EU investigating the video licensing policy of AOM (of which Apple is a member)

European Union (EU) antitrust regulators are investigating the video licensing policy of the Alliance for Open Media (AOM), whose members include Alpha, Google, Amazon and Meta, reports Reuters

Apple is a founding member of the organization. The group’s initial project – AOMedia Video – pursues a new, royalty-free video codec specification and open source implementation based on the contributions of Alliance members and the broader developer community, along with binding specifications for media format, content encryption and adaptive streaming.

In addition to Apple, founding members are Amazon, ARM, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix and NVIDIA. The Alliance’s initial focus is to deliver a next-generation video format that’s:

  • Interoperable and open;
  • Optimized for the Internet;
  • Scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth;
  • Designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware;
  • Capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; and
  • Flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.

Among the Alliance’s goals is the creation of a new, high-quality open video codec that improves core media experiences for all. This crucial to keeping your phone from running out of storage space or your data plan from pushing past monthly limits. But compression technology is useful only when it’s widely supported, and Apple was a major holdout — until AOM’s formation in 2018.

According to Reuters, the European Commission says it has information that AOM 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, but whose patents are deemed essential to [its] technical specifications.

“The Commission confirms that it has a preliminary investigation ongoing into AOM’s licensing policy,” a spokesperson for the EU executive told Reuters. “The fact that the Commission has a preliminary investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation on the existence of an infringement,” the spokesperson said, without providing further details.

The EU is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its policies aim “to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs, and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries, and regional development.” The European Commission is the EU’s antitrust investigation body.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.