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What I mean more specifically is that a group like MPEG-LA could be lobbied more effectively by Firefox to produce some kind of acceptable licensing model for open-source software and end-users if Firefox had stayed in the game instead of taking their ball and going home.

I think you're confusing MPEG and MPEG-LA, but either way you're mistaken.

MPEG claimed they were going to create royalty-free profiles of H.264 and then went back on that (possibly due to cunning political moves by Microsoft) and now claim to be evaluating a couple of ways forward for royalty-free codecs (a profile of H.264 again, or building on older MPEG 2 tech). It's fairly obvious that it was pressure from (primarily) Google & Mozilla that put RF codecs back on the table for them.

MPEG-LA reduced the uncertainty around their future codec licence payments, and as a result their maximum profits. Again almost certainly due to Google and Mozilla.

They didn't take their ball and go home, they negotiated and competed and as a result won valuable concessions that continue to have value as the next round of codec development begins.

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