Who will gain from a switch to H.264 over Flash?
After reading Steve Jobs' blog post on why Apple will not support flash on the iPhone or iPad, I thought I would do some investigation into who owns the patent. The best information I found on the subject came from the Free Software Foundation who states,
Information about the H.264 patent licenseby Brett Smith — last modified April 30, 2010 14:49
H.264, despite claims by Steve Jobs and others, is not a free standard—patents necessary to implement it are held by a group who requires all users to agree to a license with restrictive terms. Those terms have previously even been unavailable for examination online. We are publishing them on fsf.org today in order to comment on their unethical restrictions. The fact that H.264 is a commonly used standard does not make it a free standard—the terms of its use are what matter, and they require all licensed software to include the following notice:
There is no question that the h.264 standard is not "free". A group known as MPEG_LA holds the patent and according to Wikipedia, it is free for end users to use until December 31, 2015.
As the Free Software Foundation states, it may be more widely published and implemented as a standard than flash, but it is no more "free". I am most curious to know if Apple stands to gain financially from bullying the entire Internet community into using H.264 rather than flash?
If anyone has better information or research on this matter, I'd love to hear from you.