Steve Jobs email drops hint on Google’s VP8 open video codec

HOT Apple Computers + FREE ShippingNick Spence reports for Macworld UK, “Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs appears to be hitting reply on emails again, this time responding to Google’s offer of a free open source video codec announced earlier this week. Apparently Jobs responded to a Register reader at 4.30 am California time, sending a reply to the question: ‘What did you make of the recent VP8 announcement?’ The Register adds that Google has already started encoding YouTube videos with the codec and the standard will embraced by Google’s Chrome browser and Mozilla’s Firefox and Opera browsers.”

MacDailyNews Take: What to be a multi-billionaire or die trying? Get up really early (or never sleep).

Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day. Besides the short catnaps I take each day, I average about four to five hours of sleep per night. – Thomas Alva Edison

Life is something that happens when you can’t get to sleep. – Fran Lebowitz

Leisure time is that five or six hours when you sleep at night. – George Allen

I’ll sleep when I’m dead. – Warren Zevon

Spence continues, “VP8 is proprietary video codec, owned by Google and created by On2 Technologies, which forms part of a new larger WebM Project supported by Google, Mozilla, Opera and forty plus other publishers, software and hardware vendors. Google announced it was making VP8 open source on Wednesday, which should enable any HTML5 web browser and any video player to play video, clearly a potential rival to the Apple preferred H.264 codec. In a short reply, the Apple boss, clearly favouring the H.264 codec, simply pointed to a recent blog post by x264 developer Jason Garrett-Glaser headed ‘The first in-depth technical analysis of VP8.'”

Cade Metz reports for The Register, “Yes, Jobs responded with a URL — one that points to a VP8 analysis by a third-year college student named Jason Garrett-Glaser, who works on the open source x264 project, a free software library for encoding video in H.264.”

“After obtaining early access to the VP8 spec and code, Garrett-Glaser says that VP8 is “better compression-wise” than Theora, but he also says that the codec is ‘not ready for primetime.’ Among other things, he calls the spec ‘a mess,’ and he says that as a decoder, VP8 ‘decodes even slower than'” the H.264 decoder provided by the FFmpeg project. FFmpeg, he adds, is slower than other state-of-the art H.264 decoders,” Metz reports. “‘This probably can’t be improved that much,’ he says, referring to VP8 decoding capabilities. Google is unlikely to change the VP8 spec, but it and partners will continue to develop the software itself.”

Metz reports, “Garrett-Glaser also questions whether VP8 could stand up to a patent attack. ‘With regard to patents, VP8 copies way too much from H.264 for anyone sane to be comfortable with it, no matter whose word is behind the claim of being patent-free,’ he says.”

Full article, with copy of Jobs’ email, here.

Garrett-Glaser’s full article — which includes the gem, “But first, a comment on the [VP8] spec itself… AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” — here.

MacDailyNews Take: Google, you’re so transparent we can see right through you; except for that shriveled, black, evil heart that you try to hide behind bullshit corporate slogans and vaporware launch cartoons.


  1. Holy moley. So by converting all their YouTube vids, Google is either trying to force Apple to adopt this hack of an “open” codec (unlikely to happen due to Jobs’ concerns on infringement), or forcing them out of access to YouTube entirely (thus fabricating an advantage of Android over iPhone/iPad). Oh this is nasty ugly.

  2. Google really is becoming a problem. And not just in the sense of competition for Apple. They’re entering too many industries, gathering too much data, and backstabbing too many partners. THEY’RE the ones becoming big brother, not Apple. At this point I’d like to see Apple & Microsoft team up to fight Google, since Microsoft isn’t really a threat to Apple anymore.

  3. All I can say is that after all of this Google had better hope their strategy works for them, because they sure look like they’re out to burn down every bridge they ever had with Apple, and Apple’s not someone I’d want to be betting against. The Adobe alliance seems like an unnecessary spit in the eye of Apple. Like Google needs them anyway? Adobe, if you thought MS was trying to usurp Flash with Silverlight or that Apple was trying to make Flash irrelevant, all I can say is goodbye frying pan, hello fire…

    With most of these products now being very direct competitors to Apple, Apple is going to have no choice but to do competiting products, and as Microsoft and many others have found out, hell hath no fury like a scorned Steve.

