September 09, 2013

MS-Nokia and the Implications for HTML5

Without offering comment on speculation that Nokia (News Alert) CEO Stephen Elop will succeed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, I will say that I believe the problems at Microsoft today are largely cultural – and corporate culture does change from the top. The top needs to desire change, however, and the culture shock that comes with a new CEO only becomes apparent once that person is appointed. And even then, desire to change may not be enough, as indicated by recent studies of Apple (News Alert), JC Penny, RIM and Yahoo. 

Regarding handset sales, Google and Apple both tend to give the consumer what they want, and the numbers confirm this to be a successful strategy. After all, phone selection is currently a two-horse race between devices running Google’s Android (NewsAlert) operating system and Apple’s iOS.  Nokia has a history of giving carriers what they want while Microsoft has long been an outsider and carriers are leery of handing too much control over to the company. Thus, from a cultural standpoint MS-Nokia will have an internal reconciliation to go through as it vies to be third in the handset market. I think Steve Ballmer was correct in setting expectations low and aiming to supplant RIM, even if I do think RIM would’ve been the better acquisition for Microsoft – considering the company’s E-Mail and enterprise history (in fact, I think it would now be a prudent time to invest in Blackberry, as it won’t upset the (non) Apple cart with Nokia). 

Since the iPhone’s (NewsAlert) introduction in 2007, Nokia has been running on fumes with regard to feature phones. And though I loved the N95 and thought it was a better design than the iPhone, I also thought the apps on that Symbian phone were pretty ugly and suffered from a European look-and-feel that did not come across well.

All of this leads me to the discussion of HTML5. Microsoft on the back-end with Azure has bought into the whole HTML5 experience in a big way including with Node.JS and lots of interaction. Despite this, though, we are still seeing scarce adoption of HTML5 in UI, with the inevitable result being that soon enough MS Nokia will follow the lead of Google and Apple in pushing native development. Microsoft, though, has a history of being incredibly flexible, which gives rise to malware, whereas Google’s Android shares some of the problems of MSFT but none of the legacy (give them time), and Apple locks things down and sometimes plays poorly with others.

So what we see before us is a war that will push the concept of “native.” Of course, it would be nice to see all of the players advocate for HTML5; however we should instead expect to see a lot of .js solutions (e.g., AppMobi, Cordova and JSQuery Mobile) that mask the native as much as possible. At the recent ITEXPO (NewsAlert) event, the general session panel dismissed the impact of HTML5, and my comment to the panel was that you can say you are doing native all you want, but in the end you will be using some form of .js for the app.

So the bottom line is we can expect to see a longer development cycle on MS Nokia’s client-side strategy, which I am sure will be friendly to .NET history in some way, (or at least as much as it can be, given the use of node and the impact of big data). When it comes to HTML5, we could very well see flavors of implementations from each mobile device maker – which will surely add to development cost, and for very little reason other than to demonstrate the device makers’ market prowess. As such, I would tell developers to stay true, and realize that .js frameworks are going to be the safest way to develop for the time being.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi


HTML 5 Demos and Examples

HTML 5 experimentation and demos I've hacked together. Click on the browser support icon or the technology tag to filter the demos.... Learn More

HTML5 GAMES is the largest and most comprehensive directory of HTML5 games on the internet... Learn More

The HTML5 test

How well does your browser support HTML5?... Learn More

Working Draft (WHATWG)

This is the Editor’s Draft from WHATWG. You can use it online or print the available PDF version... Learn More

HTML5 Flip Book

Free jQuery and HTML5 flip book maker for PDF to online page turning book conversion... Learn More