Thursday, May 6, 2010

Adobe vs Apple is really about Flash losing to H.264

It is the talk of Silicon Valley. The Flash smack down by the usually reserved Steve Jobs. The return strikes from Adobe, which didn't really accomplish much, except make it look very obvious that the two companies are not talking.

It seems that Adobe's Kevin Lynch never really talked to Steve and it was naive to think that Apple would ever give up control of its user interface for the iPhone, iTouch or iPad. That was really one of the big issues. Flash could enable a common user interface across all mobile devices. Ah but that is when the chess match gets interesting.

It is also a fight about money. Adobe sells tools that allow the creation of Flash and it has a great business. Apple makes money too and you can argue with their tactics, but you can't argue with the success of the iPhone or the App Store.  I don't see too many developers complaining about the App Store model, as many are now rich beyond their wildest dreams.

HTML 5 and H.264 are here. Argue as much as you want, but the numbers on H.264 are real. I was surprised by the uptake, but it is clear that it is already game, set, match for H.264.


  1. Jim: This is still the talk of the valley and the ramifications are becoming more clear. Isn't this also about the distinct growth trajectories between the handheld devices (Apple) and the laptop devices (Adobe Flash, MSFT, etc). The divergence (not convergence) of the two paths appear to create a distinct challenge for consumers and tech companies trying to ride both horses at the same time. At SAP we placed bets on both with a strategy of On-Premise and On-Device because that is becoming our clients' expectations (along with On-Demand). Do you believe all tech companies will require these 'hybrid' models to participate in the economic/tech rebound?
    -James Rocha, SAP Palo Alto

  2. James, great to hear from you. Knowledge workers need to be able to do work on all devices, so it adds challenges to enterprise software providers to make software work on laptops and mobile platforms. Standard browser clients should solve this.

    On browsers, it is sounding like Apple and Microsoft are starting to agree on a path forward (e.g. support for HTML 5 and H.264).

    On Hybrid, there are issues, such as security and content storage (where content is stored) and the ability to work across on-premis and cloud platforms that will be things that need to be addressed.