File formats exhibit considerable network effect: I install XYZ tools to read the XYZ files
you produce, causing me to produce XYZ files which ...
The same isn't true for Video cards.
It's also the case that unencumbered software is ZERO per unit cost software. The same would
not be true for 'free' video cards.
The dynamic is just different.
You are right that the level of inferiority is material. But even today Theora is simply 'not
quite as good', rather than 'so much worse that it would be unsuitable for the application',
like MJPEG or H.120 would be for web video.
Theora is good enough today that, if widely adopted, it would put price pressure on vendors of
H.264. The payoff math is particularly simple for web use: Both Theora and H.264 can fit
acceptable quality streaming video into typical broadband connections. If compatibility is
equal, H.264 must be enough better to pay its way in reduced bandwidth consumption. Between
decreasing bandwidth costs and improvements to Theora, this will become increasingly difficult
over time. ...
Frankly, the above seems like a much simpler an obvious explanation from companies with
patents in the MPEG patent pool's than the handwaving argument that they would suffer a
material increase in patent liability because of an optional recommendation by the W3C.