Whenever the tech community comes together for an initiative, either with a push by regulators in the EU, or on their own, Apple will almost always refuse to join the group and help create anything that doesn’t directly improve their bottom line. Apple is nothing if not consistent, and by consistent I mean reliable in not playing well with others.
Today’s example is the creation of the Alliance for Open Media (AOM), where Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix have all come together to create a new open and royalty-free video codec specification and open-source implementation.
Video is massive online, with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix using a huge proportion of the world’s bandwidth, and its use is only expected to grow in the coming years and everyone is tired of paying license fees to the likes of MPEG to use MP4 in their services.
Many of the firms involved in AOM already have their own next-gen video formats with Google’s VP9/10, Mozilla’s Daala, and Cisco’s Thor, but these otherwise highly competitive companies have come together to create an interoperable and scalable format so that it will run well across all devices. This technology will be better for the tech firms building services for this format, but also better for consumers as we will have a single codec that will quickly be implemented everywhere that offers higher bitrates in lower file sizes, for better streaming and quicker downloads.
So why is Apple not involved with the availability of movie and TV show downloads on iTunes? You will need to ask Tim Cook for the real answer, but that they are not included in the Alliance follows exactly how Apple has refused to join other initiatives that help the consumer. Apple only tablet and smartphone manufacturer that uses their own charger, so that they can have full control over all peripherals that their devices can be used with.
Apple’s business is all about locking people in, and not being part of an open initiative for video is exactly what you would expect.