Microsoft adding H.264 to Chrome as Google removes it

In the heat of the browser wars between Google and Microsoft, a flurry of comments, accusations and announcements have been made, all in attempt to trump one-another. Today's strange announcement comes from Microsoft, where they will be adding H.264 codec support to Chrome, while Google is in the process of removing it.

H.264/MPEG-4 is a standard for video compression, used in a wide variety of home video players, camcorders, and even browsers. Last year, Google was worried about the future of H.264 royalty fees, so it opted to create its own version, dubbed VP8.

Fast forward to last month, when Google announced it would be removing support for H.264 in its browser, opting for VP8 to become the standard for Chrome. Google explained that the reasoning behind the removal of H.264 was because it isn't a truly open codec like WebM or Theora Technologies. Despite H.264 staying royalty-free, Google will continue its transition to remove support for the video codec.

Jump forward to today, where Microsoft has announced it will develop a plug-in for Google Chrome, restoring H.264 support for the browser, as reported by AllThingsDigital.com. The great thing about Google Chrome is that anyone can develop plug-ins, including the competition.

Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft's next major IE release, will support both H.264 and VP8 codecs, but the user will be required to install the VP8 codec on their Windows machine.

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I may just let Microsoft and Google war it out - I can't be bothered with using browsers that are constantly releasing a new version and constantly waging war on other browsers.
Maybe I will give Opera another look.

Mr Spoon said,
I may just let Microsoft and Google war it out - I can't be bothered with using browsers that are constantly releasing a new version and constantly waging war on other browsers.
Maybe I will give Opera another look.

Well, maybe they releases a new stable version of Chrome in every four months. It's their policy and I like it.

Faisal Islam said,

Well, maybe they releases a new stable version of Chrome in every four months. It's their policy and I like it.

Yes but a brand new version? Why not 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 or whatever?

seriously at nearly 90% market share for Windows, Google and the rest need to shut up and take it. H.264 will work for 90% of the PC users. If google doesnt like it then it should take the OS market share and push webm down to it. Then they can decide on this. Google has nothing to back up their decision so it is stupid that we discuss this

Riva said,
seriously at nearly 90% market share for Windows, Google and the rest need to shut up and take it. H.264 will work for 90% of the PC users. If google doesnt like it then it should take the OS market share and push webm down to it. Then they can decide on this. Google has nothing to back up their decision so it is stupid that we discuss this

But it won't work on 90% of PC's. H.264 is only natively supported on Windows 7, before then you need to find a codec I believe? And since its a commercial codec its not something you can freely download. And Internet Explorer's market share isn't 90%, its more like 60%.

And the attitude of the others needing to "shut up and take it" was what resulted in the web being so horribly broken after Microsoft abandoned Internet Explorer after version 6. I don't think we need to go down that path again.

Pc_Madness said,
And Internet Explorer's market share isn't 90%, its more like 60%.

It's not all about IE, you should count Windows OS and Windows Phone 7 OS.

Pc_Madness said,

But it won't work on 90% of PC's. H.264 is only natively supported on Windows 7, before then you need to find a codec I believe? And since its a commercial codec its not something you can freely download. And Internet Explorer's market share isn't 90%, its more like 60%.

And the attitude of the others needing to "shut up and take it" was what resulted in the web being so horribly broken after Microsoft abandoned Internet Explorer after version 6. I don't think we need to go down that path again.

