Lie #1: Web Video is converted to HTML5
Only ‘some’ video on the web is ‘also’ encoded for HTML5 playback today because Apple abused its dominance to manipulate the mobile entertainment, digital content and application markets, by blocking on iPhone and iPad the de-facto standard for online media streaming and Rich Internet Application (RIA), also know as the “Adobe Flash Player”. Engineers from Youtube and Vimeo explained how Apple dictated the implementation of HTML5.
- HTML5 implementation has tripled their engineering time & cost.
“Apple’s stance also created significantly more work for sites like YouTube and Vimeo. In order to meet their users’ playback needs, their coding work could easily be doubled or tripled if they want to appear on Apple’s many mobile devices. And they absolutely do want to be on them. ‘You want your users to be able to playback video on any device they’re using, so we do the extra coding because it’s important to be on the iPad and the iPhone,’ said Vimeo g.m. Dae Mellencamp.”Karen Idelson, Variety, November 24, 2010.
- HTML5 was implemented in addition to Flash and not instead.
“Google has made it quite clear that despite its general advocacy of open standards, it believes there’s still quite a bit of life left in Flash. In fact, it’s even baking it into its Chrome browser. Today, YouTube software engineer John Harding took to the site’s official blog. The gist of it: while HTML5 is great, it can’t do everything YouTube (or most mainstream video sites) need.”Jason Kincais, TechCrunch, June 29, 2010.
- HTML5 is no replacement for Flash.
“While HTML5’s video support enables us to bring most of the content and features of YouTube to computers and other devices that don’t support Flash Player, it does not yet meet all of our needs. Today, Adobe Flash provides the best platform for YouTube’s video distribution requirements, which is why our primary video player is built with it.”John Harding, Software Engineer, Youtube, June 29, 2010.
Lie #2: HTML5 Beats Adobe Flash.
HTML5 is an embryo markup language (also called a ‘draft’) that is being compared with a fully mature, full feature object oriented programming language called ActionScript, used to build enterprise class Flash apps.
Never will HTML5 get even close to Flash and the reasons are:
- HTML5 is a draft created in 2008 that is not expected to become a ‘Candidate Recommendation’ before 2012 and is not expected to become an actual W3C ‘Recommendation’ before 2022 or later (Source: Wikipedia).
- HTML5 is a specification that requires years of efforts before new features and improvments can be fully deployed.
- HTML5 is not a programming language nor does it permit the protection and / or monetization of digital content without depending on another proprietary system such as iOS or Playstation.
- HTML5 is not 100% consistent accross browser therefore it can be visually rendered differently by Safari, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox or Opera on Windows or Mac or any combination of those. Some website might have parts or features that work on some browsers and not others, or render differently in each with additional discrepency depending on the operating system used (PC, Mac, Linux).
Meanwhile, Flash works the same everywhere and Adobe has recently proven its ability to roll-out breakthrough and new features in a matter of months if not weeks.
For instance, even though Apple refused to provide Adobe with a pre-release of the new MacBook Air in order to optimize Flash for it (screwing its own customers instead by removing the player), Adobe still cut the grass under Jobs feet by delivering a 10 fold performance improvment for Flash Player on all browsers, platforms and operating systems including the underpowered Apple MacBook AIR just weeks after its public release.
Flash Player 10.2 was demonstrated at Adobe’s world conference “MAX” earlier this year (see video below), is now available for testing at http://labs.adobe.com and will be officially released early 2011.
Flash Player 10x Performance - PC and MacBook AIR
Fact #1 - HTML5 is a Gigantic Mess!
HTML5 implementation is left to the browser… So what does that mean? It means that unlike the Flash Player which is the same everywhere and work the same everywhere, HTML5 is implemented by browser vendors, so basically Safari, Chrome, IE, Firefox, Opera all have their own way to deal with HTML5 and render it on screen.
As a result, developers using HTML5 spend 25% to 50% of their time making sure that each step works well on each and every browser, or don’t and deliver websites that will be broken in some browsers. Apple will make sure it breaks on IE, Chrome or Firefox and then will tell us “that’s because you don’t use Safari!”. Who use Safari anyway? 5% of users worldwide and 11% in the US! HTML and CSS are a nightmare I went through for years (I’ve done HTML and CSS for 11 years) until Flash came into my life. HTML5 is no exception.
Now who decides the future of HTML5? Google, Adobe, Mozilla, Apple… all competitors, most of which owning a browser, each with their own agenda, trying to block each other at one point or another. All those people have to agree before anything is added into the HTML5 standard.
