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Time Warner, NBC Universal delay iPad support in preference to Flash

post #1 of 160
Thread Starter 
Apple's negotiations with certain big media firms to support modern, iPad-compatible web standards for video distribution have reportedly run into resistance due to the expense and effort involved in converting their vast multimedia libraries from Adobe's Flash.

According to report by the New York Post, unnamed sources reportedly said that "several large media companies, including Time Warner and NBC Universal, told Apple they won't retool their extensive video libraries to accommodate the iPad, arguing that such a reformatting would be expensive and not worth it because Flash dominates the Web."

The media firms are said to be betting on a new fleet of iPad-like devices promised by Dell and HP, which they expect will run Flash and therefore not require any changes to their existing libraries of web content. One media executive also pointed to the announcement of Google TV, which is expected to promote Flash as a media distribution technology, although not to mobile users.

The Flash exodus vs the Flash entrenched

Apple's inability to obtain a functional mobile runtime for Flash from Adobe over the last three years of iPhone OS development has pushed the company to bypass Flash entirely for both interactive content and video delivery, backing the progress of HTML5 for interactivity and H.264 for video delivery instead.

Apple's significant installed base of iPhone devices, representing a valuable affluent demographic of users, have prompted a significant number of companies to abandon Flash as their medium for creating interactive websites. This has included high profile departures by Virgin America, as well as documented scrappings by Scribd.

A report by the Wall Street Journal recently profiled a number of ad agencies, programmers and web designers who say their "clients increasingly are asking that their websites or applications be compatible with Apple's iPhone and iPad."

It cited Carnival Corp. as having remade its cruise line website a year ago without using Flash, just like Virgin America, explicitly because of the iPhone.

Interactivity easy to transition from Flash, video more involved

Condé Nast originally pursued a Flash-centric strategy for developing digital versions of its magazines, including Wired, but was forced to abandon Flash to get its work on iPad. The company attempted to save face by suggesting it had worked with Adobe to convert its Flash application, but in reality had simply written a new native iPhone OS app and reused its existing media content.

Sports Illustrated, which uses Flash extensively on its website, similarly unveiled an HTML5 web app recently; that property is part of Time Warner. The firm's seemingly contradictory stance on Flash is based on the reality that releasing HTML5 or native iPhone OS apps in place of Flash interactive content is relatively easy for publishers to do, while adapting their existing libraries of Flash-encumbered content, such as videos or Flash-wrapped documents, is more challenging and the immediate value of doing this may be less certain.

It's not impossible however, as demonstrated by Google's efforts to deliver YouTube videos to the iPhone, or by similar efforts by Vimeo and Brightcove to make their video content available via H.264. Apple is forging partnerships with Disney to prove that the effort is viable. The iPad's App Store debuted with a custom app from Disney's ABC that delivers content from a variety of the network's shows on demand.

Media companies and end users who continue to bet that Apple's competitors will have an easier time getting Adobe to deliver a functional mobile version of Flash may be disappointed. Hulu, a popular service that uses Flash on the web, intentionally blocks Adobe's Flash Player on mobile devices, but also has plans to release an iPad-compatible version later this year, based on a subscription rather than adware model.

Flash sites that do support the new beta mobile Flash Player don't necessarily work very well; the majority of the existing Flash video content that media firms say they are reluctant to re-encode for delivery using H.264 and HTML5 are not optimized for mobile Flash delivery either. That means the videos' playback will consume far more battery life on mobile devices than it would were they upgraded to modern codecs that can be played by with hardware assistance. So media companies will eventually have to do the work regardless of whether they want to or not.

Big Media vs Apple's iTunes

Apple is not new to media companies dragging feet over entering new markets; the company faced a difficult time pushing music labels to accept standardized pricing and per-song sales in iTunes. In 2007, Universal threatened to end its music contract with iTunes, and subsequently began selling its music as MP3s to competing stores such as Amazon while refusing to support DRM-free sales in iTunes, hoping to gain more negotiating leverage with Apple over increasing song prices.

