Seven of the tech industry's biggest companies have joined forces to develop the next-generation of royalty-free, open source media formats.

Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Cisco, Intel, Netflix, and Amazon have formed the Alliance for Open Media primarily to create a new open source video format that can deliver high quality streaming across all devices. The group is part of the Joint Development Foundation, an independent non-profit organization that helps groups and initiatives with corporate and legal infrastructure.

Mozilla is to contribute its Daala video compressor technology to the project, along with Cisco's Thor and Google's VP10 codecs. The group aims to deliver a new video compression technology by 2016 or 2017. Mozilla said the alliance has been formed not just to share technology, but also to "run the kind of patent analysis necessary to build a next-generation royalty-free video codec."

"As resolutions and framerates increase, the need for more advanced codecs with ever-better compression ratios will only grow," writes Mozilla platform engineer lead David Bryant. "We believe that Daala, Cisco's Thor, and Google's VP10 combine to form an excellent basis for a truly world-class royalty-free codec."

The Alliance's initial focus is to deliver a video format that is interoperable and open; optimized for the web; scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth; capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware; and flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.

Some big industry names such as Apple, Facebook and Qualcomm are conspicuous by their absence from the alliance, although more partners are expected to join the in the future. The group will likely be looking at Apple in particular to come onboard to assit in making the new format compatible with iPhones and iPads.

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