Open letter to Microsoft regarding video on the Web
Tuesday, March 16, 2010 6:30:00 PM
I haven't exactly cut you a lot of slack in my blog through the years. I have repeatedly criticized you for the damage I feel that you have done to the Web. But while you have traditionally been known for closed and proprietary solutions, lately you have been speaking more and more frequently and vocally about the importance of interoperability on the Web.
And today you might just have a chance to make up for your past wrongs. You have a unique opportunity to show that you are serious about interoperability and open standards!
As you may know, there is a "war" being waged about video on the Web. Some are promoting the closed, patent-encumbered H.264 codec as the best codec for the Web, while others believe that the basic building blocks of the Web should be free and open, and therefore promote Ogg Theora as the "default" codec for HTML5 VIDEO.
Currently, HTML5-capable browsers with Theora support make up a much bigger share of the market than the browsers that support H.264, but that will change if you release Internet Explorer with support for H.264 rather than Theora.
If you were to support Theora as the video codec of choice in Internet Explorer, it would be a bombshell which would not only give a huge boost for open Web technologies, but you could be seen as a champion of open standards, and an open Web.
I know you are a patent licensor in the MPEG LA, and this would actually make your actions even more powerful and meaningful. You could show just how serious you are about interoperability on the Web by supporting the free and open codec rather than the one that would best suit your short-term interests.
This is a unique opportunity for you to win back the hearts and minds of people who might have otherwise dismissed you as carrying on with "business as usual".
Are you up for it?