InfoQ posted "Google Explains Chrome Dropping H264" which dives into the whole thing where Google's decided to drop the commercial video codec H264 for the "open source" WebM format. Seems a little odd because WebM has little support compared to H264 and is likely to be a long way from being as good.

The article points out that mobile devices will suffer, because H264 has hardware support available and WebM does not - which means my pretty little Android device is going to burn through a lot of battery life watching videos.

In summary, the decision to drop H264 from Chrome is unlikely to make any practical difference to content production of videos either for the web or for hardware devices. Content producers will continue to deliver H264 video and deliver natively or via Flash wrappers for those browsers that don't support it, as they already do today. Further, although Chrome is pandering towards open-source by claiming to be open, the reality is there are several other closed and patent encumbered parts of Chrome which are not being removed. Whether Chrome supports H264 in HTML5 becomes irrelevant, since all browsers support H264, either natively, or with a Flash wrapper.

Scary stuff. I want H264 instead of WebM - new standards are great, open standards are fun, but going against the industry for the sake of going against the industry doesn't seem too smart, esp with HTML looking at dropping version numbers.

I hate to be someone saying progress is bad, but I really worry about the nature of this stuff. It seems arbitrary; I know its got reasons behind it all but I think all this is going to make our lives as developers harder rather than easier, without making it easier for users to make up for it.