Microsoft’s Tim Sneath taunted Google this week for dropping H.264 video support in its Chrome web browser in a satirical blog post that frames the company as a language dictator.
In his post, “An Open Letter from the President of the United States of Google,” Sneath, who is director of the Windows and Silverlight “technical evangelism team,” likened Google to proponents of Esperanto, a constructed language developed in the late 1800s to be a politically neutral standard language for international communication. The idea was that Esperanto would be recognized as the second official language of every country behind its native tongue—highly idealistic, very ostentatious, and most important of all, railing against the fact that English was already something of a standard.
“…we are changing the spoken and written language of this nation to make it consistent with the form of speech already supported by the Language Creation Society. Specifically, we are supporting the Esperanto and Klingon languages, and will consider adding support for other high-quality constructed languages in the future. Though English plays an important role in speech today, as our goal is to enable open innovation, its further use as a form of communication in this country will be prohibited and our resources directed towards languages that are untainted by real-world usage.”
While some are shouting, “hear hear!” to Sneath’s snark, Google defenders continue to cite that fact that both WebM and Theora are open-source, while H.264 is not. Still others see both Microsoft’s ridicule and Google’s stance as more strategic moves in the video standards war.