Rumor: Apple helping Facebook's 'secret' HTML5 project

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A new report claims Apple knows about and is lending support to Facebook's "Project Spartan" HTML5 web app platform, even as Facebook's PR team has attempted to downplay rumors of the project.



On Wednesday, MG Siegler of TechCrunch claimed that Facebook was coordinating an HTML5 web app platform to "break the stranglehold" that Apple has on mobile app distribution. According to the report, Facebook's goal was to get people to use its own network as the distribution model for games and other apps, "not the App Store (or any other distribution hub)."



Also earlier this week, rumors emerged that a native iPad app for Facebook is nearly finished and should arrive in weeks, more than a year after the release of the original iPad.



In a follow-up report, Siegler hinted that Facebook may have held the iPad app back as leverage with Apple.



"Apple has wanted this app since the initial iPad launch just over a year ago," the report read. "At first, Facebook made it sound as if they weren?t going to do one at all. But they have been working on it for months. And there?s no reason it should have taken that long, unless they were holding it back as some sort of leverage over Apple."



One source compared Apple's relationship with Facebook to that of "an abusive spouse," noting that Facebook has "pissed off" Apple in the past and suffered repercussions as a result. According to the report, Facebook is scared of Apple and has to "tread lightly."



Siegler says Apple knows about Project Spartan and is believed to "even be lending some minor support" to the project. People familiar with the matter have indicated that Apple "is not afraid of [the project] at all." Siegler went on to suggest that, having seen some of the early Spartan apps, the likelihood that users would choose them over a native iPhone app is "laughable."



However, the report speculates that Apple doesn't yet know the full scope of the project, specifically the Facebook Credits monetization aspect. "I believe the main reason Facebook is pissed off about our Spartan story is this part in particular," Siegler wrote. "Apple may not view Spartan as a threat at all right now ? and in fact, it sort of helps them because it is moving popular games, like the ones by Zynga, off of Flash and onto HTML5 ? but down the road, that is absolutely what Facebook intends it to be."



Siegler also took issue with an alleged spin campaign run by Facebook's public relations team in response to his original story. Facebook PR reportedly sent messages to other journalists pitching stories meant to serve as damage control. ?You guys should remind people that there?s not much new in tonight?s TC story,? one email read, while another suggested that the story was "wrongly positioning [Facebook] against other companies."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    "According to the report, Facebook is scared of Apple and has to "tread lightly.""



    Yep, because Apple's online offerings of the past and present have been so, so good
  • Reply 2 of 48
    ipedroipedro Posts: 62member
    No. It's because Apple's products are increasingly becoming how people access Facebook. Apple can kill the revenue opportunities Facebook is positioning itself to take advantage of.



    While very powerful, Zuckerberg would be wise to remain friends with Steve Jobs. Apple is showing signs of going around Facebook and favouring Twitter, which could be the next Facebook vs MySpace story.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Yeah, people like to position HTML5 apps vs native iOS apps. But that's all pure bunk. Apple is actively helping in the implementation of HTML5 and support for HTML5 on iOS so Facebook can do projects like this.



    Stories spinning Apple as being threatened by HTML5 projects make no sense.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    I have every reason to believe that Apple can and will play nice with others when it's in their interest and play hardball when it is in their interest to do so. Apple is no different from any other company in this regard.



    Apple will be pushing both HTML5 and its APPS infrastructure. Though there will be overlap in the types of apps that will run under a browser and iOS there are certainly functionalities that will be best under one or the other.
  • Reply 5 of 48
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    Yeah, people like to position HTML5 apps vs native iOS apps. But that's all pure bunk. Apple is actively helping in the implementation of HTML5 and support for HTML5 on iOS so Facebook can do projects like this.



    Stories spinning Apple as being threatened by HTML5 projects make no sense.



    What I took from this article is Apple is helping Facebook remove their dependency on Adobe Flash. in favor of HTML5.
  • Reply 6 of 48
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,270member
    I still don't understand what FaceBook is "escaping" by going HTML 5 over a native iOS app.



    It's not profit - they can monitize a native app just as easily as the web - Apple has no restrictions or 30% cut on advertising, for example.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    What I took from this article is Apple is helping Facebook remove their dependency on Adobe Flash. in favor of HTML5.



