Can see the analogy.
Reminds me of an issue of the satirical comic "Transmetropolitan" in which there is some reminiscing in France about the loss of their national language. They had clung on stubbornly but eventually lost when the truth set in: that no one really wanted to pay attention to their prized creations until they were in English, plus all the most popular must-see programs were only available in English (NOTE: This is just the account in the comic).
I see a parallel here. Google and Mozilla had been trying hard to push for an unencumbered codec, but they face the "English" of Apple. iPhones and iPads all speak H.264 (ONLY...and WANT it that way--after all, they're part of MPEG-LA). Most people don't care about this or that codec. All they'll do is complain when a site doesn't work on their iPhone. Considering the level of attachment people have to them, they're more likely to switch sites than switch phones, so Google's caught between the proverbial rock (H.264 is an encumbered codec...) and hard place (...but everyone else insists on it anyway).