The web was broken because all other companies were: We support W3C compliance to the max and IE doesnt haha in your face. IE 6 supported up to HTML 4.1 and never jumped to XHTML 1.0 officially until IE8 came out. That doesn't mean that HTML 4.1 wasn't coming from W3C but the community pushed forward over the years. I am not saying IE should of taken that long to evolve but clearly the web was broken cos some sites were like: we only develop against IE or we only develop against firefox etc... Doing some web dev myself I noticed the mirriads of bugs especially in chrome where there standards arent followed to the letter.
And now we see the same issue, IE9 is maxed out on standards compliance and the other "cooler" browsers arent. I am sure everyone will be saying its IEs fault that it needs a different CSS file. And this goes to the video standard as well. Now that I know MS is shipping a plugin for both firefox and chrome to support h.264 and thus absorbing the cost, I will be telling my clients that their sites will be h.264 and they should get the plugin. I have no interest in making a simple video playback, pain in my own ass

didn't mean google is the door... talking about the bandwidth pipes that are slowly filling to (if not already full) to capacity... Just to see the difference, i took a normal average videos from various formats, converted to webm in almost the same dimensions/frame rates etc, and when played back, the difference wasn't all that much different, but the file sizes ranged from 1/5 to 1/2 the original file size. this makes a very strong point to isp's, mobile carriers, and companies like netflix.

rippleman said,
didn't mean google is the door... talking about the bandwidth pipes that are slowly filling to (if not already full) to capacity... Just to see the difference, i took a normal average videos from various formats, converted to webm in almost the same dimensions/frame rates etc, and when played back, the difference wasn't all that much different, but the file sizes ranged from 1/5 to 1/2 the original file size. this makes a very strong point to isp's, mobile carriers, and companies like netflix.

I suppose you missed the part where people (numerous times) explained that h264 compression rate (at the same quality level) >>> webM

Microsoft made it for Firefox and Chrome...Now where is some Opera love as well? lol
I don't really care at this point which one wins...I just wish one would hurry and win so that all browsers will support 1, instead of having half support 1, and the other half support the other...It's like the Beta/VHS and Blu Ray/HD-DVD wars all over again...

All the billions and billions of dollars Google and Microsoft are worth, and Google is worried about fees. What a joke. Google is a complete fool to remove it.

Woooh my iPhone 4 is totally dependent on h.264/html5 for video streaming... wtf? I liked sooo much that i could download mp4 videos on vimeo and play it directly on my iDevices... Quality and file size is great, i can download videos and play on my iphone, ipad, computer, TV's built'n media player, Blu-Ray player, PS3. Will those devices support that ****in WebM standard?

Is WebM compatible with h264? WTF -> http://www.youtube.com/html5 <-

don't worry. Safari will not remove h.264 support. This is the one and only way to play web videos on iOS devices as tit doesn't support Flash or Silverlight.

qdave said,
I am confused...how can Microsoft add h.264 support to Chrome Browser?

The same way Adobe can add Flash support.... ?

i am for what ever makes the net (and devices) more open and free.... If WebM gets away from the paid royalties of .h264 then cool....

When looking at the bigger picture, streaming media to devices will migrate to the best one that uses the least bandwidth with the ever increasing bandwidth caps and mobile traffic.

As good as h264 is, if it won't fit thought the door, then it can't come in

rippleman said,
i am for what ever makes the net (and devices) more open and free.... If WebM gets away from the paid royalties of .h264 then cool....

When looking at the bigger picture, streaming media to devices will migrate to the best one that uses the least bandwidth with the ever increasing bandwidth caps and mobile traffic.

As good as h264 is, if it won't fit thought the door, then it can't come in

Assuming that technology stands still and all video sharing sites use base line h264.

rippleman said,
i am for what ever makes the net (and devices) more open and free.... If WebM gets away from the paid royalties of .h264 then cool....

When looking at the bigger picture, streaming media to devices will migrate to the best one that uses the least bandwidth with the ever increasing bandwidth caps and mobile traffic.

As good as h264 is, if it won't fit thought the door, then it can't come in


Google isn't the door

rippleman said,

When looking at the bigger picture, streaming media to devices will migrate to the best one that uses the least bandwidth with the ever increasing bandwidth caps and mobile traffic.

As good as h264 is, if it won't fit thought the door, then it can't come in


h264 is superior to WebM.
If you encode the same video to both h264 and VP8/webM, with the same target filesize/bitrate, h264 will be visually superior. If you encode to the same output quality, h264 will store that quality in fewer bytes.

