Microsoft planning to support VP8 in Internet Explorer 9 - with a catch

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it plans to introduce support for the VP8 video codec in Internet Explorer 9. But there's a catch, the user must have the VP8 codec installed on Windows.

Google announced a developer preview of WebM earlier today. WebM is an open, royalty-free media file format designed for the web. The WebM project is sponsored by big names like Mozilla, Opera, AMD, Nvidia and Oracle. WebM uses the VP8 video codec, based on the Matroska media container, that was developed by On2 Technologies. Google acquired On2 in February, 2010 for $106 million. On2 is well known for compressing high quality video ready for streaming on IP networks. On2's compression technologies power the video in many of today's leading desktop and mobile applications. On2 customers include Adobe, Skype, Nokia, Infineon, Sun Microsystems, Mediatek, Sony, Brightcove, and Move Networks.

Internet Explorer General Manager, Dean Hachamovitch, responded to Google's WebM news by confirming Microsoft's commitment to VP8 support. "In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows", he said in a company blog post. Hachamovitch stressed that Microsoft has some technical specifics to work through until support is added to Internet Explorer 9. "We want to be clear about our intent to support the same markup in the open and interoperable web, and to do so in a manner consistent with our view broad view of safety and security", he said. Microsoft previously announced strong support for the playback of H.264 video in Internet Explorer.

Both Mozilla and Opera have released WebM ready developer builds of Firefox and Opera. Apple has not commented on support for VP8 across its Safari browsers in Mac OS X, iPhone and iPad operating systems.

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