Microsoft Throws its Weight Behind HTML5

| News

Microsoft’s General Manager of Internet Explorer, Dean Hachamovitch, weighed in on the Flash versus HTML5 debate on Friday to side with Apple. According to Mr. Hachamovitch, Internet Explorer 9 will only support H.264 video playback.

“We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only,” he said.

He added, “H.264 is an industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support. Because of this standardization, you can easily take what you record on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support.”

Mr. Hachamovitch went on to say that Adobe’s Flash is still an important part of the Web browsing experience, he noted that there are issues with the multimedia format. “Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance. We work closely with engineers at Adobe, sharing information about the issues we know of in ongoing technical discussions,” he said.

The news that Microsoft is openly throwing its support behind HTML5 and its media streaming features likely has Adobe’s Flash team at least a little uptight. The company has been openly fighting with Apple over the lack of Flash support in the iPhone and iPad, as well as Apple’s decision to block apps that are built with Flash and other third-party tools from the App Store.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs called Flash unstable, poor performing, and a potential security threat in an open letter on the Apple Web site on Thursday.

“Symantec recently highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009,” Mr. Jobs said. “We also know first hand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash.”

Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen, fired back at Apple by claiming any stability problems Mac users may be seeing are system related, and not a Flash problem.

Along with Apple and Microsoft, the list of big-name Web sites that are supporting HTML5 is growing. While Flash may be a dominant player in Internet technology today, the growing number of companies that are transitioning to HTML5 support is something that Adobe can’t ignore.

Comments

Khaled

Apple and Microsoft, eh? smile

iVoid

Microsoft getting behind an open standard? It’s Armageddon!!

geoduck

It’s not looking good for Flash. All the the dominoes are falling into place. All the cards are coming together. The snowball is growing and gathering steam. A year from now: Checkmate. It’ll be time for the last few Flash developers to jump ship without a parachute.

ctopher

Don’t worry Adobe, behind every cloud is a silverlight.

Lee Dronick

Don?t worry Adobe, behind every cloud is a silverlight.

Good one! We need a rimshot emoticon

The snowball is growing and gathering steam. A year from now: Checkmate.

Sounds like Jeff Goldblum describing to Harvey Fierstein how the aliens are counting down to D-Day:

Marty Gilbert: A countdown… wait, a countdown to what David?

David Levinson: It’s like in chess: First, you strategically position your pieces and when the timing is right you strike. They’re using this signal to syncronize their efforts and in 5 hours the countdown will be over.

Marty Gilbert: And then what?

David Levinson: Checkmate.

Marty Gilbert: Oh, my God. I gotta call my brother, my housekeeper, my lawyer. Nah, forget my lawyer.

Joking aside I do think that Steve Jobs plays chess with everyone and they don’t even realize it. He fires this broadside at Adobe which staggers them. Adobe opens up with a counter-battery using clearing charges that of course fall short (short rounds). Then Adobe has a hissy fit and says that they are going to “shift focus away” (that is not what is meant by indirect fire) and perhaps they will stop developing Creative Suite. At that point Steve will pull out a “one more thing” and shows us Apple’s Design Suite.

jbruni

I have a hard time believing MSFT is truly behind any sort of open standard unless they can find a way to extend it in some proprietary way.

Lee Dronick

I have a hard time believing MSFT is truly behind any sort of open standard unless they can find a way to extend it in some proprietary way.

It would be nice if they first got behind HTML4 and CSS.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

This really seems to be an orthogonal point to the Flash debate. Yes, Flash has been a convenient and popular wrapper for video, but HTML5 gives an easier way to present video content on the web using a widely available format.

H.264 does not wrap up interactive content though. Both Flash and Silverlight are appropriate and popular wrappers for such content, and will remain popular and relevant. He certainly didn’t say that IE9 would block Flash video, just that IE9’s video tag would only support H.264. He has said, in effect, that they’ll be serving Coca-Cola without specifying if they will be a Greek restaurant or a Sandwich shop.

Much ado about not much. Over on Engadget, their all flustered because he didn’t talk about Silverlight. Geez.

Khaled

for MS it’s better to support HTML5 over pushing for Silverlight. They don’t want Flash to be the major standard

Kirk

Well of course Microsoft is supporting h.264… the underlying patents are controlled by the MPEG-LA group of which Microsoft is a member (as is Apple).

daemon

H.264 is not an open standard. The only open video standard is Ogg Theora, the video format that was proposed for HTML5 instead of H.264.

Microsoft’s announcement to only support the closed format H.264 effectively puts an end to serious development of Ogg Theora based video sites.

xmattingly

It?s not looking good for Flash.

Well.. bear in mind that M$ does have a business angle to upset the balance a little more against Adobe by weighing in. Not that they are very quick to adopt standards themselves.

If I recall, Sir Harry tried out an HTML5 test page recently with IE, which scored a whopping 19 points out of 160. Wow, that’s bad.

Lee Dronick

If I recall, Sir Harry tried out an HTML5 test page recently with IE, which scored a whopping 19 points out of 160. Wow, that?s bad.

I was running XP, I don’t know if that makes a difference or not. Maybe Windows 7 or even Vista would get a better score.

A few months ago I ran Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to see if the HP I have could run WIndows 7 or not. In all seriousness I don’t know for sure, the test program ran for hours before I just cancelled it. I am assuming that the hardware is not up to minimum requirements for even their test, this on an HP that is about 5 years old.

xmattingly

I was running XP, I don?t know if that makes a difference or not. Maybe Windows 7 or even Vista would get a better score.

