Microsoft has released an H.264 video plug-in for Google Chrome on Windows today, following the debut of a similar plug-in for Firefox back in last year. Meanwhile, the company has also confirmed that Internet Explorer 9 will support H.264; WebM video playback, as Google announced it would be switching to in Chrome and dropping H.264 in the process, will be supported in IE9 via third-party plug-ins.
Any Windows user, Microsoft insists, "should be able to play mainstream video on the Web." As for WebM, Microsoft has apparently been working with Google engineers on an implementation for Windows.
"Our support for H.264 results from our views about a robust Web and video ecosystem that provides a rich level of functionality, is the product of an open standards process like the W3C’s HTML5 specification, and has been free from legal attacks. Microsoft is agnostic and impartial about the actual underlying video format for HTML5 video as long as this freedom continues" Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer
However, it's not all hair-braiding and hopscotch; Hachamovitch also raises some questions about Google's decisions and stances with regards to open standards, and asks if the search giant would "fully support" turning WebM into a true open platform, as with W3C's HTML5. He also mentions the dreaded "fragmentation" word, suggesting that "the lack of consistency across devices, Web services, and the PC is a challenge for the community" and could have an impact on hardware acceleration among other things.