Video codecs have a long and convoluted history. Just to mention the main players/events:
The first standardized and wildly used was MPEG-2 that is used in DVDs.
After some "low key experiments" in the form of DivX, XviD, etc., the codec development efforts were split between Microsoft and the rest.
These two codecs WMV9 and H.264 were both present at the competition announced by Sony for the codec to be used in future Blu-ray discs.
It is hard to find out in details what happened during that competition, but the outcome we all know: both became mandatory in the BD standard
(WMV9 was re-christened VC-1). Both were also present in the short-lived competitor to BD - HD DVD.
To be used, codecs have to be licensed.
Special patent pools are assembled that decide how much the licenses cost and who gets what share.
MPEG-2 is known to be the most expensive in this list and cost more than other video codecs combined.
Every commercial player - software (WinDVD, PowerDVD, etc.) or hardware (Sigma Designs, Realtek, etc.) - pays those licensing fees.
Same applies to audio codecs.
When Google purchased YouTube, they decided to create a modern high efficiency open source (aka free to use) codec.
This would allow using free software to watch YouTube, aka no license fee for a decoder/player was needed.
For that, they bought in 2010 On2 Tech company and its VP7 codec. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VP8
That codec was improved and the next version VP8 was declared to not need licenses for decoding.
Nokia crushed that party.
They refused to FRAND-license their patents needed for VP8 distribution
So, Google set out to re-work the codec - VP9 - and find workarounds to Nokia patents. And that's were we are now.
The VP9 codec is expected to be comparable in quality/efficiency with the next generation HEVC (H.265) codec.
VP9, still in the works, is already (!) getting support from chipmakers (at the software level so far).
So, PowerVR GPUs - used in iPhones and many non-integrated CPU/GPU gadgets - has support for VP9 built-in
And so does MALI-graphics in the latest ARM CPUs.
Bottom line: internet technologies nowadays have a big influence on mundane and boring elements like developing video codecs.
Chipmakers believe that not supporting VP9 might have a negative efect on sales in the near future (due to the popularity of YouTube)...