Why #section331 makes Apple Beta and Android VHS

Remember Beta Folks, ok for you younger ones it was like HD DVD, one of those great formats that a still few use in high end roles but went the way of the dodo.

Today’s announcement of Section 3.1.1 by Apple.

“Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. ”

Of course this is aimed squarely at Adobe and the upcoming CS5 which will let Flash Developers port to the “I” platform. And as it turns out happens to be the biggest step down the road of turning Apple into the next Beta Format. Like Beta it will be around for many years to come and I am sure that many people (most much smarter than I) will be able to put forward lots of technical reasons why the Native only path is the best way to go.

But why did the public, yes not developers and not marketers choose VHS over Beta… because it was cheaper easier and OPEN. Sure when VHS was first coming out, Beta was better, but people didn’t care.

Apple got the jump going for the “people” aspect with the iphone… but the market is bigger than just the iphone and whilst Nokia still hold the high ground on numbers and devices (Sorry Apple users but my N95-8gb is still more useful than an iphone!), Android is on the rise.

Reviewers who have lauded the iphone and now looking at devices like the Nexus One and the HTC Desire which pack all the “wow” of the iphone with one extra little toy… OPEN Platform.

Now if you are a development company and can build a new game/widget/etc and output it via Flash to Android, Nokia, WinMo and all the devices that are on this.. but miss the “I” platform what are you going to do. In the medium term, sure you will develop for both, but not long term.

The restrictions of the “I” world are starting to bite and the noose is getting tighter, due in no part to Apple pulling on it themselves.

The times are a changing.. the rise of Android will see to that… the rise of the OPEN environment where people change things on their device without voiding warranty are coming….

This graph helps to show the rise of Android in the Mobile Operating System Market in the US….

Mobile OS Traffic Share in the US
(Source from JavaLobby)

4 Responses to “Why #section331 makes Apple Beta and Android VHS”

  1. There’s a reason why there’s a video of Steve Ballmer dancing around a room screaming “Developers! Developers! Developers!”. Because while Windows isn’t open, Microsoft provided developers with a better value proposition than Apple did, so that’s where they wrote their applications.

    Compare the offerings for developers:-

    App Store: Lots of customers, but you need to own a Mac, and take out a $99 developer license. And Apple can stop your app being useable at a whim

    Android: Less customers, but you can develop on any machine and you don’t even need a developer license if you don’t want to publish to the store. At worse, Google can remove your app from their store, but you can still publish elsewhere.

    Apple has the lead, but Android is catching up fast. A year from now, Apple’s restrictive terms could be their undoing.

  2. While I agree on your main point, I suspect the year long timeframe is too optimistic. Android is getting there, but is probably 2 releases away from mainstream users (froyothen gingerbread) where it will stabilise some of the platform fragmentation out there.

    Also WinMo7 will need about 12 months to ramp up in handset numbers before developers start supporting it in earnest.

    So.. Apple has 24 months to enjoy its walled garden before it starts to struggle.

  3. Have you been following @tomiahonen on Twitter? That guy nails the mobile market so hard (disclaimer, I use Nokia and he’s former head Nokia global strategy then again he also has a number of mobile patents under his belt…).
    He was talking recently about how Apple may have reached saturation and there’s not much that they can do to increase share. I think he has a good point.
    I seriously wonder why he doesn’t have more followers on twitter. The bloke’s been on the money for so long…

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