This is an excerpt from my article on BetterVideo:
Chrome recently made the announcement that they will soon discontinue support for the H.264 video codec. While end users may not care, nor should they notice, to video producers this is significant, because supporting multiple codecs means higher costs and longer development.
Choice is good
As web developers, we should know to be wary of proprietary technology. Internet Explorer’s dismissal of standards has made web authoring painful over the last decade. Adobe’s fears of users stealing their precious copyrighted fonts has left the web starkly designed with Arial and Times New Roman. Oracle is currently causing tremors in the Java community.
It’s important to know that Google is not damning H.264. They didn’t claim they are going with WebM because H.264 (or any proprietary technology) is bad – just that they believe in open source, including the WebM codec they invested heavily in. It will be hard to convert users/devs if they keep H.264 as a viable fallback.
There is already a lot of criticism of Google’s move in both the original blog comments and elsewhere. I should remind those critics that you didn’t choose H.264 – it was thrust upon you by corporate entities. I know developers wish for write-once run-everywhere, but if the browser wars taught us nothing else, it’s that this will never happen. The browsers still aren’t standardized – just try and do a simple background gradation with CSS3. But these repetitive tasks are a good thing – and why the web isn’t still dominated by IE 6, and is in effect, moving forward.
Go to the BetterVideo blog to read the whole article.