Newer OS’ could have possibly gotten you a better score (who would think Safari on Windows would do better than the Mac?), but considering that a large percentage of PC’s are still running XP, I think the low score is a very significant indicator of MS’ slow standards adaption.

Intruder

It?s not looking good for Flash. All the the dominoes are falling into place. All the cards are coming together. The snowball is growing and gathering steam. A year from now: Checkmate. It?ll be time for the last few Flash developers to jump ship without a parachute.

<head exploding over the mixed metaphors…>

Lee Dronick

head exploding over the mixed metaphors

Heads don’t explode, they asplode smile

Tiger

Sir Harry, you’re right. And there’s some heads asploding tonight.
One in particular seems to be very silent on this board this evening. (I just got home from a 15 hour work day, so hence my absence).

Flash is flushed.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

AAPL -7.55 on Tiger’s news. grin

Lee Dronick

Flash is flushed.

Flash will swirl around for quite awhile before disappearing up the siphon, it has a big installed base and momentum like that is hard to overcome.

wab95

Sounds like Jeff Goldblum describing to Harvey Fierstein how the aliens are counting down to D-Day:

Doesn’t Marty also say that he’s going to contact his psychiatrist? Mr Hachamovitch may sympathise.

As one ignorant of software programming/development, it seems to me that the context of the seemingly inexhaustible discussion regarding Apple vs Adobe on Flash is not the technical merits of Flash or even its current market share, but market momentum.

1) Apple is now the leading phone maker in the US, overtaking Motorola Motorola posts profit
2) Microsoft backs Apple’s position on HTML5 going forward
3) Microsoft abandons Courier
4) HP abandons the Slate
5) Apple posts record second quarter gains, thanks in large measure to strong iPhone sales, and projects strong iPad sales ahead
6) Even PC World questions whether there is any competition for the iPad iPad Killer? - meaning not simply that the iPad may have no competition, but that the iPhone OS platform, now on two devices with strong sales, is likely to gain substantial market share.

From my admittedly programmer-ignorant perspective, it seems that the prognosis for Flash is terminal. It’s only a question of how much time it has left.

Tiger

Wow, one announcement by Microsoft can account for all this?
Who knew? Microsoft even shot themselves in the foot apparently.

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Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Hey, I was joking. But I know why the joke was lost you. You’re “that guy” who ascribes some newscycle reason to a particular stock movement. Like on Thursday, when AAPL was up that amount, you tied it to the Flash letter. Imagine what would have happened today if Steve wrote another open letter rather than remain silent!

Economists and mathematicians have a lot to say about stock market movements. And philosophers pile on some bile too!

RonMacGuy

Bosco, we saw the smiley face, but why even post it?  A single day stock adjustment means absolutely nothing.  So why bother?  I have seen so many people on other posts with their “LOL"s and “Apple is tanking” when all they are seeing is the single day price and not the trend.  I enjoy reading a lot of what you post because it is interesting but these cheap shots are for the idiots on Yahoo, not you.

daemon

RonMacGuy,

You seriously can’t connect Tiger’s continous linking of a single day’s “stock adjustment” to any announcement from Apple to Bosco’s parody of Tiger?

Please go back to high school, you need to retake some remedial courses in reading comprehension.

RonMacGuy

Sorry daemon I guess I don’t have the history here. No need to fling insults. Trust me I have a much higher education than you do. grin

Tiger

Wow. Time to unclinch folks. For some history, Bosco and I go round and round. It’s nothing personal. All’s fair. Gotta have a thick skin.

What’s so funny about this one though is, I have 2 degrees in communications, could generally care a less about the stock market, gave up owning any nearly 10 years ago.

And Bosco even got my point. The numbers had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with MSFT, AAPL, ADBE, or Flash.

They rise and fall. Period.

Sorry for the absence too. I took yesterday off to head to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. I suddenly found myself in the crush of a crowd approaching 90k to see Pearl Jam. Go figure. But I also got to see Charmaine Neville, Irma Thomas, and Trombone Shorty.

Not to mention the food. Oh the food.

JulesLt

daemon - H264 is open. It’s just not free. There is a difference between the two, which I wish people would understand. An open standard is one that is publicly documented, and can be implemented without requiring permission - but is quite often based on one or more patented technologies, and some kind of licence fee/royalty system.

Generally speaking, it usually means controlled by a consortium, but even then we’ve had open standards like Java (which was completely controlled by Sun) and PDF (Adobe).

It’s permission that is the key criteria.

It’s amazing how people blow up over this issue, but don’t rip out the Ethernet cards and USB ports from their computers, refuse to use DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort or any of the other post-VGA connectors.

Apple?s Design Suite - it’s interesting to see how the more Adobe has pursued a cross-platform strategy for Creative Suite, the more a market has opened up for native Mac alternatives to their tools (i.e. at least 3 Photoshop style image editors, and at least 5 vector art packages, all of which make good use of new OS X features like CoreImage).

Add onto that the likes of Coda and RapidWeaver as alternatives to Dreamweaver, or even the way you can use TextMate to show a live view of your HTML code (a new feature in CS5) and there are already lots of alternatives available.

The other thing is that OS X applications tend to work well together anyway (try dragging images, let alone vector art, between Windows applications. It took me months to unlearn and trust the system to work when I switched to Mac). I’d much rather have a set of small best-of-breed tools that work well together, than a big integrated suite.

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