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Has Apple won the Web video war?

Various sources say video is rapidly moving toward iPhone- and iPad-friendly H.264 format--as much as 66 percent today.
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Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor on

With Apple declaring war against Adobe's hold over Web video, some reports say the Cupertino company has already won.

According to a TechCrunch report, some two-thirds of Web video are encoded in the H.264 format. This is up from 31 percent last year, it said, quoting Encoding.com figures. H.264 is a video encoding format which can be embedded within Web pages either in a Flash wrapper or natively using HTML5.

More figures from video search engine, blinx, indicate a similar 67 percent of video encoded in H.264, and adds that as much as 85 to 90 percent of new videos processed are in the format.

This is a win for Apple because the company is locking horns with Adobe over Flash technology. Apple's iPhone and iPad devices do not support Flash, and Apple's CEO Steve Jobs has branded Flash a "CPU hog" and an unstable platform.

Apple's devices, however, support H.264 video, meaning that these figures bode well for users who want to view Web video on their iPhones or iPads. H.264 video can be loaded on the phone or embedded on sites natively with HTML5, without the use of Flash.

Adobe's argument for Flash at the start was that 75 percent of Web video are encoded in the wrapper technology, although Jobs has refuted this by saying much of the video within Flash uses the iPad-friendly H.264 codec.

Adobe's response to Apple has swung from an incensed blog post railing against Apple, to a more peace-loving ad campaign launched Friday, proclaiming love for Apple and persuading users to "choose".

Aside from video, Apple has also blocked Flash from coming in on apps. It announced last month that it would bar apps made for other platforms but converted into an iPhone-friendly format.

This has led to Adobe saying it would shift its focus away from Apple. It has since aligned itself more closely to Google.

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