We had a lot of traffic to Victor’s post on the WebRTC mandatory video codec earlier this week. Given the news from Cisco yesterday we figured this warranted a quick follow-up post beyond what we could add to the comments area.
Quick debate recap
Engineers don’t like lawyers, and as Victor mentioned in his post earlier this week, much of the debate over assigning a mandatory video codec for WebRTC has been about avoiding the lawyers. While debate over the technical merits of H.264 vs. VP8 yielded no overwhelming winner (they are both great codecs), the debate has more recently revealed it’s true form as a mostly IPR related issue. The H.264 camp speculated that there could be legal issues with VP8 despite Google’s claims otherwise. There are certainly inherent issues with H.264. Which one has more risk? It would take lots of lawyers to sort through this and no one pays for lawyers to go to standards meetings. Even if they did, it wouldn’t matter – lawyers use arbitrators and the legal system, not technical standards procedures to work through disagreements.