add-on uses Windows Media Player to load the video format when Google's browser sees an HTML5-based video but doesn't have a WebM version. It had already made a similar extension for Firefox, which never had H.264 to start.

Apple and other firms haven't volunteered so far to implement a matching plugin for Mac OS X.

The company went on to question the sincerity and wisdom of Google's decision to drop H.264. Although Microsoft insisted it wouldn't practice the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) synonymous with itself in the past, it challenged Google on its insistence that WebM was patent-free and safe to use. Simply saying a technology doesn't involve patent royalties doesn't make it true, Microsoft said. The Windows developer warned that Google hasn't said if it will indemnify companies and individuals if they're sued for using WebM.

"The only true arbiter of infringement, once it's asserted, is a court of law," Internet Explorer Corporate VP Dean Hachamovitch said. "Asserting openness is not a legal defense."

The executive added that the claims of a web standard were somewhat disingenuous as Google refers to itself as setting the standard and hasn't said how or if it will roll in features from anyone else. Mobile strategy was also at stake, since leaving H.264 in Android would be hypocritical but pulling it could lead to Google hurting YouTube on mobile devices, including the iPhone or others beyond its own.

Microsoft invited Google to join in an "open dialog" and to discuss its format but hasn't had a response so far. It wouldn't support WebM in Internet Explorer 9 itself but had no problems with a plugin being made available.

Google had said it was pulling H.264 from Chrome to drive WebM as an open standard but has so far had no explanation for how it would encourage universal adoption when neither Apple nor Microsoft, which have two thirds of browser share, will use the technology.

By Electronista Staff


  1. droz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    Google = EVIL

    There is no need for WebM and they know it.

  1. DeezNutts

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    Google may be too late

    I think Google brings up valid concerns with H.264.

    I also think that Google may well be too late to make any headway with a different codec.

  1. B9bot

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2008


    Microsoft already commented they support H.264

    Microsoft already commented they support H.264, not WebM when Google announced they were dropping support for H.264. So Google's attempt to change the standard has FAILED!!!!
    WebM is old technology and Apple already looked at it and said it wasn't nearly as good as H.264. Google seems to think they have all the power and influence. Reality is starting to come back at them to say otherwise! They thought they could launch there Google TV and have all the video streaming services just let them use there services without licensing. WRONG again Google, they BLOCKED Google TV! Now there overpriced TV can't be sold because none of the promised services will allow Google TV in.

  1. eizzumdm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2002


    Opposite Day

    Wait... I'm cheering on Microsoft, and I'm nelsonmuntzing Google? Down is up. Up is down. The company that claims to "do no evil" is more self-serving than the "evil empire."

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009


    Nice to see

    Microsoft and Apple being best bosom buddies in the H.264 patent pool.

  1. gnomehole

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2010


    Lack of Mac fail

    Typical Microsoft... only good if you are running Windows. Short sighted considering Mac is coming on strong.

  1. ljbyrne

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2009


    Microsoft the Good Guy?

    Sure looks like MS is trying to be a good guy and Google is jumping to the dark side. Just like another person said, up is down and down is up.

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