I am really excited about the announcement of the new Open Screen project from Adobe, but again there is no sign of Apple.
The Open Screen Project is supported by technology leaders, including Adobe, ARM, Chunghwa Telecom, Cisco, Intel, LG Electronics Inc., Marvell, Motorola, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and Verizon Wireless, and leading content providers, including BBC, MTV Networks, and NBC Universal, who want to deliver rich Web and video experiences, live and on-demand across a variety of devices.
So, if the Flash Player is good enough for nearly every other cell phone manufacturer, what is Mr. Jobs problem?
In a related post, I discussed the iPhone and Steve Jobs: Calling Out Apple
Look at that list, a cavalcade of companies, many of whom went up against Apple and failed. Adobe, thoroughly beaten out of video editing by Final Cut, a bunch of phone makers who’ve been shown up for not having a clue about software or user experience design and some media companies with failed Microsoft & Flash based music & video services.
1. Has a lack of Flash harmed iPhone sales? No, not to any degree that matters. Many people view a lack of Flash as a plus, since almost everything Flash does from a functional standpoint can be done with existing web standards.
2. Will a lack of Java for example harm iPhone sales when “everyone else” has it, or will it harm the marketplace for 3rd party apps? No, noone wants Java, or Flash-based apps, they want native apps, running on their own hardware.
3. Did a lack of WMV / WMV&DRM support harm iPod sales when “everyone else” in the industry was doing it? No.
4. Did a lack of subscription services harm the iPod’s sales when “everyone else” in the industry was doing it? No.
The biggest format in purchased digital music is AAC, an open standards format created by Dolby.
Why? That’s what Apple sells for the iPod.
Apple can quite easily ignore these “all of the industry” initiatives, because *drumroll* noone in a million years will make a serious purchasing decision based solely on it. The user interaction and industrial design of Apple’s products are enough to get them the initial sale. This industry initiative is targeted to the needs / desires of Content producers, and phone manufacturers, in the same way that Microsoft’s music platform was designed to please music companies and online music stores – none of this stuff matters to the end user.
All the “the rest of the industry is doing it, and Apple should too in order to keep up” arguments seem to be desperately trying to ignore the fundamental lesson of Apple’s last few years…
Technology and media platforms succeed by being on Apple’s products, and wither through not being on Apple’s products -not the other way around. People don’t abandon the iTunes store because a network pulls their shows, they abandon the show, or torrent it.
I’m obviously very committed to Adobe products, but the simple fact is that Adobe and their formats don’t have leverage here. In the same way that music labels that refused to allow Apple to sell their music in AAC simply didn’t sell music, this is the fate awaiting Flash-only media in a world of Flash-less iPhones.