    What I get from it is that Apple will not enable full HTML5 to everybody, unless they get a cut just like with the iOS apps. Talking about the full web and open standards. Just like in the beginning that only Apple apps could work on the background of iOS.
  • Reply 8 of 48
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Apple loves the open, standards-based, available-to-all web, and has offered much (maybe more than anyone) towards the development of great web apps.



    Web services and native apps aren’t either-or. You need both, and Apple knows it. iOS lets both be great in their own ways.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by holy_steven View Post


    What I get from it is that Apple will not enable full HTML5 to everybody, unless they get a cut just like with the iOS apps. Talking about the full web and open standards. Just like in the beginning that only Apple apps could work on the background of iOS.



    How is Apple failing to enable full HTML5, or asking for a cut? Lots of web services charge, through means other than the App Store, and have been supported on iOS for years. The scenario you’ve crafted, thankfully, is fiction. In fact, widespread HTML5 development (as an alternative to buggy, proprietary Flash) is very important to Apple, and not for the sake of a “cut."
  • Reply 9 of 48
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,194member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by holy_steven View Post


    What I get from it is that Apple will not enable full HTML5 to everybody, unless they get a cut just like with the iOS apps. Talking about the full web and open standards. Just like in the beginning that only Apple apps could work on the background of iOS.



    What the hell are you rambling on about? Who the hell do you think brought HTML5 to the World? Apple. Dave Hyatt co-wrote the standard brought to the W3C.



    Sorry, but Javascript apps will never touch ObjC/C/C++/ObjC++ performance, scalability and range of applications. It's never gonna happen.
  • Reply 10 of 48
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,716member
    Why would they do that? Isn't the whole point of this experiment is so Facebook can skirt Apple's privacy restrictions?
  • Reply 11 of 48
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Siegler also took issue with an alleged spin campaign run by Facebook's public relations team in response to his original story. Facebook PR reportedly sent messages to other journalists pitching stories meant to serve as damage control. ?You guys should remind people that there?s not much new in tonight?s TC story,? one email read, while another suggested that the story was "wrongly positioning [Facebook] against other companies."



    Facebook

    F* it, we're evil?
  • Reply 12 of 48
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    Why would they do that? Isn't the whole point of this experiment is so Facebook can skirt Apple's privacy restrictions?



    Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Look at Apple vs Samsung, Adobe, etc.



    The idea is to let Facebook run wild with HTML5, helping accelerate the shift away from Flash. Then when Facebook starts to mess with Apple, Apple will draw its sword.
  • Reply 13 of 48
    thepixeldocthepixeldoc Posts: 2,257member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nvidia2008 View Post


    Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Look at Apple vs Samsung, Adobe, etc.



    The idea is to let Facebook run wild with HTML5, helping accelerate the shift away from Flash. Then when Facebook starts to mess with Apple, Apple will draw its sword.



    +1 ... and as I wrote a couple of days ago, I am not surprised Apple is helping FB move away from Adobe and Flash. And it surely isn't because of missed profits from those silly Flash games vs. apps.



    It's now a matter of proving the point that SJ and Apple made regarding their early decision to dismiss Flash as "old tech" and not mobile friendly for the future, and not allowing it on their iOS devices. Once again, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's engineers had a copy of Flash to fool around with, or reverse-engineered it enough... to report back to SJ, that at no time in the near future will Flash EVER run efficiently battery and/or performance-wise on an ARM processor. Everybody just assumes that SJ and Apple were BSing and P-ing against the wind like all of the other tech-CEO's out there.



    No. Apple knew 99% that Flash was going to be the noose that hung the other guys. And it has for the most part.



    Look at RIM betting on Adobe Flash and Flex Apps; Google even integrating it in their Chrome OS and it not working as expected causing delays in getting the product to market; Motorola and Samsung releasing products (& making fools of themselves!) with devices that will UPDATE with Flash in the future. Where ARE all those iDevice killers with Flash as their core differentiating factor? In warehouses reported as "shipped products" with no sell-thru numbers to report (other than BOGO phones).



