Microsoft tries to help Firefox with HTML5 video

By Emil ยท 13 replies
Dec 16, 2010
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  1. Microsoft has updated its Windows Media Player plug-in for Mozilla Firefox so as to enable H.264-encoded video on HTML5 by using built-in capabilities available on Windows 7. The HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in is free to download but it's release is quite controversial. Even though Firefox is a big competitor to Microsoft's own Internet Explorer, the software giant has decided it's for the best if Firefox can play back H.264.

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  2. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,147   +915

    For Microsoft thats pretty nice for them to do :)
  3. TJGeezer

    TJGeezer TS Enthusiast Posts: 385   +10

    Yes - nice, considering Microsoft's highly selective bending to customer pressure for more open standards. Makes me wonder if the Ghost of Antitrust Actions Past is making the MS executive cadre nervous.

    Nah. MS is simply trying to play nice for a change. I'm sure there's no hidden agenda. No, really.
  4. lchu12

    lchu12 TS Booster Posts: 195   +9

    I guess they figured, if they allow more choices (in terms of web browsing) people will port over to Windows 7?

    Regardless, sounds like good news to me.
  5. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    More towards "If you want to want to use H.264 with Firefox, you gotta be on Windows 7".

    The sincerity in this situation is that through a Microsoft backed plugin, Firefox is basically getting free support for H.264. No doubt people will be against it "because it is Microsoft" or because the plugin inevitably will be supported (updated) only by microsoft.

    Keep in mind that at least in public space, Microsoft (well, at least the IE team) is on relatively friendly terms with Mozilla, so such an action is not entirely without base.
  6. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    In addition to that free support for H.264, this addon makes FF more competitive against Chrome, perhaps that is one aspect which is at work here as well.
  7. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    Agreed. In Microsoft's eyes Firefox is likely the lesser of two evils when compared to Chrome, even if Firefox has a bigger marketshare than Chrome.
  8. Microsoft is not being "nice", view this as a strategic maneouvre to further entrench h.264 and also limit uptake of WebM.
  9. Beware of Romulans bearing gifts...
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,167   +986

    I think this was done to expedite the acceptance of HTML5 :)
  11. The agenda isn't that hidden at all. It's just in their best interests for H.264 to become the dominant html5 video codec rather than WebM. And with the obvious exception of Ballmer, I do think there are people at Redmond that realise Microsoft's glory days are over and that they're going have to start playing nice with others or else become increasingly irrelevant.
  12. Microsoft like many things acts in its own self interests. If giving something away gets you something else in return they will do it. Intention is everything.
  13. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,690   +96

    @Guest # 12
    I'd say business and diplomacy pretty much works in this way, isn't it? Otherwise you won't be getting what you want in both instances.
  14. Well, the main reason why it's only for Windows 7 is because Microsoft has H.264 licensing already accounted for at the operating system level, allowing any program to utilize it freely. XP and Vista... not so much, which is why you needed to install / license specific H.264 codecs for them.

    With the Mozilla Foundation being the least able to absorb licensing fees out of all the major browser vendors (and ironically worsened by their relatively large market share), it's nice gesture on Microsoft's part and is about the only thing they can really do short of licensing H.264 on behalf of Firefox on non-Win7 platforms.

    Either way, I'm still encoding videos in both H.264 and WebM.

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