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June 5th 2011 9:30 pm

Windows 8 and HTML5 Apps - empowering the competition?

Doesn't it seem dangerous for Microsoft to pursue an HTML5 strategy for Windows 8 Apps?

First, I'll assume that they will run only in IE10, which will probably be backward compatible to Win7, eliminating a compelling reason to upgrade to Win8 in the first place. just run IE10 fullscreen.

Second, if Windows developers begin to shift away from traditional Windows-native applications toward HTML5, doesn't that empower Chrome OS, iOS, Android, and even webOS at the same time (in fact, this whole strategy sounds very much like the initial pre-app store iOS and initial webOS pitch)?

If all of your apps run in an HTML5 compliant browser, why do you even care what the underlying OS is? At that point, the Windows architecture becomes a dinosaur, who's only lifeline is the prolonged incremental budget cycles of major enterprises.

If I were a Microsoft shareholder, this strategy seems to be a major threat to the revenue streams from Windows and Office, and revenue/dividend are the only reason to hold MSFT now, certainly not a growth proposition any more.

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HTML5 actually empowers Microsoft vs. Apple. Once HTML5 based apps take off, you should be able to get apps without having to go through the itunes App Store.
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HTML5 apps won't run in IE10, they're not like the FireFox desktop apps. They're not web-apps per se, they're regular apps written in HTML5, making it easy to develop for. It's also for the new Metro based UI, which is Microsoft's new entry into tablets. In that market the iPad is in the lead, so giving developers an easy time is something they'll need to get solidly into the lead.

It does seem like it's empowering the competition though - as it makes it quite feasible to write a cross-platform app as long as the competition properly support similar functionality.
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It doesn't help iOS, who pretends to love the open web, but actually disables necessary features in web apps (offline storage, fast javascript)
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Many of these apps will rely on the underlying OS and underlying main applications. For example, a media app would rely on Windows libraries; apps might monitor files and folders or access full Windows apps (uTorrent, Word, etc.).

Imagine an app for Excel that lets you view recent files, a graph, etc. from the app tile. You'd still need Excel installed on your system.

There are probably also lots of features accessible through these apps that are unique to Windows too (i.e. plugging into Windows APIs).

I think looking forward 2 years or so there will be Windows 8 apps that make great use of the new UI but that have capabilities that outstrip what is possible on iPads and Android tablets due to the fact that there is a full OS under the hood.
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