And so we come to the question of Chrome and H.264. First off, it should be clear that video codecs are infrastructural technology. They are commodity algorithms which are generally invisible to users. They are ubiquitous and are “shared” in the sense that they are available for licensing often without much in terms of cost.
So they don’t really offer strategic advantage to the adopter. Some may end up adding slightly more to a cost structure than others, but not in a way that determines strategy.
Flash on the other hand is not infrastructural. It is not shared, it is not invisible to users, it is a brand, it has a significant business model and market value. It is sustaining to Adobe.
So the argument I’ve heard against Google’s decision is that they are using an infrastructural technology decision (a new video codec) to placate or sustain Adobe Flash, at the expense of Apple, a potential or perceived rival.
If this was the plan, it would be a strategic mistake.
When Apple promoted HTML5 as an alternative to Flash, the value was said to be in being an open standard, and in having better efficiency for device-based execution.
The problem is that there are no authoring tools for HTML5. Flash is popular because it’s fairly easy to kick start the creative process. You buy the tools from Adobe for a few hundred dollars and begin to tinker. With HTML5 you need to be a programmer, read arcane documentation, search for sample code and manually integrate results into publishing systems. That’s bush league.
iAd Producer narrows the gap a bit.
The bigger question that I struggled with is whether web apps are competitive enough.
“In all areas of software development, mobile computing is seen as the number-one hottest IT opportunity next year,” said Jim Corgel, an IBM general manager of independent software vendors and developer relations who was involved in the survey. “Not only will mobile spike to the forefront, but by 2015, respondents said it will dominate everything. The cell phone is no longer a gadget – it’s what IT is going to become.”
via IBM Survey Says Mobile Apps Will Dominate Enterprise – Venture Capital Dispatch – WSJ.
Developers are usually not very good at predicting specific business winners or losers (to prove this consider why developers don’t spend their energy and earn their living picking tech stocks instead of writing code.)
However, developers are very good at spotting long term technology trends. It was developers who championed the early internet and it was developers who saw potential in social networking. To see a survey of developers confirm that mobile devices will dominate IT, in contradiction to most incumbent strategies, is encouraging.
With QNX now firmly roadmapped at RIM and Android spreading among vendors like a virus, I wanted to point out that these operating systems share one ancestor: Unix.
A technical triumph
Technically Linux, which underlies Android, among others, is walled off from Unix from an IP point of view, but the philosophical and architectural lineage goes back to 1969’s Unix. It was an amazingly well thought-out operating system which has stood the test of time mostly due to its modular architecture. It was not always clear that Unix would make it this far, and in many ways it was written off.
As Apple overtook Microsoft in market cap and as Steve Jobs reminisced about some recent history, I thought I’d reflect on some of the decisions that brought Apple to the pinnacle of technology companies. The criteria I used to select these is how improbable and hence courageous they were when taken and how much impact they have had on the industry. Since the impact of these decisions could not be felt for a long time, the courage required to act early is all the more remarkable.
At the time they were made, none of these decisions did anything to move the stock price or cause great rejoicing. In fact, in many cases the decisions were ridiculed by those who should know better. Yet each one became a massive pillar of the foundation of Apple as it is today. As you read through, think of the decisions that Apple competitors made or did not make in the same time frame.
Top 10 Apple technology decisions of the 2000 decade in reverse order:
TEXT AND PICTURE MESSAGES
Text and picture messages will be deleted with this software update. You can back up text and picture messages by forwarding them to an email address.
- Open the Messaging application
- Tap and hold on the desired text or picture message
- Tap Forward
- Enter an email address then tap Send
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Daring Fireball Linked List: What Happens When You Upgrade an HTC Hero to Android 2.1?.
From the Hacker’s Dictionary:
[from the German `klug’, clever; poss. related to Polish `klucza’, a trick or hook] 1. /n./ A Rube Goldberg (or Heath Robinson) device, whether in hardware or software. 2. /n./ A clever programming trick intended to solve a particular nasty case in an expedient, if not clear, manner. Often used to repair bugs. Often involves ad-hockery and verges on being a crock.
The Progress of the Platform.
On why there is a ban on intermediate layers of software development on the iPhone OS.
But the reason isn’t technical. It’s partly business (Apple doesn’t want another company to control any important part of the iPhone platform), but it’s also in no small part grounded in aesthetics and the progress of the platform. Apple wants developers to do things the iPhone and iPad Way because they believe it will result in a better user experience and better designed apps. That’s an aesthetic, design-centered argument about how touch apps should be done. Apple has created tools customized to the iPhone and iPad; hell, they built a whole new touch-based operating system. They created a whole set of user interface metaphors that are supposed to be standard and system-wide, and they want developers to do things the new way not because Apple just loves power, but because they believe it’s necessary to force developers to think about the new world of touch-based computing correctly. All of this in service of giving users who are taking their first steps into touch-based computing a great experience.
Developers who want to write software for the iPhone have to write iPhone-like software. To do otherwise will hinder the progress of the platform.
At one point in time, J2ME (now Java ME) and WAP were the starting points for a discussion on mobile strategy and the web. Then, for a brief period of time, you talked about HTML/CSS. Now, for a growing majority of mobile strategies that don’t require a global presence on widely varying devices, the discussion begins with iPhone. Smart client is now iPhone app, and in many cases, the app is primary to the experience, not secondary to the browser. And iPad app may soon replace iPhone app as the starting point.
Frankly, as the adoption rate of iPhone increases and if iPad follows suit, it will become increasingly difficult to argue in favor of a starting point other than iPhone OS. The NPR iPad app, for one, provides a much more pleasant user experience than NPR.org.
via Cameron Moll: Designer, Speaker, Author The Mobile Web vs. the Objective-C Web.
Apple: When Will They Build Their Own Mobile Search Engine? – Tech Trader Daily – Barrons.com.
The opportunity here is not to do web search better than Google, but to find a way to index the information that lives on the iPhone ecosystem. With potential for millions of apps and hundreds of millions of iPhones generating usage patterns a separate mountain of information is emerging independent of the current cloud. The mobile cloud has different hooks and different relevance measures.
Mobile search will be as much about new algorithms as about getting a new way to spider the data.
It seems Apple is better positioned to leverage this emerging space than Google.
Todd Brix from Microsoft is saying the lack of copy/paste is by design
link: Windows Phone Thoughts: Windows phone 7 Will Lack Copy & Paste: Please Proceed With Your Screaming and Yelling
It’s amazing how precisely Microsoft copied the iPhone.