Today WebM introduced a developer preview of its open Web video format.

Described as "a broadly-backed community effort to develop a world-class media format for the open web," WebM is backed by Google, but includes Mozilla, Opera, Skype, Logitech and dozens of other partners.

The developer set includes the following.

  • VP8, a high-quality video codec under a BSD-style, royalty-free license
  • Vorbis, an already open-source and broadly implemented audio codec
  • Container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container

Microsoft has also announced it will support the VP8 codec.

"In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows," according to Dean Hachamovitch, general manager for Internet Explorer.

"VP8 is now a royalty-free video compression technology ("codec"), like Theora," the Open Video Alliance pointed out. "It's licensed using a BSD-style license." It was previously owned by On2, which Google purchased in 2009. H.264 was originally intended to be patent-free but was set upon like a wounded springbok by a host of companies claiming ownership.