The story of the Internet has always been a battle between the old guard corporations and the new guard users.
So, Microsoft has had to battle against Free and Open Source software, IBM had to battle against the PC clones, Apple had to battle against the PC, proprietary Unix had to battle against BSDs, and so on. remember DEC? The Digital Equipment Corporation once ruled the computing world with the PDP and the VAX throughout the 1970s. But time goes by and progress marches on.
What’s bizarre is that corporations don’t seem to learn from history. Adobe, which has already had to fight for its survival when the free image-editor Gimp has risen to challenge Adobe’s flagship cash cow Photoshop, now finds itself at odds over its second most-lucrative business, Flash. HTML5 is coming, inevitably, and there’s very little that Adobe’s proprietary Flash platform can do that HTML5’s canvas element can’t.
Ajaxian covers the whole story better than most. It’s funny that Adobe felt the need to have a seat at the W3C standards table in the first place. But anyway, the prevailing wisdom is that Adobe has been blocking HTML5’s standardization right and left, a charge which they adamantly deny.
In fact, HTML5 aims to reduce the need for all proprietary plug-ins, be they Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Apache Pivot, or Sun JavaFX. Interestingly, the HTML5 editors are Ian Hickson of Google, Inc. and David Hyatt of Apple, Inc. Hmmmm, can we think of two companies which have locked horns with Adobe in the past?