Posts Tagged ‘Flash’
Tags: Adobe, Android, Flash, Frash, ipad, iPhone 3gS, iphone 4
Tags: Admob, Adobe, antitrust, App store, Apple, Developers, Flash, Google, regulators
Posted 10 June 2010 09:07am by Patricio Robles
Apple’s rise to the top of the tech world has been marked just as much by controversy as it has by success in the mobile market. The company’s desire for control has made it a target for critics, and potentially for regulators.
Apple attracted the spotlight when it implemented new rules that essentially killed Adobe’s iPhone/iPad ambitions by making it clear that apps developed using Adobe’s Packager for iPhone tool contained in the newest version Flash Professional would not make it into the App Store. And its dislike for Flash was made abundantly clear when the iPad was unveiled, sans Flash support.
Despite the fact that Apple did receive criticism for its position vis-à-vis Flash, Flash isn’t the easiest victim to sympathize with given how unpopular it is in many camps.
But the new Apple policy announced on Monday may be the most problematic yet. This policy deals with Section 3.3.9 of Apple’s developer agreement, which now reads:
You and Your Applications may not collect, use, or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior user consent, and then only under the following conditions:
- The collection, use or disclosure is necessary in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application. For example, without Apple’s prior written consent, You may not use third party analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.
- The collection, use or disclosure is for the purpose of serving advertising to Your Application; is provided to an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent); and the disclosure is limited to UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes.
The implication of this language is quite obvious: if you’re an iPhone/iPad developer, you cannot monetize your apps using Google-owned mobile advertising network, AdMob.
Unless Apple has a change of heart, AdMob and parent Google join Adobe as the latest companies to be expelled from the Apple ecosystem by emperor decree. AdMob/Google and Adobe are, of course, not small businesses, and they’re arguably some of Apple’s most capable competitors. Which begs the question: is Apple really this dumb?
While there’s a strong argument to be made that Apple should have the right to set the terms developers have to abide by if they want to develop for the iPhone and iPad, Apple isn’t creating much plausible deniability here. It is clearly trying to keep specific companies from playing a part in its ecosystem. Even for those of us who think Apple should be allowed to make bad strategic decisions (and eventually pay the price for them), there can be little doubt that Apple is serving up a juicy steak for hungry antitrust regulators, as my colleague wrote in her post yesterday.
Given Apple’s ‘gloves off‘ approach to keeping its competitors from participating in the iPhone/iPad economy, it seems that government action is a ‘when, not if‘ matter. Apple’s behavior, whether legal or not, meets the established definition of ‘anticompetitive‘, as established by bureacrats, and regulators must certainly recognize that if they don’t take action to reign it in, many of the arguments they’ve made over the years in other antitrust cases will look downright hypocritical and incredulous.
Clearly, Apple doesn’t think it can become the next Microsoft. Perhaps it’s the result of pure arrogance, or maybe naivety. Or perhaps it’s a result of the fact that Apple has played the role of underdog for so long. Whatever the case, Steve Jobs is on the brink of becoming the next Bill Gates — something he probably won’t relish.
It didn’t have to be this way. While Apple would have always faced a certain level of scrutiny given its high-profile position in the mobile market, it has enough power and influence within its ecosystem to allow companies like Adobe and Google to compete while still maintaining significant advantages that would have made the ‘competition‘ academic in nature. In short, Apple could have permitted companies like Adobe and Google to have a go at it, but still kept the control it has today.
Interestingly, by competing smarter, Apple probably would have been able to keep regulators at bay. Not only would the company be better off for it, consumers would bebetter off for it too.
Tags: Admob, Adobe, Apple, Apple Terms and Conditions, Flash, Google, HTML 5, IAB, ipad, iPod, iTouch, Quattro Wireless, Steve Jobs
Simeon Simeonov is co-founder and CTO of Better Advertising, a provider of online advertising compliance and assurance solutions. Sim is also founder of FastIgnite. Previously, he was a VC at Polaris Venture Partners and chief architect at Allaire/Macromedia (now Adobe). Sim blogs atblog.simeonov.com, tweets as @simeons.
“Notwithstanding anything else in this agreement, device data may not be provided or disclosed to a third party without Apple’s prior written consent. Accordingly, the use of third-party software in your application to collect and send device data to a third party for processing or analysis is expressly prohibited.”
This recent addition to Section 3.3.9 of Apple’s developers’ agreement appears to allow only Apple’s fledgling iAd service to identify, target and frequency cap ads in iPhone and iPod applications. No analytics, no frequency capping, no targeting of devices for advertisers that don’t send their money to Apple.
And If that wasn’t enough, changes to Section 3.3.1 disallowed Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) Flash and any other non-native technologies in applications and, on April 29, in a lengthy open letter Steve Jobs outlined the timeline for including Flash in the Safari browser: never.
We in the ad developer community have all been talking about what was really behind Jobs’ screed against Adobe and Flash. While some of this might be attributable to the defense of Apple’s magical user experience, there is more to it than that. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is acting true to its DNA: trying to build a walled garden with a premium rich media advertising experience at an ultra-premium price. What’s new and should be concerning to the advertising industry is the attempt to put hurdles in front of other rich-media advertisers to access Apple users even through the browser, long deemed the one place where the platform vendor stepped aside and let the Web do its thing.
While blocking non-Apple-targeted advertising from applications and almost the entire unwashed Flash-based video advertising ecosystem, Apple is showing pretty iAd demos with interactive HD video ads, and its sales execs are sending out pitch decks claiming “exclusive integration with the App store,” and other benefits. With Flash out of the picture, Apple would face few real competitors for a premium advertising experience. This makes the timing of Apple’s move all the more important. The iAd platform is based on the Quattro Wireless acquisition Apple made earlier this year after its failed bid for AdMob, which is well-ahead of Quattro in market share. Regulatory bodies in Washington have thus far blocked Google’s acquisition, based, ironically enough, on anti-competitive concerns. Now the same regulators are expressing interest in Apple.