Obviously Google is ****ed off for not leading in this area. The standard belogs ot MS and Apple (and others) W3C pushed it as astandard for videos and google is nowhere to be seen in the picture. Well now they are as the stick in the mudd causing web standards issues

Riva said,
Obviously Google is ****ed off for not leading in this area. The standard belogs ot MS and Apple (and others) W3C pushed it as astandard for videos and google is nowhere to be seen in the picture. Well now they are as the stick in the mudd causing web standards issues

W3C never pushed H.264 as the standard, they wanted OGG, but was force to remove it from HTML5 spec because of Microsoft and Apple. W3C still recommends OGG. Google and Mozilla are both leading the way for either OGG or WebM to become the standard, both of which is open and royalty-free, unlike H.264.

Gerry said,

W3C never pushed H.264 as the standard, they wanted OGG, but was force to remove it from HTML5 spec because of Microsoft and Apple. W3C still recommends OGG. Google and Mozilla are both leading the way for either OGG or WebM to become the standard, both of which is open and royalty-free, unlike H.264.


W3C doesnt specify a format actually I just checked. theres a type attribute to specify your video format. What's going on here is that all browsers are in an agreement to h264 but Chrome is causing trouble, especially to the web developer community

Riva said,

W3C doesnt specify a format actually I just checked. theres a type attribute to specify your video format. What's going on here is that all browsers are in an agreement to h264 but Chrome is causing trouble, especially to the web developer community

Theora was what was in the standard originally I think, but Apple / Youtube wanted H.264. Neither side could agree so they just removed requiring a specific codec from the standard.

And no, actually, only Safari and IE support H.264 (60% marketshare?). Chrome, Firefox and Opera (40% marketshare?) only support WebM and Theora.

I wish they do that on the 360...
(No. Not every Format which WMP 12 supports by default, the 360 can play it.... And not all the .h264)

Educated Idiot said,
I wonder how many chairs Ballmer has thrown after this announcement was made.

Why? If anyone is going to be irked by this it'll be Google. They're the ones trying to push WebM (since the don't really want to encode YouTube in H.264)

Edited by lordcanti86, Feb 2 2011, 9:08pm :

Even though HTML 5 seems like web browsers will play nice, the video standard going to be splintered. Google announced there will be WebM plugins for IE and Safari, and Microsoft is making H264 plugins for Chrome/Firefox.

I think will still have to have our compliment of optional plugins for 100% compability.

I tried installing Microsoft's H.264 HTML5 plugin on Firefox 4.0b10, but Firefox wouldn't let me. Looks like they've blocked it. Does anybody know of a way to get the plugin to work on Firefox 4.0b10?

Currently Chrome 9 beta does support H.264 HTML5 video playback, but it's nice to see that once Google removes that support, Microsoft will step in to fill this HUGE incapability. I've been a fan of Firefox and Chrome, but now I'm seriously thinking about switching to Internet Explorer and Safari. Not supporting H.264 is a blunder on Mozilla and Google's part.

sabrex said,
I tried installing Microsoft's H.264 HTML5 plugin on Firefox 4.0b10, but Firefox wouldn't let me. Looks like they've blocked it. Does anybody know of a way to get the plugin to work on Firefox 4.0b10?

Currently Chrome 9 beta does support H.264 HTML5 video playback, but it's nice to see that once Google removes that support, Microsoft will step in to fill this HUGE incapability. I've been a fan of Firefox and Chrome, but now I'm seriously thinking about switching to Internet Explorer and Safari. Not supporting H.264 is a blunder on Mozilla and Google's part.


That's because Mozilla can't support it (they can't distribute the code w/o paying MPEG-LA first), and niether can Google (potential financial ramifications because of encoding videos on YouTube).

lordcanti86 said,

That's because Mozilla can't support it (they can't distribute the code w/o paying MPEG-LA first), and niether can Google (potential financial ramifications because of encoding videos on YouTube).

Assuming that you read sabrex's post correctly (which you didn't), Google can ship h264 codec with their products. Why? Google. That is why, big company can allow itself to do this.

Second you haven't read the the OP's post. There is nothing illegal about supporting plugins and extensions which enable additional functionality. Mozilla can support it just fine because it doesn't get shipped with the browser.

TWO POSSIBLE REASONS WHY FF4 BLOCKS MS h264 PLUGIN,
1. Mozilla thinks that it has a big e-peen.
2. The plugin causes instability, crashes.

lordcanti86 said,

That's because Mozilla can't support it (they can't distribute the code w/o paying MPEG-LA first), and niether can Google (potential financial ramifications because of encoding videos on YouTube).
Google can quite easily distribute h.264 with Chrome because:

Chrome - Closed source program based of Chromium
Chromium - Open source program

/- Razorfold said,
Google can quite easily distribute h.264 with Chrome because:

Chrome - Closed source program based of Chromium
Chromium - Open source program

The debate should really be, why should applications have to even deal with codecs?

We are at a time when the OS should be responsible for codecs. Period.

Codecs at the application level made sense 10years ago, it don't anymore. It is just like back in the old days when applications had their own fonts and font engines, and then OSes stepped in and started handling fonts instead.

It is time all OSes step in and handle codecs too.

One reason this model has not been adopted outside of Windows is that OSS licensing for handling or including some codecs violates the general license the OS is using. Apple also has licensing issues, but since they do what they do and don't give a crap, so it is less of a problem for them than it would be for OSes like Linux or FreeBSD that have OSS licensing that has restrictions for distributing certain types of codecs.

However, the OS still should just handle as many as it can, and provide an OS model for users to install codecs that would violate the OSS licensing if they were included in the OS.

The reasons for them removing it are very fair, but it's nice to see that those who don't care about software licensing have a way of getting it back, cheers Microsoft!

TrOjAn. said,

Isn't this wrong?

Which part?

Google is removing it.

Microsoft is not adding support, but turning it back on by just having the browser use the OS to play the h.264 content.

Not gonna concern myself with this at all, I am an avid Firefox user and don't see that changing anytime soon.

rdburke said,
Not gonna concern myself with this at all, I am an avid Firefox user and don't see that changing anytime soon.

I feel the same way. NCSA Mosaic is all the browser anyone really needs!!!

I wish they'd spend time on their own browser first, for Ogg Theora and/or WebM. Then they can worry about Google Chrome. An open web needs cross-browser open codec support. I'm not saying H.264 isn't nice - it's a powerful and advanced codec that is well supported. But open codecs for an open web is even more important, in my opinion.

Northgrove said,
I wish they'd spend time on their own browser first, for Ogg Theora and/or WebM. Then they can worry about Google Chrome. An open web needs cross-browser open codec support. I'm not saying H.264 isn't nice - it's a powerful and advanced codec that is well supported. But open codecs for an open web is even more important, in my opinion.

They do, you just need to install the codec.

Northgrove said,
I wish they'd spend time on their own browser first, for Ogg Theora and/or WebM. Then they can worry about Google Chrome. An open web needs cross-browser open codec support. I'm not saying H.264 isn't nice - it's a powerful and advanced codec that is well supported. But open codecs for an open web is even more important, in my opinion.

IE can use every codec that is installed on your system, no limitations there

Northgrove said,
I wish they'd spend time on their own browser first, for Ogg Theora and/or WebM. Then they can worry about Google Chrome. An open web needs cross-browser open codec support. I'm not saying H.264 isn't nice - it's a powerful and advanced codec that is well supported. But open codecs for an open web is even more important, in my opinion.
MS wants h264 to win, and has no interest in webm, ogg, theora, etc. That being said you can just install the codec into windows and it'll work.. Which would be the Smart thing for Chrome and FF to do by default, tie into the OS's decoding capabilities. But they won't because they want h264 to fail. It's not gonna fail, sooner or later they are going to have to accept it, or live with the fact each time someone gets their browser, they will go to MS for the plugin.. Or worse yet, they will end up on a page and just can't play the file, annoying them.

