A string of emails exchanged between Apple CEO Steve Jobs and open source advocate Hugo Roy revealed that the Cupertino based iPhone maker is assembling a patent pool to go after the Ogg Theora open source video codec which is used in web browsers like Firefox and Opera.
The revelation from Steve Jobs came after he answered an email from Hugo Roy, who, praising Apple dedication towards HTML 5, also questioned the company's inclination towards the patented H.264 video codec.
He claimed that the patent had stopped Mozilla and Opera from using the codec in their browser.
To this claim, Steve Jobs commented that “All video codecs are covered by patents. Unfortunately, just because something is open source, it doesn't mean or guarantee that it doesn't infringe on others patents. An open standard is different from being royalty free or open source.”
However, in typical Apple fashion, Steve Jobs failed to specify who is developing the patent pool on behalf of Apple and what other open source video codecs will the company be attacking apart from the Ogg Theora.
Commenting on the issue at hand, Florian Mueller (opens in new tab), an open source advocate told the Register that “Multimedia codecs are one of the worst patent minefields out there, enforcement is aggressive and there's no such thing as a video standard 100% unencumbered by patents.”