HTML5 and Flash
The better part of 2010 was mired in a rather heated debate about the future of Flash. This was happening despite the fact that Flash Player 10.1 was launched that same year, coming after a major rewrite which saw it become a much more effective piece of software.
The whole discussion raged around the new HTML5 web standard being able to do a lot of things that Flash was able to do as well. Very rarely have there been so many message boards filled with geekery, bile and fanboyism related to a simple thing as new technology.
Of course whenever something new appears there are always some individuals that declare it to be the “something killer”, or “the dawn of a new age”, but usually those flame war discussions don’t spill over into the more mainstream tech media, not unless you have a high level troll doing what they do best.
The entire discussion was sparked and fueled by a certain open missive from one Steve Jobs to the entirety of the app developing world in which he basically declared that Flash can’t work on multi-touch and mobile platforms for a slew of reasons and that HTML5 is Apple’s focus.
This letter was the culmination of a rather long lasting fight between Apple and Adobe on various reasons, mostly having to do with each other company’s control over their properties and how said properties would be disseminated through the developer world.
Now all of this was taking place at the rather high echelons of the two companies, but at some point mister Jobs chose to step it up a notch and basically burn all the bridges between Apple and Adobe with his open letter.
Now why exactly he did this is anyone’s guess, maybe to hit Adobe stock prices, maybe because he felt the need to clarify his company’s stance on Flash, that much we don’t know, what we do know and what he knows as well, is that Apple benefits from a very strong base of fans that have stood with the company through thick and thin and he has been getting exponentially more acolytes thanks to the successes of the iPhone and the iPad. And what he basically did with the letter was to seed the Apple fanboys (or girls) with a hate for Flash products.
Being the major player in any market offers you some definite clout, even more so if you are a major player in a market thanks to a self-enclosed environment that keeps on growing, because as far as you’re concerned your customers won’t leave this protective bubble any time soon.
Let’s face it, he’s a troll, a very well placed troll with a lot of listeners, but nonetheless still a troll. And he was successful in igniting this discussion and keeping it aflame for a few months but just like any other troll’s statements it died down rather soon and cooler heads prevailed, but more on that in a future article.