Flash sites: You’ve been beaten by the anticompetitive stick

I’m no fan of Apple’s exclusion of Flash content from the iPhone OS.   But I acknowledge and accept that it exists, and that Apple customers represent an important and growing market share.  There are some valid technical merits to the exclusion of Flash.    You do use up more CPU power to play a video that is being resized from one resolution to another.  The video controls of most flash video players are designed with mice in mind, not fingertips.

At the same time I’m amazed by the entirely broken state of the internet at this moment when using an Apple iPhone OS device.

These are sites of companies who put 100% of their eggs into the Flash basket, and because of their overdependence on this single dependency, they now ignorantly extend their middle fingers to the entire market of affluent iPhone OS users.   There are hundreds, probably thousands of web sites that resemble these.  The incompetent developers responsible for these epic fails deserve to get “The axe”; along with the executives that authorized all of their development resources to go into a 3rd party plug-in that is banned on the most popular mobile platform.

I feel sorry for all these companies.  The amount of customers they are losing out on is accelerating rapidly.  This provides consultants who are highly skilled in the realms of Web-standards based programming to rescue these poor slobs from the mess that they have landed themselves in.  As a open standards focused developer, I have been lucky never to invest any of my time into learning to develop Flash content, and because of Apples move to destroy its competition, that decision is now paying dividends.

While I’ve experienced some amazing Safari-based web applications, you can be certain that they will always be at a disadvantage compared to native iPhone apps.  So forget about trying to access the accelerometer or the digital camera with an HTML5 app.  So anything that might want to access these hardware capabilities  is going to need a native iPhone OS client.   So the only legitimate way you’re going to be using chat roulette on your iPhone 4g with forward facing camera is going to be by getting the app through Apple’s approval process and into the App store, which is NEVER going to happen.

So maybe Chat Roulette is a bad example.  How about Skype.  Will Apple allow 3rd party videoconferencing apps on their new iPhone when it will almost certainly compete directly with “iVideoChat” or whatever videoconferencing product Apple rolls out with their new phone?  Probably not, unless perhaps a crowd of angry iPhone 4G customers shows up on 1 Infinte loop in Cupertino with torches and pitch forks.

Apple is reshaping the internet in its own image and as a independent developer, I can’t do anything to stop that.  If Steve Jobs could get away with it, I have no doubt that he would axe Javascript support on his devices too.  But until that day comes I’ll be taking the spoils I reap from helping people fix their broken Flash sites, and use it to by something other than a Macbook, iPad, and iPhone OS developers license.   If I can’t beat them, I’ll take any means I can to circumvent being forced into joining them.