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  • Steve Jobs Hates Google's Video Format (Surprise)

    Google weighed in on the web-video wars on Wednesday by rolling out WebM, a new royalty-free media format. Apple has been pushing for broader acceptance of HTML5 video and the H.264 media format as standard, and so a user emailed Steve Jobs to ask his opinion of Google's proposal. Jobs didn't reply directly, but pointed the user to a damning screed by an H.264 developer, which suggested that WebM's video codec was so close to H.264 that it might violate some patents.

    Steve Jobs's antipathy for Flash is well-known, and even Adobe acknowledges that it doesn't run well on Macs. As a result, Apple has advocated HTML5 for embedded video, which would mandate a particular video codec be supported by all HTML5-compliant browsers. The problem is that the HTML5 working group is split between supporters of the open-source Ogg Theora format and the H.264 standard, which is encumbered by licensing fees. Apple and Google had both come down on the H.264 side of the debate... until now.

    Enter WebM. Google's new format consists of VP8, a video codec developed by On2 (a company that was bought by Google last year), the open source Vorbis audio format, and a container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container. On2 was the company that created the VP3 format that Ogg Theora is built on; VP8, then, is sort of a cousin to Theora. And therein lies the problem for some. Steve Jobs has asserted before that Theora itself uses patented technology. This issue persists in VP8, at least as far as H.264 developer Jason Garrett-Glaser is concerned. He pored through the code and wrote a long, technically-detailed rant about VP8, concluding (in the "Summary for the Lazy," which is about all I could read) that "VP8 copies way too much from H.264 for anyone sane to be comfortable with it, no matter whose word is behind the claim of being patent-free."

    Steve Jobs's silent agreement with that sentiment, combined with the statement earlier this month that he is throwing the (significant) weight of Apple behind a defense of H.264 patents, may well create an atmosphere of fear that may dissuade developers from supporting the new format. Despite the fact that Microsoft has already signaled that IE9 will support WebM, in the end, it may all come down to fear of litigation rather than performance and portability. And is that any way to set a standard?
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Steve Jobs Hates Google's Video Format (Surprise) started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. mortopher's Avatar
      mortopher -

      Remind me to send you a thanks when I get home!
    1. Luppin's Avatar
      Luppin -
      So Steve hates Flash because it's closed-source but is totally against a completely open format? What a hypocrite, he'd rather shove a standard down our throat that forces people to pay him royalty fees, as opposed to letting people use a widely used and accepted format free of charge purely because Flash isn't open source, a fact that hasn't stifled billions of Flash movies/games/applets/etc. from being created.
    1. lolcats1's Avatar
      lolcats1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by paganizonda83 View Post

      Remind me to send you a thanks when I get home!
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      Someone needs to hand Steve:
      1) A tissue.
      2) Some social skills.
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      Quote Originally Posted by adp View Post
      The evolution of Steve Jobs...

    1. politicalslug's Avatar
      politicalslug -
      Am I the only one (besides Steve Jobs) that realizes that MPEG-LA is going to renew it's stance of on free internet use of H.264. The very fact that Google is trying to destroy that format shows they haven't any choice to continue the status quo. I only see this hurting Opera and Mozilla. No one else. In fact, it doesn't even hurt them because they can tap into the H.264 decoders already licensed by the OS (windows or osx) they are running on. Okay. What's the problem? This new format is just opening the doors for lawsuits. I, as a consumer, don't want to pick up new hardware just to use a new format that might not last. Current hardware will need to use software to decode any WebM material. That wastes battery life on mobile devices.
    1. Cer0's Avatar
      Cer0 -
      I read some place else that this format will not be royality free forever. So it will eventually be in the same place as h.264.
    1. billmilo's Avatar
      billmilo -
      Jobs is a douche
    1. evolutionarymc's Avatar
      evolutionarymc -
      I don't see how anyone can argue the validity of Steve's "Thoughts On Flash" Now I understand that they are a behemoth, but come on. Jobs saved Apple from who knows what. "Bad Time For Apple" I'd prefer not to install plugins for web content. I also want all the great content on my iPhone. *HTML5*
    1. dhamien's Avatar
      dhamien -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mes View Post
      Steve is acting on behalf of money. Plain and simple. The clearest way to get money is to control the market. Some claim it's 'best for consumers' but this excuse is just a rouge! It's always been about the money! All other reasons are spins and hypes to hide the real truth. Money today, more money tomorrow, and much more money in the future. This is Apples goal!

      This is all companies goal. Nothing wrong with it . The hard part is selecting the honorable ones amongst the abyss (haha
      That doesn't make sense. If it was all about the money, why would he make overpriced products that lack functionality that everyone wants? If it was all about the money, he would cave to pressure and give everyone what they wanted. If it was all about the money, he would run his company quite differently.

      I truly believe that Steve Jobs has a vision (yeah, big word there). He believes that all his products should be absolutely problem free and run smooth under any circumstances. This explains why there's hasn't been any multitasking for example. Multitasking might be possible to run, but it also has the risk of slowing the phone down and I believe Steve has no tolerance for that. He wants a perfect user experience at all times.
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      This guy doesn't handle competition well. Or, maybe he does?
    1. stehlin14's Avatar
      stehlin14 -
      just let android 2.2 with flash 10.1 rule for a long time until apple creates their own standard...i dont see their standard coming anytime soon.
    1. Jawcl's Avatar
      Jawcl -
      He hates anything that's new.