Microsoft Looks to a Future of H.264-Based HTML5 for Web Video Content


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Stepping into the Flash debate just hours after Apple CEO Steve Jobs issued his "Thoughts on Flash" letter discussing why Apple has elected not to include support for Adobe's Flash on its iPhone OS devices, Microsoft general manager for Internet Explorer Dean Hachamovitch noted this his company is throwing its weight behind the H.264 standard promoted by Apple for future HTML5 video content.
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.
Hachamovitch goes on to acknowledge that video on the web today is primarily Flash-based, and while Microsoft continues to work with Adobe on Flash, he also notes that it carries some issues related to reliability, security, and performance.

Hachamovitch's comments suggest that while Microsoft recognizes the dominant role played by Flash, it is also looking ahead to the future, where it sees a much more prominent role for HTML5 and H.264, a view shared and being pushed forward by Apple in its decisions and communications.

Article Link: Microsoft Looks to a Future of H.264-Based HTML5 for Web Video Content


macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
Seems like Microsoft is agreeing with Steve Jobs, but phrasing it so as to be more polite towards Adobe.

So, the two major desktop OS developers (Microsoft and Apple) are both pushing to move the internet away from Flash. Hopefully, that also means the end of Microsoft's Silverlight (a plugin which I've so far refused to install; Flash gives me enough trouble as is).

This is great for the future of devices. Flash, being a proprietary technology, is entirely reliant on Adobe's implementation. If Adobe can't get it to perform well, it won't. Thus, Flash for Macs has run terribly for years, and Flash for mobile devices has been endlessly delayed over the past year. The beauty of open standards like HTML5 and the H.264 video codec is that, since they are open, others are free to compete for implementations! Apple's now open-source WebKit rendering engine is one HTML rendering engine (used by Chrome, Safari, and Android's browser), Microsoft's IE is another, Mozilla's Gecko is another, and everyone can compete to make it faster and lighter and run on more platforms.

Meanwhile, every video player competes to play H.264 with less overhead, and video card manufacturers now build hardware acceleration into their cards, allowing H.264 video to be played with absolutely minimal overhead (which is why it works so well on the iPhone without impacting battery life).

Open standards result in competition to increase performance and usability. Flash has simply gotten bulkier and slower over time, because Adobe had no motivation to improve it (as no one else can build a better Flash player) and continued to cram in features. Then when called to port it to mobile devices, suddenly, they're facing a major challenge.

Kudos to Microsoft.

I wonder how Shantanu Narayen will respond to this.


macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
They're pushing Silverlight heavily in their Home Server products. You can stream your media over the internet but you'd be limited to Windows or OS X for decent Silverlight support. I don't know much about the Linux variant(s).

The Internet Explorer 9 preview had some colorful features and "better" standards support but it's not going to replace Chrome or FireFox for me.

h.264 playback via dedicated low power hardware is a big must for me.


macrumors 604
Apr 10, 2008
Ouch! that must hurt for Adobe. site developers will slowly begin to move away from flash for their video content I'm sure.


macrumors member
Jan 14, 2009
The Netherlands
Lol, M$ is really sucking up to Apple here..

Can you guys imagine how left out Adobe must feel at the moment? They must be feeling pretty low at the moment, for that even M$ -for friggin' sake- is following Apple's example.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2010
It won't be any good as long as IE 8, 7 and (ouch) 6 are still in the wild and in large numbers. Specially all those corporate/IT who are stuck in the past because of legacy/compatibility issues with 3rd party solutions. MS has really done a huge ammount against web standards and opennes, nothing they can do now will clear their name. But thanks for the Flash coffin nail anyway.


macrumors 65832
May 30, 2007
We all know that video content will move away from Flash.

Flash know this, and it has implemented H.264 support.

But for all the other stuff that Flash does, and HTML5 can't do, or can't do time and cost-efficiently, Flash is here to stay.

No matter what Steve tells you.

The sad part is, H.264 is also proprietary, and they WILL start charging for it in a few years, once they've sold it well to the mass of idiots.


macrumors 68000
Feb 27, 2004
Hooray for open standards.

(and death to IE6 - no longer will I support that disaster of a web browser :D)

Apple 1984

macrumors newbie
Apr 25, 2010
I wonder if Lee Brimelow will use his vast intelligence and vocabulary to craft a special message for Microsoft now.


macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2009
I'm no fan of Flash, in fact I hate that trash, but I wonder if it will be as simple a task to cut out all the annoying web advertisements once they've all been converted into H5?


macrumors 68040
Oct 3, 2009
If Microsoft also joins in, this will go through fast and easily. With all the control they have over the web, the adoption of HTML5 can actually be much quicker. I'm glad Apple isn't on its own with this idea!
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