[FRIAM] The new evil empire

Owen Densmore owen at backspaces.net
Mon May 31 23:48:42 EDT 2010

I think an interesting question is "why are apps better than web-apps?".  In other words, we were all on the bus that felt the browser was the new OS, and that web-apps were the new replacement for "old fashioned" desktop apps.  But now we find we were wrong, folks preferred apps after all.

Why?  What is the evolution we're seeing?  After all, wasn't last month's discussion about Flash vs HTML/CSS/JavaScript standards?  Where in heck did these puny little apps (not web-apps) come from?

Is the browser not the OS of the future?  Are apps back?  Have we lost platform-independence?

What's going on?!   :)

    -- Owen

On May 31, 2010, at 5:42 PM, Saul Caganoff wrote:

> The paragraph before your quote is pretty interesting too. Interesting tension between developers who want to monetize their apps and consumers who want everything free. Perhaps the App Store model is a good compromise where $2.99 is close enough to free to suit everyone. 
> Apple prefers the app model for two big reasons. First, it makes their products stickier, since you’re not just buying an iPad, you’re buying Apple’s whole system for delivering stuff onto the iPad. Second, it seems that people are willing to pay for apps while they are unwilling to pay for anything through a browser. So people will pay $1.99 for an app that plays some game when you can already play the same game for free on a web site somewhere. Maybe people think of apps as standalone objects that have some value and that they can buy, while they see web sites just as destinations that they go to and that should be free. But as long as people will pay for apps, that means that Apple can make money by selling them to you — and by preventing developers from selling them to you directly.
> Sent from my iPhone
> On 01/06/2010, at 5:59 AM, Russ Abbott <russ.abbott at gmail.com> wrote:
>> From: http://baselinescenario.com/2010/05/30/personal-computing-apple-google-2/
>> - Sent using Google Toolbar
>> Apple wants to be the new Microsoft. It wants you to buy applications that run locally on your computer iPad, and it sees its competitive advantage as having the most developers and the most applications (hence all those “there’s an app for that” ads). As Microsoft showed, if you can get a lead and become the developers’ platform of choice, you can benefit from network effects. ...
>> In April, Apple changed the terms of the iPhone developer agreement to prevent developers from using cross-compilers to create iPhone apps. A cross-compiler is a tool that allows you to take an application you wrote for one platform, push a button, and repackage the application for another platform (in this case, iPhone OS). The immediate target of this was Adobe, which was developing a tool that would enable developers to take Flash apps, push a button, and make them into iPhone apps. This simplest explanation for this is that Apple, as the market leader, wants to make it harder for people to develop for multiple platforms at the same time. “Write once, run anywhere” — the slogan of Java, but also the essence of developing for the web — is bad for Apple, and they want to make it as hard as possible. (John Gruber makes a different argument that Apple wants control over their platform and doesn’t want cross-compilers between it and the developers, but that interpretation is not inconsistent with mine.) In other words, if you’re number one, then openness just helps the competition, because if developers have to choose just one platform, they’re going to choose yours. 
>> So Apple is competitive; we knew that already. And they don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s; we knew that already, too. But I think the important point is that they are promoting a model of personal computing where most of the developers write for the iPhone OS, and if you want to use their applications you have to buy an Apple hardware product. 
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