Why do people always say "I wish they spent more time on this product"... I'm pretty dam sure the team working on IE9 isn't the same team that worked on this...

Ryoken said,
MS wants h264 to win, and has no interest in webm, ogg, theora, etc. That being said you can just install the codec into windows and it'll work.. Which would be the Smart thing for Chrome and FF to do by default, tie into the OS's decoding capabilities. But they won't because they want h264 to fail. It's not gonna fail, sooner or later they are going to have to accept it, or live with the fact each time someone gets their browser, they will go to MS for the plugin.. Or worse yet, they will end up on a page and just can't play the file, annoying them.

Doubt Chrome will tie into the os decoding capabilities. They sandbox all their plugins. Heck they ship with their own copy of Flash!

shinji257 said,

Doubt Chrome will tie into the os decoding capabilities. They sandbox all their plugins. Heck they ship with their own copy of Flash!


I am fairly certain that is simply meant to make Chrome "average user" friendly.

/- Razorfold said,
Why do people always say "I wish they spent more time on this product"... I'm pretty dam sure the team working on IE9 isn't the same team that worked on this...

Believe it or not, companies have limited resources and decisions are made about what to use them on.

Memnochxx said,

Believe it or not, companies have limited resources and decisions are made about what to use them on.
Yeahh and I'm pretty dam sure Microsoft didn't spend even 1% of resources they have on developing this plugin. And I'm also pretty dam sure the IE9's development resources weren't affected by it either.

Memnochxx said,

Believe it or not, companies have limited resources and decisions are made about what to use them on.

Believe it or not, Microsoft has UNLIMITED POWER!!!!!!

Memnochxx said,

Believe it or not, companies have limited resources and decisions are made about what to use them on.

Except you are forgetting that Microsoft isn't doing anything... Their OS, Windows7 already inherently supports the codec and Microsoft already has the licensing locked up.

So all Microsoft is doing is writing a few lines of code to turn on something that is already there that Google is INTENTIONALLY turning off. Google could leave H.264 support enabled, and in fact just use the Windows OS directshow codec model and play EVERY codec, at least on Windows.

Google is stupid about codecs, just look at Android, that has no OS level codec capabilities, and ships with just a couple of supported audio and video codecs.

So in Google's mind, the APPLICATION/BROWSER is responsible for playing codecs. In Microsoft's mind, the OS is responsible, and any application should just inherently be able to use everything as the OS should handle it for application.

Microsoft is the correct thinking on this, as applicaiton level implementation creates massive fragmentation - again something Google doesn't get.

If you want an example of why the Microsoft mindset is right, go look at something called Windows 3.x. The MAIN thing Win 3.x did, that made it so successful, was create additional hardware abstraction for applications and OS provided functions that in the past were the responsibility of Applications. In DOS for example, it was the application's responsibilty to write to the printers and handle all the printer drivers. The same was true with UNIX, that still carries over to problems with OSes like Linux today. Windows 3.x used a model that moved as much of the 'common' non traditional OS features into the OS/Environment.

Despite what the world thinks about Win3.x, this is why it was successful, as developers no longer had to worry about printers or how to play a sound or what video card the end user had, etc.

Microsoft still gets this and is still moving more common features into the OS as they can to make things easier for developers and end users too.

So flipping a swtich to keep a feature available to other browsers is important, and the code for the plugins/etc is tiny. The 'resources' put into doing this is probably a single developer and a couple of hours and then sending it through their testing center. Which would be 0.00001% of Microsoft's 'resources' out of one day.

If this was major work or a smaller company, then you would have a point.

one thing i see coming is that MS will make the plugin fat and slow, otherwise i dont see the motive behind making up what's missing in competitor's browser.

leojei said,
one thing i see coming is that MS will make the plugin fat and slow, otherwise i dont see the motive behind making up what's missing in competitor's browser.

