An interesting little battle is developing on the mobile front with video. You see, as many people complain, the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone does not include Flash support. Neither does the iPad. Coincidence? I think not. Steve Jobs has not masked his disdain for Adobe.
Today, Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE) announced a series of products designed for Google’s Android platform, trying to hush the noise over the “Apple ban” and throw its support behind the “more open” mobile platform.
Here is an excerpt of some good analysis from ReadWriteWeb:
Today at the Mobile World Congress 2010, Adobe announced several initiatives designed to cement their company’s relevance in a world where Apple, one of the top smartphone players, has banned Adobe software from inclusion on all mobile devices including the iPhone, iPod Touch and the soon-to-launch iPad. Without Adobe’s Flash runtime, thousands of websites don’t work, streaming videos won’t play and a number of online casual games are broken. Apple, of course, is fine with this, having worked around the issue thanks to the 150,000+ iPhone applications that deliver the same functionality…although sometimes for a fee.
Adobe, meanwhile, is focusing on the other up-and-coming smartphone platform, Google’s Android OS, with the launch of their “AIR for Android” offering. With this and the newly announced Flash Player 10.1, wannabe mobile developers don’t need to learn specialized code, but can instead leverage their existing development skills to build Flash and AIR-based applications. They can then have those apps run anywhere: PCs, Macs, Linux and mobile…including, surprisingly, the iPhone.
Funny how these little techno-political battles get in the way of making users happy, isn’t it? A while back, Jeremy Allaire, the founder and CEO of Brightcover, published a very good overview of the strategic battle brewing between Adobe and Apple on the mobile video front. It’s going to get nasty.
With the growth in mobile and an explosion of video on the Web, it’s only natural that the two of them come together. That means positioning your company for mobile video growth is so strategic. Will HTML 5 win because of Apple’s ban? It’s probably going to be messy for years to come. That’s bad for the consumer, which nowadays is forced to chose among a variety of propietary formats for mobile video.
I like Jeremy Allaire’s conclusion:
While it is easy to take a binary position in the future of content applications and run-times, it is evident that the competing interests of platform vendors, consumers and app and content publishers will ensure that this remains a fragmented and competitive environment for many years to come.
His full column: The Future of Web Content — HTML5, Flash & Mobile Apps