Google’s H.264 question

In The Practical vs. Idealistic Scenarios for the Near-Term Future of Online Video, Gruber painstakingly outlines the permutations of outcomes Google’s decision to drop H.264 from the Chrome desktop browser may engender.

There have been myopic rebuttals from the Flash amen corner, as expected. But no need here to go into why Google’s done it, as I’ve been chronicling Google’s growing hypocrisy as a necessary result of its chosen business model for many months now.

I’d like to add one question to Gruber’s list and it’s a simple one. Given that

  • Apple will have well over 200 million iOS devices and 175 million iTunes account holders with credit cards by 2012
  • Apple’s iTunes ecosystem is likely the most profitable commercial online demographics ever aggregated, with sustained, proven buying habits and the least purchasing friction
  • Apple will not add WebM hardware support to iOS devices (surely, not without some major Google payoff)

Google’s board should ask the current management this very simple question:

Can Google afford to write off the iOS ecosystem?

If the answer is negative, and there are no other Google shoes to drop, then this was a monumentally shortsighted move.