The European Commission's antitrust regulators' probe into the Alliance for Open Media's licensing policy for the AV1 video format has ended without further action.
In July 2022, the European Commission said that it had "information that AOM (Alliance for Open Media) and its members may be imposing licensing terms (mandatory royalty-free cross licensing) on innovators that were not a part of AOM at the time of the creation of the AV1 technical", which could harm other companies' ability to compete with the AV1 video format.
Netflix started using AV1 on mobile in 2020 and on TVs in 2021
The royalty-free AV1 competes with royalty-based video formats such as HEVC. Behind the Alliance for Open Media are juggernauts such as Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft and Netflix.
EU's investigation may have been the result of Roku's complaint in 2021 when Roku accused Google of anti-competitive behavior by forcing it to adopt AV1 through subsidiary companies such as YouTube.
EU ends investigation
No harm done, the European Commission has apparently concluded as it has ended its preliminary investigation without further action.
- "The Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) welcomes the news that the European Commission has today closed its preliminary review of AOMedia’s royalty-free licensing policy without further action," the Alliance for Open Media said in a statement.
- "Royalty-free licensing forms a foundational element for technological standards and the open internet, fostering innovation, choice and competition in the interests of businesses and consumers in the European Union and worldwide. This is why AOMedia’s members developed and offer the AV1 video standard royalty-free to implementers," it added.
Netflix and YouTube are already using AV1, but only on select devices and specific video streams. MPEG4 is still widespread in use and HEVC has a firm grip of 4K and HDR encoding.
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