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WebM vs. H.264: Google Bets Big on Itself

Jan 27, 2011, 20:33 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Richard Adhikari)

"Chrome will soon turn its back on the H.264 codec in favor of Google's own WebM technology. It's risky to ditch a working standard such as H.264 for one under development, but there are potential benefits for both Google and anyone now paying licensing fees. Then again, there are questions about whether WebM will be ready for prime time -- and to what degree a standards feud will encumber users.

"Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) announced Tuesday that its Chrome browser will stop supporting the H.264 codec in a couple of months and will support its own WebM and Ogg Theora technologies instead.

"The announcement set off a firestorm. Some contended the move is a step backward for openness; others speculated that it might create a roadblock for adoption of the HTML5 standard; a few questioned whether or not the move would adversely impact adoption of the Chrome browser."

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