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Friday, 11 November 2011 11:33

Death of Flash could be a killer for Apple

Written by Nick Farell



We don't think Jobs thought that one through


With Adobe pulling its Flash product out of the mobile market there should have been opening of champers at Apple. After all its former leader, Steve Jobs ordered the death of Flash after he claimed it broke his toys. Poor design did not cause his computers to crash, he claimed, but Adobe's Flash.

Jobs' appeared to favour HTML 5 which was a much more open standard. At the time however few saw web sites rushing to adopt it. To remedy this, Jobs talked to all his chums in the publishing industry, particularly those who wanted to use his new iPad. However, he did not meet with much success and Flash appeared to be sticking with us. Then Microsoft, which had been pushing its own flash-like platform, Silverlight, started to get more excited about HTML 5 and there began a slow movement to push it as the new standard.

Although it will be a long time before Flash disappears from websites, certainly on the Mobile and Tablet front, Adobe has given up and said it will now support HTML 5. In the post Flash world, Apple is not in a particularly good place. One of the reasons it makes a lot of dosh is because it gets a cut of the huge number of apps that are developed for it. Developers have been penning Apps for Apple because it is currently the most popular. Android and Microsoft might have a bright future, but they are not there yet.

However with HTML5 on the scene developers to create just one app that works with multiple mobile platforms and that can be downloaded via the Web instead of app stores, such as Apple's. It means that instead of being the central depository of popular apps, Apple will just be one of many. Developers will probably avoid Apple's App store because they do not want to have to shell out to pay Jobs' Mob. HTML5 will bring a number of Apple's chickens home to roost. For a long time developers have been moaning to us about the number of hoops that they have to jump though to get accepted into the Apple App Store.

A universal adoption of HTML5 will mean that they just have to write the code, which will go across all machines. They may, or may not chose to to stick it in the App store but it will still serve the Apple client base. One developer, who does not wish to be named, said that once HTML5 becomes the universal standard, he does not see the need to bother with Apple at all.

“Apple have been constantly such assholes over the years, I will not be sorry to walk away from them. I can still sell my Apps, even cheaper, but if I don't need Apple I will not go near them,” he said.

The question is what was Jobs thinking? Apple is obsessively proprietary and its success has been entirely been based on everyone else having competing standards. With one open standard, it has just made itself useless.

Nick Farell

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