Apple entered episodic TV sales with only one major partner: Disney, which Apple's chief executive Steve Jobs had the leverage to convince to enter the new direct TV sales market. Other TV networks were reluctant to join iTunes until Apple could prove the new model would work.

Even after all the major networks had signed on, NBC Universal split from iTunes for a year in late 2007 over a feud involving content pricing. NBC came back the next fall after its solo efforts with "NBC Direct" failed to materialize.

Apple also faced difficult negotiations with movie studios over digital rentals and HD content, but in 2008 entered the market with movies from every major studio, with HD content becoming available the next year. Other efforts Apple had tried to introduce, including a cloud-based iTunes Replay service Apple has had in negotiations with the labels and studios for nearly a year and a half, have still not yet emerged.
post #2 of 160
Stupid, stupid, stupid old media companies. Will you ever learn???
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post #3 of 160
D'oh!
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side, kid.
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Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster by your side, kid.
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post #4 of 160
Just curious. What format is/are used in the existing iTunes database of movies, tv programs and other videos?

Quote:
Stupid, stupid, stupid old media companies. Will you ever learn???

It does cost a lot of money, and many new programmer/developers with the correct expertise and experience to hire. The movie and TV industries are reeling from the impact of the latest and still lingering economic downturn. Even the bankable stars supposedly have to endure drastic cuts in their pay scale. No more 10-40 million dollars for leading stars.

Calculate how many hundreds or millions of movies, TV programs must be rented/sold digitally to recoup the investments, especially when the banks are not lending money. There are no rich Arabs or Asians either to splurge their oil money or Bollywood extra cash, this time around.

Unless Steve Jobs/Apple or you perhaps you, shell out the funds, it may not be too simple or even prudent to make judgement, as you uttered.


CGC
post #5 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... According to report by the New York Post, unnamed sources reportedly said that "several large media companies, including Time Warner and NBC Universal, told Apple they won't retool their extensive video libraries to accommodate the iPad, arguing that such a reformatting would be expensive and not worth it because Flash dominates the Web."

The media firms are said to be betting on a new fleet of iPad-like devices promised by Dell and HP, which they expect will run Flash and therefore not require any changes to their existing libraries of web content. One media executive also pointed to the announcement of Google TV, which is expected to promote Flash as a media distribution technology, although not to mobile users. ...

Especially from that last sentence quoted above, it's clear that the execs at these companies have no idea what they are doing. And good luck with that "fleet of iPad-like devices promised by Dell and HP."

Well, when they start to realize the impact it's having on their bottom line, I expect they'll change their plans quickly. But, there are always casualties in technology transitions, especially among the laggards.
post #6 of 160
They have every right to stick to their guns. If Apple wants to push forward with HTML5, that's their choice as well.

To be honest, I'd rather have the choice on my device of which platform I wanted to use instead of someone forcing me one way or the other. HTML5 isn't ready to take over 98% (or whatever number Adobe is throwing around these days), so until that does happen, I'll have to side with the NBC/Time Warner guys.

Besides, how long would it take to retool a site like Hulu anyway? That can't be a simple task.
post #7 of 160
Oh well, I didn't know was watching any of their programming so not a loss. Thanks to abc, we have good programming covered with Modern Family!
post #8 of 160
Hmm... I thought Apple was supposed to be the king of vendor "lock-in".

That's what happens with single-vendor technology. I wonder what Adobe's response would be to this since they are the one whining about Apple denying consumer choice in the web. \

The sooner all web presentation is off of Adobe's flash and onto a universal, open, standardized HTML5, H.264 framework, the better everything will be.
post #9 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

To be honest, I'd rather have the choice on my device of which platform I wanted to use instead of someone forcing me one way or the other. .

I can understand that. The problem is that if you're targeting mobile devices, you DO NOT have a choice. Flash for mobile devices DOES NOT EXIST. HTML is your only choice (even if you have to ignore the newest features of html 5 for a while).