You obviously have no idea what is going on.

I was kinda expecting Firefox to blacklist the plugin that Microsoft made that adds H.264 support, I wonder if Google will do the same. It doesn't really feel like Microsoft is trying to help, just sabotaging competitors browsers by making them support H.264 on some PC's and not on others with no clear explanation as to why, which was the reason Chrome dropped H.264 to begin with, to encourage everyone to move to WebM so all browsers could have a commonly supported codec.

How exactly does this make it easier for developers. :\

Pc_Madness said,
I was kinda expecting Firefox to blacklist the plugin that Microsoft made that adds H.264 support, I wonder if Google will do the same. It doesn't really feel like Microsoft is trying to help, just sabotaging competitors browsers by making them support H.264 on some PC's and not on others with no clear explanation as to why, which was the reason Chrome dropped H.264 to begin with, to encourage everyone to move to WebM so all browsers could have a commonly supported codec.

I thought H.264 was the commonly supported codec?

Pc_Madness said,
I was kinda expecting Firefox to blacklist the plugin that Microsoft made that adds H.264 support, I wonder if Google will do the same. It doesn't really feel like Microsoft is trying to help, just sabotaging competitors browsers by making them support H.264 on some PC's and not on others with no clear explanation as to why, which was the reason Chrome dropped H.264 to begin with, to encourage everyone to move to WebM so all browsers could have a commonly supported codec.

How exactly does this make it easier for developers. :\

What do you mean ? h264 is supported on all XP< Windows OS's, and all versions of MacOS worth noting. It's not in XP, because when you purchased XP, you didn't purchase the license, where as with Vista+ it was included in the price..

The reason Chrome dropped the format is because they want to push theirs, despite is being inferior every measurable quality to h264.

Pc_Madness said,
I was kinda expecting Firefox to blacklist the plugin that Microsoft made that adds H.264 support, I wonder if Google will do the same. It doesn't really feel like Microsoft is trying to help, just sabotaging competitors browsers by making them support H.264 on some PC's and not on others with no clear explanation as to why, which was the reason Chrome dropped H.264 to begin with, to encourage everyone to move to WebM so all browsers could have a commonly supported codec.

How exactly does this make it easier for developers. :\


I would think there would be a backlash if Google blacklists a plugin like H.264. They have no right to tell me what plugins I can and can't use in Chrome. This isn't North Korea..

statm1 said,

I would think there would be a backlash if Google blacklists a plugin like H.264. They have no right to tell me what plugins I can and can't use in Chrome. This isn't North Korea..

Lol good one indeed.
Also that would greatly damange their mantra of "do no evil"...
Cause disabling an opt-in option by a third party looks cheesy...

GS:mac

Pc_Madness said,
I was kinda expecting Firefox to blacklist the plugin that Microsoft made that adds H.264 support, I wonder if Google will do the same. It doesn't really feel like Microsoft is trying to help, just sabotaging competitors browsers by making them support H.264 on some PC's and not on others with no clear explanation as to why, which was the reason Chrome dropped H.264 to begin with, to encourage everyone to move to WebM so all browsers could have a commonly supported codec.

How exactly does this make it easier for developers. :\

Huh?

If Microsoft had nefarious reasons, they would be forcing VC1 in IE9 and shoving VC1 codec support into other browsers, not H.264.

Microsoft hates H.264 and fought against it on every level since its inception, which why they dumped their MPEG4 code from the 90s and developed WMV instead. (MS's dumped MPEG4 code is what is behind Divx and similar products that picked up Microsofts abandoned code they released.)

It was companies like Apple and iTunes and Google's own YouTube that didn't have an alternative and ended up sucking into H.264 that gave it any credibility online.

VC1 is the direct competitor to H.264, as it is the only other 'official' HD standard codec - as you would find on BluRay or many content provider broadcasts. VC1 is Microsoft's, it is WMV that took a new name when Microsoft turned it over to a standards body.

