So, like everyone else listening to the Apple-Adobe exchanges over Flash on iPhone/iPad (or lack there of), I have an opinion too, which largely I have kept to myself. Not that one voice in the cast of tens-of-thousands makes a difference it sometimes feels good to express ones self anyway. At this point Steve is doing is admirable job, demonstrating once again a strategic doctrine based on deception, misdirection, and the judicious use of force against enemy weak points (Sun Tzu would be proud) can make for an entertaining diversion.
So how goes the war or is it a battle? It started off interesting enough with iPhone being first to the field with a well organized supply chain of applications aggressively guarded by AppStore process and procedure. Apple penetrated the market rapidly and as device manufacturers scramble to bring products to market Apple follows-up with another blow – the iPad. If you were to believe the spin, one would think at times no one would ever catch-up. Adding insult to injury Steve snubs his noise publicly at Flash and Adobe. All of this stirs up loads of press, blogs, postings,… all containing truths, half-truths and outright bovine road buns. Oh, did I mention – deception and misdirection – well done Steve, especially that part about Flash being buggy, doomed by HTML5, yadda, yadda,…
In Silicon Valley though, when you have them by the developers their hearts and minds will follow. In the battle over developers, who is winning anyway? Based on Appcelerator’s survey prior to Apple’s announcement in January 90% of developers said they were very interested in building an iPad app within the year. By March this had dropped to 80% and with increased competition among mobile platforms showing that Android (81% very interested in the platform) is closing in on iPhone (87%), while Blackberry (43%) and Windows Phone (34%) have doubled and nearly tripled their developer interest numbers, respectively, in just two months. According to the 2010 Ovum survey poll of 217 developers found that the iPhone OS garnered the most support, with 81 percent of developers, 74 percent of developers plan to develop for the BlackBerry, 66 percent said the same for Windows Phone. Also interesting at the time was the Admob Publisher Survey (Mar 2010) in which 31% of developers surveyed (albeit 108) were developing for more than one mobile platform and almost half (47%) said they plan on developing on more than one platform in the next 6 months. Sadly Steve, more than 70% of iPhone developers plan to develop for Android over the next six months whereas only half of Android developers (48%) plan to develop for iPhone. Developers are in a word ‘hedging’ on their way to ‘trending’.
So why all the hedging and where could the trend go? You could visit Google’s campus and hear the buzz, observe the flood of hirings, and a whole building being sectioned off. Or why not watch the numbers as A Wave of Android Smartphones Outsells Apple where “Android-powered phones accounted for 28 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S., exceeding Apple’s 21 percent share during the quarter, NPD said. Research in Motion’s (RIMM) BlackBerry models led the category with a 36 percent share.” See also: Report: Google Android surpasses iPhone in U.S:
Add to this the inevitable explosion of imitators, that by next Xmas, will have spawned numerous tablets as are starting to emerge: Android-based tablets.
If you were Apple would you worry about a cross-platform development environment that could not only deploy to iPhone and iPad but also push the same code to all of your competitions platforms? And if you were a developer why learn 4 or 3 or even 2 SDKs when you can learn 1 and compile for any device?
‘Ou et la guerre’ anyway? It is not a real quote but in that way appropriate. What I really am amazed at is that anyone gives a damn about what Steve has to say about the tides of consumer interest and spending. Apple and Steve are playing the market positioning game, pure and simple. This is not about the purity of their platform but take and hold market share. And how has that worked in the past? Apple has historically relegated themselves to 10-15% but they seem to think that doing the same things will deliver different results? If they are not worried about the coming storm of cheaper and equally capable devices coming from the likes of Nokia, Motorola, HTC, RIM and HP supported by Google, Microsoft and others then they should be worried about the choices available to developers that allow them to not only create but distribute their applications across all of those platforms without going Back-to-the-ObjectiveC.
So frankly Steve…