Skype has announced today that it is preparing to adopt Google’s open source VP8 codec for all video calls. The upcoming Skype 5.5 Windows client will use VP8 for 1-to-1 calls as well as group calls, which have used VP8 for some time. This is definitely a boost to Google’s WebM open video initiative.
Google announced WebM back in May of 2010. VP8 is the video portion of that package. It is not widely used as H.264 continues to flood the market. Google hopes that the open WebM can overtake the patent-encumbered H.264 in time. MPEG-LA, the patent pool that licenses H.264, is keen to point out that they are forming a patent pool for WebM, which they claim does infringe patents.
This contradictory information has led some companies to hold back on VP8 use. Google claims there is no reason to worry about patent issues with VP8. We have to say Skype lends some credence to that. Microsoft is in the process of acquiring the company, and that gives WebM a little more credibility.