That's what these "Apple is blocking Flash' people keep missing. THERE IS NO VERSION OF FLASH that would run on an iPhone - no matter what Apple does. Witness the fact that there's no Flash on jailbroken phones or on any other mobile device.

Idiots.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #10 of 160
Help to kill iPad!
Don't re-encode your content!

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #11 of 160
Sorry, but having lurked through the idiocy of other Flash threads on this board ... can't ... help ... myself ... despite pointlessness ...

Yay, go big media! Steve's externally juvenile but internally profit-driven attitude to Flash (with a bit of support from a mini army of adoring know-very-littles) deserves a bit of a reality check. (And I'm talking about the news portion of this article, not the tacked on editorial).

... thank you. I feel much better now. You may now continue agreeing with SJ and eachother.
post #12 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Help to kill iPad!
Don't re-encode your content!

Help to kill your own business!
Don't re-encode your content!
post #13 of 160
How painful could it be to convert videos to HTML5?

It's not like it takes thousands of people adjusting every frame. It's a process that can be automated and left to run over the weekend basically.

Sure, I get that it's not the same as me converting a few songs from mp3 to AAC, but really?

They can convert the important new stuff first and do the older titles slowly. Like the iTunes store did.

Seems like such a poor business decision not to get your media in as many players as possible, even if there are technical obstacles.
post #14 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

I can understand that. The problem is that if you're targeting mobile devices, you DO NOT have a choice. Flash for mobile devices DOES NOT EXIST. HTML is your only choice (even if you have to ignore the newest features of html 5 for a while).

**Scratches head**

Android 2.2 support Adobe Flash 10.1 and it's already out for the Nexus One. On top of that, the Nexus One running Android 2.2 can play content from Hulu:

http://www.absolutelyandroid.com/gui...oid-2-2-froyo/
post #15 of 160
edited.
post #16 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by manfrommars View Post

How painful could it be to convert videos to HTML5?

It's not like it takes thousands of people adjusting every frame. It's a process that can be automated and left to run over the weekend basically.

Sure, I get that it's not the same as me converting a few songs from mp3 to AAC, but really?

They can convert the important new stuff first and do the older titles slowly. Like the iTunes store did.

Seems like such a poor business decision not to get your media in as many players as possible, even if there are technical obstacles.

If I'm not mistaken, HTML5 doesn't support DRM which is why the CBS and ABC TV show "wrappers" for the iPad are an App and not an actual webpage you can go to.

Or maybe I'm wrong here?
post #17 of 160
I don't think it's an issue of Flash or HTML5, I think it's a matter (Hulu at least) of DRM. They need to protect their content and I am not sure HTML5 allows DRM. If I'm wrong on whether HTML5 supports DRM or not, please let me know.
post #18 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by manfrommars View Post

How painful could it be to convert videos to HTML5?

It's not like it takes thousands of people adjusting every frame. It's a process that can be automated and left to run over the weekend basically.

Sure, I get that it's not the same as me converting a few songs from mp3 to AAC, but really?

They can convert the important new stuff first and do the older titles slowly. Like the iTunes store did.

Seems like such a poor business decision not to get your media in as many players as possible, even if there are technical obstacles.

Well, we are probably talking about more than just video here. But, those who take the, "We're just gonna hunker down and wait out this whole HTML5 thing," are just setting themselves up for the hard reality of failure. The smart move is to start transitioning now, otherwise, you'll be left scrambling in a couple of years when Apple and Microsoft stop shipping Flash with their desktop OSs.
post #19 of 160
I work for Time Warner Cable, the company is extremely dinosaur like, the way they do business, its a wonder how they even survive sometimes.
post #20 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

Can I ask you a question? If Apple is so evil to refuse flash, which mobile device can you watch these NBC/Time Warner videos anyways?

