Google’s newly announced VP8 WebM has been criticized by Apple CEO Steve Jobs as slow, buggy and at risk for patent violation. He made this observation in an email response to a software developer.
Google in the meanwhile has announced in its developers conference that it will recommend the VP8 WebM codec for HTML5 video. The original developer of VP8 was On2 Technologies which was acquired by Google.
The May 20 article in The Register has captured the screen shots of the email exchange between Steve Jobs and an engineer who had queried him on the new VP8 along with a link to a blog.
“Overall, VP8 appears to be significantly weaker than H.264 compression-wise,” that blog’s author, Jason Garrett-Glaser, a primary x264 developer and a third-year student at Harvey Mudd College, said in a May 19 post.
“The primary weaknesses mentioned above are the lack of proper adaptive quantization, lack of B-frames, lack of an 8×8 transform and a nonadaptive loop filter.”
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There was a mention of a potential patent issue also in the post. “VP8 is simply way too similar to H.264: A pithy, if slightly inaccurate, description of VP8 would be ‘H.264 Baseline Profile with a better entropy encoder,’
” Garrett-Glaser wrote. “Though I am not a lawyer, I simply cannot believe that they will be able to get away with this, especially in today’s overly litigious day and age.”
Sundar Pichai, Vice President of product management at Google said at a keynote address during Google developer conference, “HTML5 is everywhere. The question is: How do we make use of that?”
Google believes that the best solution is VP8 codec. The company is expected to get support from Adobe and Microsoft. Users will have to install a VP8 codec in order for IE 9 to support playback of VP8 video.
Google’s vision for open source VP8 WebM codec will get clearer with further developments which will also decide whether there would be any issues around patent infringement.