Tech companies have made their hatred of closed video formats very clear, especially the kind that require the companies to pay royalties to patent holders. That’s why many of these companies have developed their own video formats, but that doesn’t really solve the problem, it just creates a new one by fracturing the market. That’s why some of the biggest names in the tech world have joined forces to form the Alliance for Open Media, a new coalition that aims to develop the next generation of free video codecs, formats, and other related technologies.
Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix today announced that they have formed a new open source alliance — the Alliance for Open Media — with the goal of developing the next generation of royalty-free video formats, codecs and other related technologies. It’s not often we see these rival companies come together to build a new technology together, but the members argue that this kind of alliance is necessary to create a new interoperable video standard that will work across vendors and platforms. While it goes unmentioned in the announcement, it’s also clear that none of the members involved in this alliance want to have to pay royalties to the likes of MPEG LA. As Mozilla notes, part of the reason for forming this alliance is not just to share technology, but also to “run the kind of patent analysis necessary to build a next-generation royalty-free video codec.” There is no dearth of royalty-free next-gen codec projects, of course. Mozilla has Daala, Cisco has Thor, and Google is working on VP9 and 10. It’s no surprise then that the Alliance’s first project is to create a new video codec specification that’s based on the previous work of its members.