Why companies are flocking to HTML5

“Something in the last 18 months kicked the HTML5 adoption machine into overdrive. Maybe it was tech giants Apple and Microsoft joining hands and dubbing it the future of the web,” JP Mangalindan reports for Fortune. “Maybe it was the HTML5-friendly iPad’s meteoric sales. Whatever it was, a recent wave of consumer-facing web apps from Amazon, Box.net and LinkedIn confirm that this much-hyped programming language has business’ blessing.”

“In development since the early-2000s, HTML5 was rocketed into the mainstream in April last year when Apple boss Steve Jobs issued a public missive deriding Adobe’s Flash and anointing HTML5 as the web’s future,” Mangalindan reports. “Now, companies are turning to it to cut down on costs that can soar when developing simultaneously for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android as well as to circumvent the headaches of varying app stores.”

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Mangalindan reports, “Indeed, adoption has soared. A recent survey from video search engine MeFeedia showed that at least 69% of web video is now available for playback via HTML5. Last December, that number was 54%; in January 2010, months before the iPad became a hit, it was 10%.”

Read more in the full article here.

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  1. If only the W3C could officially ratify HTML5, so that we could finally actually have a properly adopted standard against which browser developers could work…

    Also, if someone could pony up $80m per year to the Mozilla foundation, so that they could pay for the H.264 licensing to the MPEG-LA group. That way, Firefox can finally implement H.264 playback inside HTML5.

    Or if someone could perhaps convince the MPEG-LA group to waive licensing fees for Mozilla foundation, so that they could implement the codec in the browser. They can still continue to charge all other licensees (Apple, MS, Opera, Adobe and other public or private companies) who build commercial software that uses their codecs.

    It is all great that the forceful move towards HTML5 is rapidly spreading. It would be much, much better if HTML5 were an actual official standard, not just a draft (as it is now).

    1. The HTML5/h.264 license is free to mozilla (mpegLA has extended it’s “free” license for another 5 years) but they won’t include it.
      Mozilla’s problem is philosophical not cash (they are stark raving, card carrying, dyed in the wool free-tards and feel that the offer that mpegLA made to extend the free use of h.264 is just an attempt to “lock them down” into a proprietary codec. (even if it’s free))
      They don’t see google’s codec as proprietary because it’s “open source”. They appear to be blind to google’s masterful manipulation of what “open source” is in their android OS (which is , effectively, about as open source as windows at this point.)

  2. I have no doubt that the percentage of web video wrapped in HTML (rather than in Flash) would be even greater if:

    1. Firefox had the ability to natively decode H.264 (for which it needs a license from MPEG-LA; see above); and
    2. HTML5 were actually adopted as an official standard.

    Once these two are taken care of, there would be no reason for any content owner to wrap their online video inside some Flash container.

    1. The W3C has said that the HTML5 spec is not going to change in any significant way before being ratified, so there is really no excuse to wait for HTML5’s final confirmation.

      As for H.264 being native in Firefox, I don’t think Firefox necessary needs write a video decoder themselves to offer the offer that feature. Both Mac OS X and Windows can play H.264 natively, so all Firefox has to do is tap into those API’s in way that stays true to their open source ideals. Apple and Microsoft would probably offer assistance if they need it. There is still the problem of H.264 in Linux: perhaps Firefox can come up with a standard method of installing an x264 codec and perhaps mplayer so that Linux users can play H.264 videos in Firefox. If they don’t do it soon, they will be the only major browser relying on Flash fallback wrappers to show show HTML5 video.

  3. “…Jobs issued a public missive deriding Adobe’s Flash…”

    I’d rather thought of it as a “coup de grâce”, a “tiro de gracia” or other appropriate final “nail in coffin” type statement.

    Somethings deserve to be put out of their misery.

    Adios Flash, and just so you know, it was entirely your fault.

    1. No. I’m not sure if the two care one way or the other, but the licensing thing is squarely on the shoulders of the MPEG-LA. This group owns patents on H.264 and is selling licenses to everyone who needs to use their codec (whether for encoding or decoding) in their application. For Firefox to render H.264-encoded video (and AAC-encoded audio), Mozilla must buy a license for every single user of their browser.

      Recently there was a story about MPEG-LA allowing a free license (forever) for use of H.264 to the content owners who don’t make money. This is ONLY for people who post videos online. This means that you and I can now post videos encoded in H.264 online without having to negotiate a license with them (as long as we are NOT making any money from the videos). So, If I had my own personal web site, I could put my video online. Of course, this does not affect YouTube; Google still has to pay for every minute of video encoded in H.264, since Google is monetising YouTube content. In fact, Google must pay for two separate licenses: one is for having videos online, the other is for using encoders to transcode uploaded videos into H.264 for playback.

    2. Mozilla have already made the decision to oppose H.264 for ideological reasons. Neither Apple nor Microsoft forced them to do that.

      So the answer to your question is, “it’s just you”. 😉

      1. Actually, it is not for ideological reasons; it is for financial ones. They simply cannot afford some $80 million dollars per year, which would be the nominal price for the license.

        Mozilla does not have a problem with proprietary technology (witness Flash plug-in, among many others); they have a problem with paying for licensing of proprietary technology.

  4. Yet again, it’s Apple that is setting the standard on how things are going to be done against the vociferous, political rants of the Android crowd rooting for the outdated, bloated and power-hungry Flash from Adobe and the patent-infringing WebM from Google. Steve Jobs was prescient and practical all along and he has to face resistance and abuses from the loutish and frothing-in-the-mouth Androids along the way.

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