Retooling Hulu would be hard. Pretty much any other video access would be easy, since all the Flash video is encoded in H.264 anyways. They could easily go the ABC route (which has been a financial windfall for ABC).

This is just NBC hating Apple (remember the pullout from the iTunes store, for no reason). I think its a simple ego clash, and seeing how inept the management of NBC has been, this would not be surprising at all.

You can watch NBC content with a Nexus One running Android 2.2 on Hulu. Same goes for any Android 2.2 device.

As for NBC hating on Apple... why is it OK for Apple to hate on Adobe Flash, yet it's not OK for NBC to return the favor towards Apple's stance?

To be honest, there's no right or wrong answer. As I said before, I'd prefer to have a choice like on Android. If you don't want to use Flash 10.1, you don't have to download the plugin. If you want it, it's there for the taking. That's the way it should be IMHO, but what do I know?
post #21 of 160
That's it. Apple may now be forced to kill flash soon via hostile takeover.

Frankly, I'd love to see it.
post #22 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

**Scratches head**

Android 2.2 support Adobe Flash 2.2 and it's already out for the Nexus One. On top of that, the Nexus One running Android 2.2 can play content from Hulu:

http://www.absolutelyandroid.com/gui...oid-2-2-froyo/

Do you happen to be one of the fortunate ones to have been able to buy a Nexus One? And which telecom carrier do you use?

And did you try them Hulus? Stable viewing all the time, or some of the time? Or did you just take it for granted:

"What Hulu says, must be..."

And because you are the epitome of reliability, we too must follow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

To be honest, I'd rather have the choice on my device of which platform I wanted to use instead of someone forcing me one way or the other. HTML5 isn't ready to take over 98% (or whatever number Adobe is throwing around these days), so until that does happen, I'll have to side with the NBC/Time Warner guys.

That should not be difficult enough for any rational person to do, without having to proclaim his/her convictions in the Apple Kingdom.

If the iPhone or any Apple mobile devices do not meet your need, I assure you (Steve Jobs told me so), you will not go to prison, or will be publicly castigated, if you do not buy them Apple products.

I hear there are even buy one take one of them Android phones. You can watch any Flash video in two, at the same time. It's a new discovery -- stereo movies -- I was told. The most recent Google patent.

Better believe it, if it is porn, them stereo movies make you feel it. "IT" as in really "IT". You know what I mean? The ultimate!

Don't waste your time with this Apple fanbois, I tell you. They are so far delusional, about anything Apple this and Apple that. No self-respecting missionary like you must even dream they shall ever be converted. Even if it leads you to be cannonized by Adobe, into sure Sainthood.

Unless of course, you are the second Jesus, coming to bring the true Jesus phone, to save the world.

CGC
post #23 of 160
Steve Jobs hates Flash because he knows that he doesn't have control over it.

Why should anyone decide to follow Steve's lead when the whole point of his silly argument is that he wants to dominate his users and developers?
Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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Fragmentation is not just something we have to acknowledge and accept. Fragmentation is something that we deal with every day, and we must accept it as a fact of the iPhone platform experience.

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post #24 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

**Scratches head**

Android 2.2 support Adobe Flash 2.2 and it's already out for the Nexus One. On top of that, the Nexus One running Android 2.2 can play content from Hulu:

http://www.absolutelyandroid.com/gui...oid-2-2-froyo/

I have a friend with a Nexus One and she couldn't find a DL page it. Do you have a link?

As for Flash on the Nexus One, that is an excellent example of Adobe dropping the ball. it's almost June 2010 and I can't find a open Beta for Flash 10.1 for mobiles. When it does arrive it's only going to be for very select Android phones and there are still inherent issues with it. Power usage, speed and browser issues, and the ability to stream Hulu seem to still plague it. Those aren't trival things.

