>[google] probably dropped the ball midway for reasons similar to firefox
Sorry, i really can't accept this.
Google absolutely had it in their power to move us away from h264. If youtube, chrome, android and firefox were all webM centric, it would become the main codec used on the web for video (to be honest, youtube alone would be capable of doing this). Users (that would be >60% of the web) would blame the content provider if videos did not work, forcing them to adopt webM, in a post-flash world.
Compare this to mozilla, with no online video presence, and standing alone, where users would blame firefox and move to chrome.
I don't really understand google's motivation, but perhaps they were (irrationally?) fearful of losing users to IE/safari.. or the influence of iOS?
It was a good effort from Google but just too late to win that particular battle.
They needed H.264 for mobile, just like Firefox OS because Apple had already made that the de-facto standard. They obviously came to the same conclusion as Mozilla, but being corporation rather than a charity they had less reason to be forthcoming about the fact that they'd failed to achieve their aim.
But Google and Mozilla are both key to the future of royalty-free codecs with Opus, VP9, WebRTC etc. particularly via the coming global dominance of Android so I don't really see where the benefit of pointing fingers and finding traitors is, there's plenty of villains on the opposing side if you want someone to be angry at.