April 25, 2014

Microsoft Releases H.264 Extension For Chrome

About three weeks ago, Google announced that Chrome would no longer support the H.264 video codec.  Now, following some unpleasantness over allegedly copied search results, Microsoft’s struck back by introducing an H.264 extension for Chrome.

To be fair, there’s room for interpretation regarding how aggressive this move is (or isn’t).  Microsoft’s offered similar plug-ins for Firefox for quite some time, and no one’s identified any real animosity there.

But on the official IEBlog, a post stated this morning, "Developers want confidence that what they write will work for consumers.  Consumers and businesses want confidence that video on the Web will continue work – and that they will not face legal risk for using it.  Google’s decision to drop support for H.264 from its browser seems to undermine these goals."

Meanwhile, on the Interoperability @ Microsoft blog, a different post added, "At Microsoft we respect that Windows customers want the best experience of the web including the ability to enjoy the widest range of content available on the Internet in H.264 format."

So there you have it: subtle arguments that what Google’s doing isn’t in everybody’s best interest.

Now place your bets on whether a future version of Chrome will break Microsoft’s extension, and if so, how long it will be before this devolves into engineers from Google and Microsoft having a loud exchange of the "He’s touching me!"/"No I’m not!" variety.