It is a joke. Relax.
Why would it "probably" be as patent encumbered as h.264?
Dark Shikari, a developer of x264, made an extensive analysis of WebM / VP8. Here is his summary regarding patents and VP8 (for details read the blog):
Finally, the problem of patents appears to be rearing its ugly head again. VP8 is simply way too similar to H.264: a pithy, if slightly inaccurate, description of VP8 would be “H.264 Baseline Profile with a better entropy coder”. Even VC-1 differed more from H.264 than VP8 does, and even VC-1 didn’t manage to escape the clutches of software patents. It’s quite possible that VP8 has no patent issues, but until we get some hard evidence that VP8 is safe, I would be cautious. Since Google is not indemnifying users of VP8 from patent lawsuits, this is even more of a potential problem. Most importantly, Google has not released any justifications for why the various parts of VP8 do not violate patents, as Sun did with their OMS standard: such information would certainly cut down on speculation and make it more clear what their position actually is.
Or use Chrome, which has a very neat inbuilt translation. When it detects a page with a langauge different to you main language, it asks whether it should translate it : Picture. Extremely useful!
So by doing this they are not serving their actual customers but bowing down to the pressure of school / testing entities. Interesting indeed.
As somebody who's not from the US I've never quite understood why TI behaved this way. But they are basically bowing down to SAT and other tests like this. Thanks for the explanation!