The bottom line is that Adobe did not have Flash for the iPhone in 2007, 2008, or 2009. it's now mid-2010 and they still don't have a viable product. When Flash is shipping on all non-iPhone smartphones and no longer has the issues mentioned above then Apple will need to rethink their position, and Time Warner, NBC and others will have a position on Flash worth defending, but until then HTML5 video tag or a dedicated app are the by far the best option for the fast growing mobile sector.
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post #25 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgc0202 View Post

Do you happen to be one of the fortunate ones to have been able to buy a Nexus One? And which telecom carrier do you use?

And did you try them Hulus? Stable viewing all the time, or some of the time?

CGC

Oh hellz no. I wasn't crazy enough to spend $500+ to get one unlocked direct from Google

But from all the reports I've seen on the web of the Nexus One running Hulu, it appears to work just fine.
post #26 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

They have every right to stick to their guns. If Apple wants to push forward with HTML5, that's their choice as well.

To be honest, I'd rather have the choice on my device of which platform I wanted to use instead of someone forcing me one way or the other. HTML5 isn't ready to take over 98% (or whatever number Adobe is throwing around these days), so until that does happen, I'll have to side with the NBC/Time Warner guys.

Besides, how long would it take to retool a site like Hulu anyway? That can't be a simple task.

That's just it though. You do have a choice. Don't purchase any Apple devices.

Apple has ALWAYS put user experience first on every single product they have ever made. This is nothing new. Apple feels that longer battery life and less crashes make for better products in the long run. As of right now, there's not a single comparable iPad competitor using Flash on their device. Their's not a single iPhone competitor using Flash on there device (They might be using the new Flash 10 beta, but as of this point it's sucking the batteries dry). And you might think, but what about Flash "lite"? Well, that's not the full Flash experience either, so what's the point?
post #27 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

But from all the reports I've seen on the web of the Nexus One running Hulu, it appears to work just fine.

What reports are these? Every video I've seen shows Hulu stuttering on the Nexus One even when viewiing their lowest bitrate video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUv-wumvJVg
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post #28 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I have a friend with a Nexus One and she couldn't find a DL page it. Do you have a link?

As for Flash on the Nexus One, that is an excellent example of Adobe dropping the ball. it's almost June 2010 and I can't find a open Beta for Flash 10.1 for mobiles. When it does arrive it's only going to be for very select Android phones and there are still inherent issues with it. Power usage, speed and browser issues, and the ability to stream Hulu seem to still plague it. Those aren't trival things.

The bottom line is that Adobe did not have Flash for the iPhone in 2007, 2008, or 2009. it's now mid-2010 and they still don't have a viable product. When Flash is shipping on all non-iPhone smartphones and no longer has the issues mentioned above then Apple will need to rethink their position, and Time Warner, NBC and others will have a position on Flash worth defending, but until then HTML5 video tag or a dedicated app are the by far the best option for the fast growing mobile sector.

Google pushed it out to "press" Nexus One units that were used for reviews last week (Engadget, Gizmodo, CNET editors, etc.).

"Regular Joes" who want to get it early can get it by following these steps:

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/22/a...e-for-non-roo/

It appears that the linked thread has been taken down though. Google probably got mad
post #29 of 160
Skyfire runs flash just fine. Even though it's server supported.
post #30 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

**Scratches head**

Android 2.2 support Adobe Flash 10.1 and it's already out for the Nexus One. On top of that, the Nexus One running Android 2.2 can play content from Hulu:

http://www.absolutelyandroid.com/gui...oid-2-2-froyo/

Keep on scratching your head, buddy. The headline on that link was: UPDATE: HULU IS NOW PREVENTING ANDROID DEVICES FROM ACCESSING CONTENT
post #31 of 160
Hulu prevents all mobile phones from accessing it. It's not that the phones can't run hulu site, it's just that hulu is blocking it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougMcNerd View Post

Keep on scratching your head, buddy. The headline on that link was: UPDATE: HULU IS NOW PREVENTING ANDROID DEVICES FROM ACCESSING CONTENT

But just a quick search, and you can find a workaround for that too.
post #32 of 160
Great opportunity for smaller publishers/distributers to take over the market which big networks don't seem to be interested in. I smell a changing of the guard...
 
