Posted Feb 4, 2010 3:33 UTC (Thu) by gmaxwell
Parent article: HTML5 video element codec debate reignited
My understanding is that the Sun OMS developers were laid off at the start of the Oracle acquisition, shortly after the release date of the code was pushed back. :-/ No code was ever released, and the website now returns an error.
The core licensing strategy of any encumbered format, media codec or otherwise, *must* be to set the costs for each party to be just under what their own cost of transition to something royalty-free would be, then depend on network effect to bring in the money. It's worked well for MPEG they claim responsibility for over $66 from every person on earth. (Also, checkout their development man-hour estimates. It's rather daunting to go up against that)
The startup costs for producing a new format, getting it tuned, building tools, and driving adoption is pretty enormous and the competition can just adjust their price schedule to reflect the new, lower, transition costs.
I'd like to be hopeful about there one day being a real MPEG royalty free baseline, but encumbrances in standards is a much bigger issue than just media codecs and the Internet. Consider the Rambus litigation, for example. This is a complicated and super-political issue which doesn't appear to have the resolution in sight. It seems to me that solving this in the standards body will require a complete overhaul of the status-quo, and there are a lot of organizations making a lot of money from the way things operate now.
The best I can see to do is to work quietly, implementing around the mess, and hope that where free formats can't gain ground that their viability drives lower prices for those that do pay.
What gives me hope for all this is that I can think of *no* area where a unencumbered format (like JPG or HTML) has become widely adopted that has ever been taken back be an encumbered format. Unencumbered + Network effects seems to be an unbeatable combination.
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