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


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.