Microsoft IE9 will Support VP8 Video Technology and May Replace Flash

May 20th, 2010, manager of IE department Dean Hachamovitch said Microsoft IE9 browser will support VP8 video CODEC technology, the purpose of which is to improve IE9’s openness and compatibility.

WebM Project

Google has announced the debut of WebM project on Wednesday’s I/O developers technology conference. WebM is an open, royalty-free network media file format, and is supported by the commercial software giants such as Mozilla(the developer of Firefox browser), Opera(the developer of Norway browser), AMD, Nvidia , Oracle and so on.

WebM adopts VP8 codec technology, which is Matroska media technology based on the network video technology developer On2.. Early this February, Google has taken over On2 with $1.06 million dollars. On2 is well-known for video compression technology, and this technology has been widely applied in all kinds of desktop software and mobile applications. On2 customers include Adobe, Skype, Nokia, Infineon, Sun, SONY, American network television servicer Brightcove etc.

Microsoft Response

Regarding Google WebM, Hachamovitch said on Wednesday’s night in blog: “IE9 supports not only HTML5, but also H.264 video and VP8 video. However, the premise is the users must have the VP8 codec pack installed in Windows.” He stressed that there are still some specific technical problems need to be solved before IE9’s perfect support to VP8.

Hachamovitch said: “I want to make it clear that we hope to maintain IE’s security and stability, but at the same, improve its openness and compatibility. We promise to the customers that IE9 shall support all the frequently-used media formats. Meanwhile, the intellectual property rights of Windows clients, developers, and all internet users, will be protected.

Standard Competition

Fully support to networl video is one of the new functions of HTML5 internet browsing standard. But for the network video standard, Ogg Theora and H.264 are deadlocked. Microsoft, as one of the important contributors to H.264 standard, decides to continually support it in Windows operating system and IE9 browsers. Apple also stands by H.264 and said the H.264 video technology will become the alternative products of Adobe Flash.

However, Mozilla and Opera have different voices. They disapprove H.264 format. In addition, the insiders who establish the the technical specification of HTML5 also said, network video standard should not only choose specific codec.

Insiders said, WebM project may help reduce the conflict between Ogg Theora and H.264. But if WebM can not get the support from Microsoft and Apple, it is very hard to be the actual network video standard. Apple hasn’t comment on Google’s release of WebM project yet.

Highly recommended by Mozilla

Mozilla preachers Chris Blizzard wrote in blog on Wednesday: “VP8 is superior to Ogg Theora speaking of codec quality, and it can compete with H.264 speaking of picture quality. We will support WebM in Firefox, and today we released the beta Firefox 4.0, with the early support to WebM.”

Opera also launched a beta browser which supports WebM format. Opera CTO Hakon Wium Lie said: “HTML, CSS and JavaScript have never had patent, Internet should always be open.

Although the video function of HTML5 standard may be a significant threat to Adobe Flash, Google and Adobe are already in the alliance and Google has decided to integrate Flash to its Chrome browser. Because of this, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said on Wednesday that Flash player will be integrated with VP8 function and the new product is set to be released within one year.

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