Then, we have to wait for each browser vendor to implement the new features or changes. Did I mention that any browser vendor can decide to not implement a new feature at all even though it was added to the HTML5 standard? The’ve done it in the past and they will do it again, usually to block a competitor’s technology or product. When a feature is not implemented by any of the browsers then developers can’t use it, or the page will only work on certain browsers. A nightmare in a nightmare.
UPDATE January 12th 2011: a good example of what I meant just happened today: Google officially yanked H.264 (Apple’s and Microsoft’s favorite video format) from Chrome and did so with as much if not more legitimacy as Apple’s ban on Flash, creating however a new nightmare for companies maintaining video for HTML5 playback! How many time do those companies have to encode videos to please Steve Jobs now? 2? 3? 4? I lost track myself, but there is a reson for that: I do Flash and I never encoded any video twice. Ever. http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20028196-264.html
Meanwhile, Adobe has some of the best software rocket scientists on earth and does not need anyone’s approval to innovate. Its Digital Video and Rich Internet Application (RIA) technologies including Flash, Flex and AIR work everywhere in a consistent manner on the web, desktops, mobiles, tablets, IP connected TVs including all browsers, platforms and operating systems but Apple’s.
Develop once, deploy everywhere.
Fact #2 - Apple is Acting in Bad Faith.
All the above shows how better off everyone would be if Apple would have collaborated with Adobe to improve performance and let Flash and HTML5 co-exist, instead Apple decided to play hardball and propaganda becoming an obstacle to innovation through anti-competitive and unfair practices.
Apple tries to sabotage the browser to make it commercially useless by banning Flash Player and faking to replace it with HTML5 in order to protect application, movie, video and music sales on its AppStore and iTunes.
Let’s face it, who would bother to buy and install apps or game on iPhone or iPad if users could just browse to a web page and have the app or game right there? That is what Flash offers.
Also, Flash would permit secure streaming of premium content such as movies and shows from major studios directly in the browser, totally bypassing Apple’s AppStore and iTunes. This is not possible with HTML5 as it does not permit to stream content securely using protection mechanisms approved by movie and TV studios, which is a non negociable requirements for all premium video streaming platform such as Hulu and Netflix.
Therefore, by only allowing HTML5 on its browser, Apple ensures that no one will compete with its digital distribution channels (iTunes and AppStore).
Fortunately for us, both the European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission are giving Apple a reality check:
- EU constrained Apple to stop banning Adobe’s development tool to convert Flash applications into iPhone native applications.
Jacqueline Bell, Law 360 on June 29, 2010: The European Commission probe began in the wake of Apple’s April 2010 decision to require independent developers of iPhone applications to use only Apple’s own programming tools and company-approved programming languages when writing iPhone applications. The commission said Saturday it had been concerned that those restrictions could have ultimately curbed competition from devices running platforms other than Apple’s. Earlier this month, Apple announced it was removing those restrictions and giving developers more flexibility, the commission noted.
Joaquin Almunia, European Competition Commissioner on June 2010: Apple’s response to our preliminary investigations shows that the commission can use the competition rules to achieve swift results on the market with clear benefits for consumers, without the need to open formal proceedings.
- FTC constrained Apple to approve Google Voice application on iPhone.
- FTC is still investigating why Apple banned Flash Player and whether or not they are abusing market dominance to manipulate application and digital music markets in violation of anti-trust laws.
Fact #3 - Apple’s HTML5 Showcase is a Scam!
Apple had to spend a fortune and took forever to build their showcase, now used to mislead developers about HTML5 capabilities. Some of the country’s best engineers built Apple’s HTML5 sample applications, engineers that most company could not find even if they could afford them.
Mozilla evangelist: Apple HTML5 demos harm the open Web
Fact #4 - Adobe Flash Platform Rules!
Adobe Flash Platform, which includes Adobe Flash, Flex and AIR, has been the most innovative and advanced set of technologies for both Web video and Rich Internet Application (RIA) for over a decade.
During that period 10 major versions of the Flash Player, 4 major versions of the Flex SDK and 2 major versions of the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) were released, all introducting new ground breaking features and improvements, always pushing the envelope further than any competitive technology to date.
Adobe Flash Platform was not defeated by Microsoft Silverligh, Ajax, OpenLazlo, Windows Media, Real Media, Apple Quicktime, DivX, JAVA and will not be defeated by HTML5 neither.
As far as developers are concerned we have the choice between being the slave of iDevices or embrasse the Flash Platform which will sooner than later cover 90% of all devices combined.
If you miss Flash in the browser on iPad, iPhone or iPod, join the fight on LinkedIn: