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Changing the game: HTML5 winners and losers

· Cloud Zone

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HTML5 is obviously a 'game-changer' in some sense. From a pure developer's point of view, the HTML5 game is pretty darn awesome -- especially for programmers a little frazzled by today's (seemingly-)geometrically-multiplying languages.

But what about the other game -- the business game, the game that has a real zero sum?

Andreas Bovens, Opera's Head of Developer Relations, lists these commercial benefits of HTML5:

  • You only need to maintain a single code base.
  • Fast deployment on any platform (as long as there is a browser).
  • Possible to use a wide range of existing libraries and tools: web is the largest developer ecosystem ever.
  • You only need to hire one team of web developers, rather than multiple teams (iOS, Android, etc.).
  • You are ready for a future with multiple screens, multiple OSes, multiple devices accessing the web (incuding your application).


(The rest of the Bovens interview is worth checking out too.)

So far, so awesome. But even if information (i.e., the developer's work) is always valuable (pdf) within competetive games (like commerce), it's certain that, from the commercial point of view, every game-changer makes new winners and losers.

David Cardinal posted a thoughtful, thought-provoking article on HTML5's potential effects on the business side of the web.

Unlike Roger McNamee, David isn't completely sure that Microsoft is toast. Not that desktop fade isn't real, or isn't likely to accelerate; but Microsoft isn't necessarily going to take a mobile beating standing still. The ideas behind Windows Live, for example, had been percolating for years before smartphones exploded and everyone realized that desktop computers were less cool than they once had to be. 

David's whole article is worth reading. But, for the tl;dr-er's, here are his HTML5 winners:

  • content providers (DirectTV, The Onion)
  • developers of cloud-based solutions (box.net, salesforce.com)
  • mobile device vendors (re. webOS, BlackBerry, Amazon (Kindle Format 8)

And his big (possible) losers:

  • Adobe (Flash)
  • Apple (App Store)
  • Microsoft (essence)

But even these companies might benefit in some ways (Apple: Flashlessness!).

Read the full post for full effect. 

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