Google announced it will remove H.264 support from future versions of its Chrome Web browser to encourage support for royalty-free codecs like the company's own WebM format.
In an effort to provide a viable open alternative to H.264, Google acquired video technology company On2 and opened up the company’s competitive VP8 codec, creating a new royalty-free media format called WebM. Support for WebM has since been added to Firefox, Opera, and Chrome. Microsoft and Apple have declined to adopt the new royalty-free format, however, and have remained committed to supporting H.264 in their browsers. Apple favors H.264 because its quality is still considered technically superior and because it already has robust hardware-accelerated decoding support supported Apple’s popular devices.
Google appeared to favor the pragmatic approach and had opted to support both formats in its own browser, but is now moving towards a fully open approach. In a post on the official Chromium blog, Google says that the benefits of an open format outweigh the pragmatic advantages of supporting H.264. The company believes that innovation, in the long term, will be best served by an open technology ecosystem.