Microsoft: The future of the web is HTML5; IE9 HTML5 will support playback of H.264 video only

invisibleSHIELD case for iPadOn “The Windows Internet Explorer Weblog,” Microsoft’s Internet Explorer’s General Manager, Dean Hachamovitch writes, verbatim:

There’s been a lot of posting about video and video formats on the web recently. This is a good opportunity to talk about Microsoft’s point of view.

The future of the web is HTML5. Microsoft is deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C. HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design. The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only.

H.264 is an industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support. Because of this standardization, you can easily take what you record on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support (e.g. a PC with Windows 7). Recently, we publicly showed IE9 playing H.264-encoded video from YouTube. You can read about the benefits of hardware acceleration here, or see an example of the benefits at the 26:35 mark here. For all these reasons, we’re focusing our HTML5 video support on H.264.

Other codecs often come up in these discussions. The distinction between the availability of source code and the ownership of the intellectual property in that available source code is critical. Today, intellectual property rights for H.264 are broadly available through a well-defined program managed by MPEG LA. The rights to other codecs are often less clear, as has been described in the press. Of course, developers can rely on the H.264 codec and hardware acceleration support of the underlying operating system, like Windows 7, without paying any additional royalty.

Today, video on the web is predominantly Flash-based. While video may be available in other formats, the ease of accessing video using just a browser on a particular website without using Flash is a challenge for typical consumers. Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance. We work closely with engineers at Adobe, sharing information about the issues we know of in ongoing technical discussions. Despite these issues, Flash remains an important part of delivering a good consumer experience on today’s web.

Dean Hachamovitch
General Manager, Internet Explorer

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Despite his last paragraph, which over time is and will become less and less true, this is a big nail in Flash video’s coffin. Die, Flash, die.

Note to advertisers: (including those who advertise via third-party ad networks and become, in effect, our advertisers): Your Flash-based ads are no longer reaching the most well-heeled customers online: 50+ million iPhone owners. They’re also not hitting brand new iPad users or 35+ million iPod touch users. If you care about reaching people with discretionary income, you might want to consider dumping your flash-based ads and moving to a more open format that people with money and the will to spend it can actually see.

Help kill Adobe’s Flash:
• Ask MarketWatch to offer HTML5 video via the customer support web form here.
• Ask CNBC to offer HTML5 video via the customer support web form here.
• Contact Hulu and ask them to offer HTML5 video via email:
• Ask ESPN360 to offer HTML5 video instead Flash via their feedback page here.
• Join YouTube’s HTML5 beta here.
• On Vimeo, click the “Switch to HTML5 player” link below any video.

By the way, do not buy Adobe’s Photoshop Elements until you have tried Pixelmator’s free 30-day trial. We use Pixelmator daily.


  1. Anyone else checking the calendar? I think we had April Fool’s day about a month ago… I’m trying to figure out how we ended up on the same side as M$ on any issue.

    Oh well… oh happy day!!

  2. “IE9 will support H.264 video playback only.” Never mind Flash; does that mean it won’t support VC-1, Microsoft’s own codec used by Windows Media Video 9…?

  3. A bit surprising. Microsoft mentioning support for HTML5 at this point could almost be interpreted as them siding with Apple against Adobe. Of course, Microsoft can never be trusted. And of course, they claim to be capable of handling every and all formats. And it’s all a game. But still, I’m just a tiny bit impressed by them choosing to make such a comment right now.

  4. Looks like somebody at MSFT didn’t like Steve Jobs stealing the show with his bullet-proof indictment of Flash yesterday.

    Sounds more like a “me too!” statement. “We still exist, you know… We will be rolling out a new version of IE, you know…”

  5. Loving this….Apple, Microsoft, Google….all killing flash in favor of HTML5. What a bad week for Adobe. They need to do what Jobs told them to do. They need to dump flash and develop HTML5 tools to stay alive.

    Kill the Flash stuff. Kill the Flash stuff. (Sung to the tune of “Kill the Wabbit”)

    @onionhead: No. It will be more snappy!!! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Was interesting to find out from Jobs open letter that Apple customers make up about HALF of Adobe’s software users….

    Adobe better start climbing down off it’s high horse real fast, because if someone starts providing PS and ILLUSTRATOR alternatives, they WILL loose half their business

    Heel Adobe, heel!

  7. When the 800 lb. gorilla in the room stands behind you, it’s a big deal.

    @Ludor… it’s not such a big surprise.

    The EU has been looking at Microsoft with great displeasure for quite a while. Didn’t they slap a 1.5 billion dollar (or was it Euro) fine on MS last year over Internet Explorer bundling (or something)?

    MS either has to change some of their practices or crank out EU versions of Vista or W7 or whatever that XP skinning project is called these days. It’s a little cheaper to support standards at this point, than ship 64 versions of their OS instead of just 30.

    MS is being dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
    Adobe has been getting a little shrill lately, too.
    Maybe we should send them both crates of Midol.

  8. Too Hot: “Sounds more like a ’me too!’ statement.”

    I agree. And it’s becoming rather common for ol’ Microsoft these days, don’t you think?

    Speaking of which: What if we would compare this Flash debate of the past few weeks to the time a couple of years ago, when the debate about movie HD formats was on?

    Maybe there’s no direct comparison. I just came to think of how HD-DVDs strategy fell apart once Warner (or whoever) decided to go for Bluray, and then everybody else followed suit.

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