    IF Flash would not be the doggie-poop-scoop-tech that it was and still is, Apple may have welcomed it, because they sure weren't locking out Flash because of the stupid execs, bloggers, rumor-mongers claiming Apple did it out of spite and greed motivation re: Flash games vs. app sales. Please!



    "They" STILL don't get what Apple is about.



    The App Stores ( and iTunes) help sell the hardware, where Apple makes their margins. Apple is also smart enough to NOT make it free, so that the stores cover their own costs of operation, and leave some left over for future expansion. Microsoft could learn something here, instead of creating money pits for years on end. Is this stuff not taught in schools in the US any more? Even MBA grad schools? Maybe because it's just so basic, maybe it's overlooked?



    Short Adobe (ADBE).



    EDIT: Sorry for the ramble! A far too long post backing up the assertion that Apple helping FB move away from Flash is the story here, and nothing else.
  • Reply 14 of 48
    neiltc13neiltc13 Posts: 182member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post


    +1 ... and as I wrote a couple of days ago, I am not surprised Apple is helping FB move away from Adobe and Flash. And it surely isn't because of missed profits from those silly Flash games vs. apps.



    It's now a matter of proving the point that SJ and Apple made regarding their early decision to dismiss Flash as "old tech" and not mobile friendly for the future, and not allowing it on their iOS devices. Once again, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's engineers had a copy of Flash to fool around with, or reverse-engineered it enough... to report back to SJ, that at no time in the near future will Flash EVER run efficiently battery and/or performance-wise on an ARM processor. Everybody just assumes that SJ and Apple were BSing and P-ing against the wind like all of the other tech-CEO's out there.



    No. Apple knew 99% that Flash was going to be the noose that hung the other guys. And it has for the most part.



    Look at RIM betting on Adobe Flash and Flex Apps; Google even integrating it in their Chrome OS and it not working as expected causing delays in getting the product to market; Motorola and Samsung releasing products (& making fools of themselves!) with devices that will UPDATE with Flash in the future. Where ARE all those iDevice killers with Flash as their core differentiating factor? In warehouses reported as "shipped products" with no sell-thru numbers to report (other than BOGO phones).



    IF Flash would not be the doggie-poop-scoop-tech that it was and still is, Apple may have welcomed it, because they sure weren't locking out Flash because of the stupid execs, bloggers, rumor-mongers claiming Apple did it out of spite and greed motivation re: Flash games vs. app sales. Please!



    "They" STILL don't get what Apple is about.



    The App Stores ( and iTunes) help sell the hardware, where Apple makes their margins. Apple is also smart enough to NOT make it free, so that the stores cover their own costs of operation, and leave some left over for future expansion. Microsoft could learn something here, instead of creating money pits for years on end. Is this stuff not taught in schools in the US any more? Even MBA grad schools? Maybe because it's just so basic, maybe it's overlooked?



    Short Adobe (ADBE).



    EDIT: Sorry for the ramble! A far too long post backing up the assertion that Apple helping FB move away from Flash is the story here, and nothing else.



    That's great, but we are still 3-5 years+ away from the point where web developers can confidently implement what they are doing now in Flash in HTML5. For most companies, it's not simply a matter of deciding "hey, today we will change to HTML5". There are massive workflow changes required, not to mention costly retraining.



    HTML5 is also a minefield of compatibility issues. For every visitor with a browser capable of rendering your site, you might have three or four who can't see any of the content you've implemented. Those that can might see fonts that are different sizes, different weights or objects in the position the browser wants to put them, rather than what the developer specified.



    Compare this to Flash where you can be 100% sure that your site looks the same in all browsers.



    I don't want to buy a device that can't display the web pages I visit today in the hope that maybe the developer will add a workaround just for my device. By the time the internet has adopted HTML5 properly, it will be long obsolete.
  • Reply 15 of 48
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post


    I still don't understand what FaceBook is "escaping" by going HTML 5 over a native iOS app.



    Think bigger. It's not just about apps. Let's say your Facebook. Now, you want to be bigger than Google. What do you do?



    Photo hosting

    Video hosting

    Document hosting

    Resume hosting

    Events

    Meetings

    Games

    Apps

    News

    Utilities

    Productivity



    And don't forget... Lots of ads.