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post #33 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

Steve Jobs hates Flash because he knows that he doesn't have control over it.

Why should anyone decide to follow Steve's lead when the whole point of his silly argument is that he wants to dominate his users and developers?

Remarks like this have to make one laugh. I really don't know where these people get their ideas from.

The truth is that Apple wants to be able to control its own destiny. Anyone with any intelligence ought to want to control their own destiny. The basic problem with Flash, the real problem, besides the fact that it sucks, is that if you use Flash, as a platform vendor, developer, or content provider, Adobe controls your destiny, not you.
post #34 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What reports are these? Every video I've seen shows Hulu stuttering on the Nexus One even when viewiing their lowest bitrate video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUv-wumvJVg

I raise you this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKV_ZTDmwHk
post #35 of 160
Unless and until spending all that money converting to new tools, training/hiring new staff, and converting their back catalog to a new format pays off with increased revenue, NBC is right to stick with Flash.

If you want to see NBC content on the iPad don't buy any of their products, stay off their website, and if you absolutely must blog about their shows say you like the content and wish it worked on your iPad. Additionally you should support the CBS/ABC shows you like so their iPad sales are strong.

Businesses are Toydarian. Mind tricks don't work on them, only money.
post #36 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Remarks like this have to make one laugh. I really don't know where these people get their ideas from.

The truth is that Apple wants to be able to control its own destiny. Anyone with any intelligence ought to want to control their own destiny. The basic problem with Flash, the real problem, besides the fact that it sucks, is that if you use Flash, as a platform vendor, developer, or content provider, Adobe controls your destiny, not you.

He's always hating on Apple and ignoring the facts. Like Apple pushing HTML5 and other open standards which it does not have control over.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazda 3s View Post

I raise you this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKV_ZTDmwHk

Not exactly a raise. That looks like it's playing from Bing, not Hulu, and it's clearly skipping frames despite it not being fullscreen or being a complex effort for the GPU by being a 16 colour cartoon.
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post #37 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

He's always hating on Apple and ignoring the facts. Like Apple pushing HTML5 and other open standards which it does not have control over.




Not exactly a raise. That looks like it's playing from Bing, not Hulu, and it's clearly skipping frames despite it not being fullscreen or being a complex effort for the GPU by being a 16 colour cartoon.

I was just going by what the title of the video said. That being said...

My bottom line is, I have no problem with Apple banning Flash -- that's there prerogative. They want a consistent user experience and I GREATLY appreciate that.

Me being a tinkerer, I like being able to test new things and push boundaries a bit. And I'd love to have the choice to poke around with Flash on my iPhone if given the chance. Google is more of a shoot first, ask questions later kinda company, hence why half of their stuff is still in beta. But Flash (even in beta form) is just the icing on the cake for what is actually a pretty solid OS in Android 2.2.
post #38 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post

Unless and until spending all that money converting to new tools, training/hiring new staff, and converting their back catalog to a new format pays off with increased revenue, NBC is right to stick with Flash. ...

Unless not doing it pays off with decreased revenue.
post #39 of 160
Oh well, Time Warner and NBC Universal will be behind the power curve when they do choose to go Flash-less.
Frankly I don't care, I'll stick with my iPad. Not because what Jobs said, but because I know he's right about Flash on mobile devices, which is already proven to be true.
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post #40 of 160
And the Saturn and Pontiac and Hummer divisions of GM are still working on the idea that customers want to buy cars based on outdated technologies that get lower gas milage etc than vehicles produced by foreign companies... oh hold on... that didn't work out so well.

(nothing against GM products in general - in fact I have both a Pontiac and a Saturn in my garage - just making what may be a weak analogy to point out a way of thinking that is backward looking rather than forward looking which ultimately lands you in a world of hurt from which you can't comprehend what went wrong and how you got to that point).
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