Skype To Use Open-Source VP8 Codec

Skype Logo

Microsoft’s VoIP software Skype will now use the open-source VP8 video codec, released by Google, in Skype 5.5 for Windows for one-to-one calling after its use in group video calls.

John Luther, Product Manager of the WebM Project, in an announcement of the new codec use said “Skype was one of the earliest supporters of VP8, and we’re really excited that millions more of their users will experience the superior quality and performance of VP8 video calling.”

WebM developers say the VP8 video encoder “has features specifically engineered to overcome the challenges inherent in compressing and transmitting real-time video data”, and that it was excellent for use in real-time applications such as video conferencing software.

MPEG LA, a consortium which has essential patents needed for the use of MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Visual and WebM, could compromise the currently royalty-free state of the video codec after discussions. MPEG LA gained patents after a call for “patents essential to the VP8 video codec specification used to deliver video images”.

Microsoft’s $8.5 billion dollar acquisition of Skype took place on 10 May 2011 and was Microsoft’s largest acquisition. Microsoft is yet to support the VP8 codec in Internet Explorer.

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