Apple’s Steve Jobs appears to have a)granted Adobe’s Lee Brimelow’s wish and scr#wed himself and b)has Amazon, Dell, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm and a bevy of other mobile players wishing for many more happy returns by the Cupertino Czar to such faux pas plays in an unforgivably fast evolving Mobile Lite Device market.
Lets handle the SCR#W-THYSELF evidence with care.
With Apple’s Mobile Lite Lineup of device including iPod Touch, iPad, and iPhone so far, Steve Jobs is determined to achieve the dominant if not monopoly position that Apple II and then Lisa/Mac had but he could not hold onto in the Personal Computing marketplace. To achieve this goal, Apple has created a brand new Apple iPhone OS with some familiar but not identical tools available in the senior MacOS environ of MacBooks and Mac Pros. Then Steve has opened up the iPhone OS API to 3rd party developers for a nominal $fee but some pretty tough “quality control” conditions [and Steve is not the only one doing this]:
1)Exclusive Apple distribution of Apps – All Apps to be given away or sold for use on the iPhone OS devices [iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone] must be distributed only through the iApps pages of the iTunes Store or through Apple approved distributors;
2)Pricing of Apps to be determined by Apple – and percentage of all Apps sales goes directly to Apple;
3)Apple has final approval of all Apps to be sold – Apple reserves the right to disqualify Apps for a number of reasons including substantial functional duplication and use of automated code generation systems[this newly minted provision is what disqualifies Adobe’s Flash for a second time because the new CS5 Flash Bridge Flash converts Flash Player code to Apple Phone OS compatible Objective C routines].
Now Apple advances logical arguments why it must impose these conditions:
1)The Approval Process would eliminate cheap and poor quality Apps from swamping the store;
2)The No Functional Duplication provision should eliminate me-too duplicate apps;
3)The NO Code Generation Provision prevents poor quality Apps which rely on routines not finely tuned to the Phone OS environ. As well it reduces those apps that are targeted for non-Apple devices which fail to take advantage of the unique Apple hardware and software resources but deferring to lowest common denominator across all platforms.
However, these rules appear to do 3 things. First they provide the reason for the exclusion of all Flash and all Java apps on Phone OS devices. Second they also eliminate all the many code generations systems like UnityD, the previously noted CS5 Flash Bridge, Lazlo, Lua, and at least a dozen more code generation tools. Third, they allow Apple to determine who gets to play in “their” market regardless if the software vendors do the fine-tuning to take advantage of unique Apple iPhone OS capabilities.
Its Tough Economic Times in Silicon Valley
Despite reaching new levels of sales and profitability for major companies like Apple, Google, HP, Oracle and others, Silicon Valley has an 11% unemployment rate. The whole state of California has a 12% rate of unemployment. The whole US has an unemployment rate of 9.5 %. And the underemployment plus the quit-looking-for-work rate is close to 20%. Now what Steve Jobs is saying to a good portion of developers of Flash, Java, and code generation skills – “you cannot participate in My Mobile Lite Devices ticket to success because I want to create a monopoly like Google and Microsoft. And your coding schemes and methods threaten my control of my markets so go away.” To device manufacturers, Steve Jobs is saying “no consorting with other developers like Google or Nokia or I will sue you as in the case of HTC. Oh, and you better adhere to my software development standards”. And to the telecom carriers, Apple is married exclusively to T and ” you better adhere to my software standards too”.
So having snubbed a sizable chunk of developers and their users[close to 100% of web developers know and use one of Java, Flash, or code generation technologies] what can Steve Jobs expect? Yes, developers will likely switch to more open platforms like Android, Chrome, Meego, even Windows Mobile 7 and develop there. And it has already happened. Android saw 9000 new apps in March. Steve is driving the developer and user communities to the competition.
Finally, Steve has an upcoming test. In his very public and ugly diatribes against Flash, Steve has told developers to use the upcoming HTML5. But HTML5 is upcoming but slowly. Despite the nearly complete standards, there is almost no support for many of the new and innovative features in HTML5 by most web tool vendors [nothing yet in Dreamweaver, Komodo, Aptana, Eclipse, Netbeans, etc, etc]. So Steve is saying to developers and users switch to something that has no strong technology support yet.
But one developer anticipated this and has done so – Google. Now Google’s Voice app has already been rejected as iPhone OS app by Apple despite being fully coded in Objective C. So the Google gals and guys rewrote Google Voice in the Steve Jobs blessed HTML5 for both the iPhone and iPad. Google Voice has been available for iPhone since the end of January and has been tweaked for the iPad recently. Will Steve let Google Voice HTML5 edition continue to be used or will there be another banishment? Since Apple approved the Opera Mini browser – there is hope that the HTML5 version of Google Voice will be allowed.The question is of import because Google Voice + Skype brings free telephone service to the iPad as long as Skype to Skype transactions are involved. Skype to mobile or landline phone costs the Skype partner in the call extra.
So the test becomes -> will Steve allow Google+Skype to get a large phone enabling presence on iPad before Apple bring telephone service to the iPad or will Steve rule that Google Voice HTML5 version are also out of bounds? And what happens to Skype on iPad? Stay tuned to see if Steve passes Monopoly 101 or not. Regardless of which way he chooses, it appears Steve has already scr#wed himself.