    Maybe Google feels like it has no choice if they want to grow or they are afraid of being locked out of new markets. Fair enough, but like I said they better hope this strategy works, because I know Apple (as well as a growing list of other companies) will never trust them again. MS hates them already. The Europeans are chomping at the bit to go after them, as is our government, not to mention the telcos and cable companies. Googles list of allies grows thin…

    I also never really thought Apple would do a search product either. I’ve changed my mind completely now. In fact I’d be looking for it and their map product, and soon. I can’t see them possibly leaving such important facets of their mobile devices now in the hands of what is becoming their major competitor.

  4. “AAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” was easily the best quote. However, this is a great second best quote:
    “While the C code isn’t half bad, the assembly is clearly written by retarded monkeys.”

  5. It’s clear now what has happened to Google. A long time ago 2 guys in college started a search project. The technology was innovative. Then corporate strategists and sales took over. Stocks soured, but all innovation since then have been bought from outside. But unlike Apple, which fosters and perfects innovation others started, Google, on the other hand, either makes bad copies of good ideas or let early technology out of the lab before their time.

    Once there was a powerhouse company that prides itself as “the Dot in dot-com.” That company is no more, and I see the same steps being taken by Google.

  6. Despite the past, apple says that where they colaborate, Microsoft and Apple have a ” great relationship”…

    If Apple is pushed and if Steve Jobs gets provoked, they have the choice of turning upcthe heat in partnership with the lesser of the two evils… Better the theif you know than the backstabing one you don’t.

    Google’s biggest objective second to ruling the world is to take out Microsoft… Apple can really hurt Google. Apple will never let google screw them. Apple has options … Apple thinks different.

  7. “Google has already started encoding YouTube videos with the codec and the standard will embraced by Google’s Chrome browser and Mozilla’s Firefox and Opera browsers”

    When is this crap going to end. First it was ActiveX and you needed IE to access sites. Then it was Flash and you needed the pluggin to access the site. Now it will be this stupid codec and you will need a pluggin for that, or Chrome, Firefox, or Opera.

    How about an open standard that everyone can use on any device that supports HTML?

  8. “the standard will embraced by Google’s Chrome browser and Mozilla’s Firefox”

    Then kewl. That covers both WebKit (aka Safari, which is in Chrome) and Mozilla (aka Camino and FireFox) browsers.

    I seriously hope this locks OUT frickin’ POS Internet Expletive.

  9. Meanwhile: We already know that the Google godz suffer from Version 1.0 Syndrome, just like anyone else. The question remains, will they suffer from Version 2.0 and 3.0 Syndrome like Microsoft? That is still to be discovered.

    But love them or hate them, despite the lazy VP8 code copy-paste evident here, they are a source of innovative ideas. That’s a good thing. That’s not a Microsoft thing. And that’s a good thing too.

  10. @BSOD
    Both VP8 and h.264 are supported by HTML5. They are simply codecs for video. The “video” tag in HTML5 plays either of them, and a web developer can place multiple references to a series of the video encoded in a variety of codecs within the video tag. That way any HTML5 browser will play back whichever codec it is set up to decode. Obviously, just as it seemed we were going to be able to standardize on h.264 this VP8 bomb forces web developers to encode video in multiple ways (and store them too). Right now I don’t believe that Firefox decodes h.264. VP8 is attractive right now because it is free of royalties (h.264 is free now, but could charge royalties in the future). From what I’ve read, however, VP8 may not be able to stand up to a patent dispute. Time will tell.

  11. Just another example of Google releasing an inferior product to the freetard masses to have them hail it as the second coming in exchange for their privacy. When will people realize that there is no free lunch?

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