I always amused -- and rolling my eyes -- by phrases like this:
but those plans were thwarted by a lack of hardware support and fierce opposition from some companies with vested interest in established commercial video formats
That's bunk. Complete propaganda. By that late date, video was already encoded to H.264 and FLV. I had already encoded THOUSANDS
of H.264 and FLV videos for studios and major companies by the time that Google BS came out.
We already had the WMV vs Quicktime vs Real fiasco in the early 2000s, and we'd all had enough. H.264 was the format, with a short interlude by On2 VP6 FLV. The ship had sailed, and Youtube was a latecomer. They got to the party at 5 a.m., after everybody had gone home.
Since 4K hasn't happened yet, VP9 has a chance. A slim one, seeing as how HTML5 development has been going on for years, and other 4K codecs are more mature. But like HD-DVD vs Blu-ray, it does stand a chance. This time, Google has Chrome, and can foist it on the world much like Sony did with the Blu-ray disc.
We shall see.