Everyone knows that iPhones and iPads are as much tiny entertainment centers as anything else. So, let’s consider the world of online video and interactive advertising without Flash. Online video advertising is hard to do well, which is the dirty little secret behind that segment’s slow rise. Online video players are complex software that offers branding, playback, targeted advertising, audience profiling and analytics, playlists, social sharing, etc., while integrating code, APIs and streams from multiple parties. Even with the help of IAB standards, it has taken years for these pieces to come together nicely on the Flash platform that is controlled by Adobe, which deeply values cross-platform development.
Given the early stage of HTML5 technologies, the likely differences in browser support for HTML5, the disagreements between major vendors over supported video formats, and the increasingly dynamic nature of the advertising value chain, it will be awhile before HTML5 video advertising solutions (and the ecosystem of vendors backing them) reach an equivalent level of capability and flexibility. While many vendors have HTML5 video streaming, advertising and analytics solutions in various stages of readiness, everyone I’ve talked to says they are not exactly sure how these separate pieces will fit together.
On PCs and Macs there are third-party privacy and security browser add-ons, such as Ghostery, that innovate much more rapidly, but Safari on Apple’s devices is not open to extensions, so it is unlikely that iPhone and iPad users will have access to the same enhanced and up-to-date browser privacy and security features available on other systems. Browser Wars II may accelerate innovation and make everyone better off in the long run, but in the short run it means more cost and complexity for the advertising ecosystem and a bigger malware problem.
Apple has always done things its own way, with less regard for market share than for nurturing its brand and signature experience. This credo has kept Apple from becoming more like its competitors, even as its laptops run Intel (NSDQ: INTC) inside, and in recent years has made the company an enviable example to follow, pulling the rest of the mobile and PC industry forward. However, unlike in the past, Steve Jobs is not just running forward. Now, he’s taken the time to blow some of the bridges behind him.
Tags: Apps, Ecommerce, Flash, iphone, multichannel, Zara
My comment on the below article:
How many times have we been here before! Start with a mobile internet site before you look at applications. It is the wrong strategy to start with an iphone application. Please see my previous comments in my blog ‘Cisco’s Zoe Sands’ on this topic. Additionally I sat as part of a panel for an IAB event – Are apps more important than mobile sites?
Posted 06 January 2010 13:17pm by Graham Charlton
Fashion retailer Zara released an iPhone app recently, which falls well short of what a retailer could achieve with an iPhone app, in terms of promoting products and providing useful information for users.
The app offers a few pictures of its clothing range and new arrivals, but little else. Having looked at the app, I do wonder why they have bothered at all…
What does the app do?
While several retailers have been releasing mobile commerce apps recently, others are dipping their toes in the water by releasing apps which provide info on the latest products, and the Zara app falls into this category, allowing users to browse through some of its collections:
What doesn’t it do?
The problem is, once you get to a product, all it does it show a single picture, with no other information at all:
If I was interested in the jacket in the screenshot above I might want to know the kind of material it is made from, what sizes it is available in and, oh yes, the price.
There is also no store locator tool or even a contact number, which is a big missed opportunity, as customers who decide they like an item would surely appreciate this information. Indeed, a recent survey put finding the local store at the top of the list of mostpopular shopping activities for smartphone users.
If I did persevere and go to my local Zara store and decided to buy the jacket, other information might be useful, but this is missing too.
For example, why not provide the product name or item code so I phone or go to an assistant in store to check prices and availability? Why would this crucial information be so difficult to add to the app?
Retailers are supposed to make it easy for people to buy from them, but Zara is making its customers work far too hard to find and buy anything from this app. While I suppose I should applaud it for creating an app in the first place, it seems to have missed an opportunity to promote its products more effectively.
User reviews of the app
A quick look at the App Store tells me that many of the people who downloaded the app, presumably people with an interest in Zara and therefore potential customers, are pretty disappointed with the app.
Over 1,500 people have reviewed the app, so the interest is clearly there, but the reviews are overwhelmingly negative, making the same complaints I have just outlined about lack of prices etc, as well as the instability of the app.
Zara’s Flash-heavy website
More than a year ago, I included Zara in a list of well-known retailers who were yet to sell online in the UK and, while some like H&M and Clarks have launched transactional sites, Zara has still not taken this step, which is a huge missed opportunity.
Worse still, the Zara website is pretty poor, and commits the usability crime of hitting users with sound when they open the website, something which is intrusive, and an instant turn-off for many web users.
It is Flash-heavy, difficult to use, and like the app, doesn’t give any information on prices, products titles, codes and more:
There is at least a store locator tool on the site, but it could hardly be more difficult to use. First of all, you will only see the link to the store locator if you move your cursor over the bottom 10% of the page, then you have to select your continent and country from a long, tricky to scroll list.
After this, rather than making it easier for users by allowing them to search by town or postcode, or even pinpoint the area on the map, you have to scroll up and down a list of 40+ UK stores, before attempting to click on the one you want (the site scrolls so fast, this can be tricky).
Then, when you do find it, the information provided is the bare minimum; no opening hours, no description of where it is or map for directions, just an address and telephone number:
The continuing refusal (if that’s what it is) to sell online seems like a huge missed opportunity to drive extra sales, but Zara is not even using its web presence, and its mobile app, to drive sales to its stores.
Simply by providing some basic information and tools, such as prices, products codes, effective store locators, it could at least make more of its website to at least help customers browse online and find local stores. At the moment, it is doing all of these things either very poorly, or not at all.
URL Link to Econsultancy: