Microsoft Brings Open Source VP9 Codec To Fledgling Edge Browser
As we discovered earlier this week, Microsoft is more keen than ever to get people to use its Edge Web browser. Admittedly, the browser is quite good, and I'm doubtful that the reason people refuse to use it is simply because it's not. Instead, if someone has been using the same browser for years - be it Chrome, Firefox, or something else - it'd require something seriously compelling to get them to move over.
Unless competitors start to shoot themselves in the foot, perhaps.
Nonetheless, in its next move, Microsoft will be introducing WebM/VP9 support in an upcoming version of its Edge browser that will first hit those taking advantage of preview builds. Both the WebM container and VP9 codec are supported by Google, and are royalty-free. Their benefit comes with being able to deliver great-looking video at lower bitrates, something that has lead WebM to become a preferred video format for many sharing sites out there - including reddit.
Right now, VP9 will be supported by a software decoder only, but Microsoft is working with vendors to introduce hardware decoding in the future. It'll also support adaptive streaming, and in the future, media tags and local playback support will be added.
Microsoft notes that it's keen on adding more relevant codecs in the future, something backed up by the fact that it's one of the few companies to be part of the newly-launched Alliance for Open Media, which will see a royalty-free codec created that major players will agree on.
This is all great to see, but I feel like Microsoft won't experience roaring success with Edge unless its it allows people to bring over the extensions for Chrome and Firefox that they love, or at the very least get its own extension store up and running.