Friday, September 10, 2010
Apple Open Up In a Flash?
We we see a reversal of a very public position we have to ask why and what the driver is. Today we have seen a significant shift by Apple towards its App developer tools and potentially Adobe's Flash.
We have all seen the logical rise of the Android platform. It may not have been the first to the market but it certainly has the right approach today to capture the ground on what looked to be a clear category killer –Apple.
Now Apple has announced that it will relax some of the restrictions it placed earlier this year on app developers and that it will also publish review guidelines for its App Store. Is this the long overdue climb down by Apple or an attempt to placate the people who feed the market – the developers.
Apple website has more than 250,000 applications for download – but previously had vermently blocked Flash but are now relaxing their rules so that developers can write programs for it without using Apple's own software.
The move has many layers to peel back. First it negates the threat of an anti-trust investigation which had looked possible after Apple blocked apps written using Adobe software tools. Second it positions Apple to slow down the clear shift to Android.
Market Reachers IDC now predict that Android will overtake Apple’s iOS platform by 2014 and will increase its current market share from 16% to 25% whilst they predict Apple’s iOS's market share will drop to 10.9%. This is obviously just a forecast but we have to acknowledge some significant sales of Android powered smartphones with the likes of selling Motorola 2.7 million and HTC 5.4 million smartphones in the last quarter and the likes of Samsung, Dell and LG still to make their impact. Andriod through its wide adoption by manufacturers is now hitting Apple both in the US and in the wider global market.
Third it potentially lifts the threat of investigation by either the United StatesDepartment of Justice or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into complaints from AdMob, an analytic firm Google purchased earlier, that it was being shut out of iOS and couldn't collect statistics about ads on that operating system.
In April, Steve Jobs published his infamous open letter to Adobe "Thoughts on Flash", which was very scathing on Flash's performance, security, reliability and usability on a touchscreen device. We welcome the new move and now hope that Flash can at last be used on the Apple platform and Steve Jobs will step back from forcing the industry to spend development effort in order to protect his business.
However we have to be cautious as exactly what Apple will allow and how it will allow it but the wind is certainly shifting and for the good of all.