So if Microsoft was out to 'do something' to harm others or even for their own benefit, they would be shifting the industry back around solely to VC1 support and not messing with H.264.

If you step back, you can see why Microsoft is adding the H.264 support, even if they hate it.

1) There is a ton of media already stting around in H.264 format. Moving to VP8 would cost media/content providers a ton of money in conversion, and most of the time they would not take time to go to the source, so almost all VP8 content will be H.264 content converted to VP8, which just degrades the quality when you convert compressed video to another compressed format.

2) The 'sitting' around content includes a lot of BluRay and other studio masters that are either in VC1 or H.264 already, why require the entire internet to convert.

3) H.264 has massive support, that is bigger than what Google realizes.

4) Hardware support for H.264 is mature and everywhere. Moving to VP8 would mean most GPU technology that inherently handles H.264 decompression would be worthless. This means lower performance video and more battery drain on laptops and smartphones that already have hardware support for H.264.

5) Microsoft CAN do this, so they ARE doing it. Microsoft has adopted a model of ensuring their OSes have the proper licensing for many codecs, including H.264 (although this is only true of Win7, WinCE/WP7, and XBox - XP and Vista did not ship with hardly any non-Microsoft codecs, and required 3rd party codec packs).

When Microsoft made this shift with Windows7, they ensured that all Windows developers and Windows users would NEVER have to worry about codec licensing issues, and becomes a fundamental feature for the OS to provide system wide.

This is also why WP7 has advantages over iPhone and Android, as it can inherently play a lot of audio and video formats, and developers don't have to include or license the codec usage to play this content in their Apps. It is also consistent, across devices unlike Android and you don't need to buy Apps like RockPlayer just to play XVid movies.

And it all goes back to this inclusive model adopted by Microsoft that just ensures content plays and the end users and developers aren't bothered with things like codecs.

The same should be true for the Web, even if Microsoft doesn't like H.264, they understand that it should just work on their OSes.

Sadly because of the licensing model, Microsoft can't just easily include VP8 with IE9 or offer it in an update to Windows7, which is going to require users to install VP8 themselves. So thank Google for making things harder on end users, as they fully control VP8 and the licensing, and can at anytime change VP8 and restrict it.

So bottom line, if you were Microsoft and were using the mindset that users and developers should stop worrying about codecs and Windows7 supports the codecs inherently and is licensed for them...Why NOT turn them on for other Browsers?

PS Windows7 users, be mindfull about installing codec packs, as the built in codecs are fully hardware accelerated where most 3rd party codecs are not. So if you install ffdshow that replaces a built in codec, you will lose the hardware acceleration Windows7 provides. There are a handful of codec packages out there that are made for Win7 that do not overwrite included codecs and some packages that even add codecs through the Microsoft DirectShow system giving them hardware acceleration as the WDDM in Windows7 can offer. (The WDDM in Win7 can offer certain levels of video acceleration and decoding acceleration even if your hardware doesn't inherently support it, as it shoves the decompression bits as computes through the GPU anyway.)

Pc_Madness said,
which was the reason Chrome dropped H.264 to begin with, to encourage everyone to move to WebM so all browsers could have a commonly supported codec.

How exactly does this make it easier for developers. :\

Do u know y Google wants everyone to move to webM?

acnpt said,
Nice move Microsoft.

Nicely played indeed. Microsoft adding critical functionality to Chrome. The irony...

Breach said,

Nicely played indeed. Microsoft adding critical functionality to Chrome. The irony...

H264s not exactly critical now is it?

DaRkMaDnEsS said,

which makes me wonder why ?
It's just my hunch but I think IE9 is attempting to humor the throng with which browser render what faster. It's going to be a war of speed and that is what IE9 team is determined to do; tug Chrome to the war.

Honestly, the scene-community will have a strong influence whether the net will move toward WEBM (mostly not). H.264 is quality superior and filesizes has already standardize.