    Facebook kinda does some of these in some limited way, but the scope is there to be much bigger, and to be on every single platform available.
  • Reply 16 of 48
    d-ranged-range Posts: 396member
    I don't really see what the surprise is here, like others already said: to Apple, anything that moves the world away from Flash, towards a solution that works well on iOS devices, is beneficial to Apple. It's not like Facebook would ever decide to shift their complete platform to only work on iOS, forcing every Facebook app developer to make native iOS applications. So HTML5 is the next best thing from Apples perspective. Apple knows they will never have Flash on iOS and Apple also knows they need to keep Facebook users on board, so helping out Facebook with an HTML5 based app platform is a win-win situation.



    That said, right now HTML5 can not match Flash in functionality and performance, but I believe that will change quickly if decent content creation tools become available. In terms of the runtime, Flash is not that much different from JavaScript + HTML5 + CSS3 + Canvas + WebGL. It should be technically feasible to port most Flash applications with what we have already, assuming a capable browser to execute them, and good development tools to make the effort economically viable. Looks like Apple and Facebook are both trying to piece the different parts together, they would both benefit from it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13


    I don't want to buy a device that can't display the web pages I visit today in the hope that maybe the developer will add a workaround just for my device. By the time the internet has adopted HTML5 properly, it will be long obsolete.



    That's a really strange statement there, HTML5 isn't even finalized and you already assume it will be obsolete in 3-5 years? I think you are underestimating the push that companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft are making for HTML5 right now, the rate at which they are improving their browsers and JavaScript engines right now has already closed most of the gaps between Flash and what you can do in any current WebKit-based browser today, and together with IE9 and Firefox 4+ you will have covered about 90% of all clients. All these browsers are very close to implementing all features relevant to interactive HTML5 based applications. The only things missing right now are content creation tools and some way for content providers to protect their content from people pirating it. Within 3-5 years (which is extremely long in internet time) there will be little reason left to use Flash, and compatibility between browsers and OS's will be close to what Flash offers today. The HTML 5 specs are supposed to fix all the incompatibilities between browsers, so I think you are wrong assuming HTML5 applications will have problems rendering or operating differently between browsers.
  • Reply 17 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by d-range View Post


    That said, right now HTML5 can not match Flash in functionality and performance



    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/quake-...ews-33132.html



    HTML5 + Javascript = Full 3D remake of Quake 2. Flash doing that? Please... flash can't even do 3D
  • Reply 18 of 48
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    What I took from this article is Apple is helping Facebook remove their dependency on Adobe Flash. in favor of HTML5.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DocNo42 View Post


    I still don't understand what FaceBook is "escaping" by going HTML 5 over a native iOS app.



    It's not profit - they can monitize a native app just as easily as the web - Apple has no restrictions or 30% cut on advertising, for example.



    The media, including tech bloggers, like drama, so, where there really isn't any, they'll often manufacture it.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    ... Sorry, but Javascript apps will never touch ObjC/C/C++/ObjC++ performance, scalability and range of applications. It's never gonna happen.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... Siegler went on to suggest that, having seen some of the early Spartan apps, the likelihood that users would choose them over a native iPhone app is "laughable." ...



    Confirmed.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Confirmed.



    I'd like to point out the post above yours, showing what a bit of HTML5 and JS can accomplish. Thats just as good as most FPS games in the App Store. You'll just be lacking the gyro and accelerometer.
  • Reply 20 of 48
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,563member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post


    That's great, but we are still 3-5 years+ away from the point where web developers can confidently implement what they are doing now in Flash in HTML5. For most companies, it's not simply a matter of deciding "hey, today we will change to HTML5". There are massive workflow changes required, not to mention costly retraining. ...



    We can only hope that HTML5 never encourages developers to, "confidently implement what they are doing now in Flash," because the vast majority of what they are doing in Flash is horrible.



    And, for most companies, those creating their web sites would be well advised to prepare now for the switch to HTML5, or find themselves out of work. This change is going to be driven by content owners, not content creators, and when the owners come to the realization that Flash is costing them revenue, they aren't going to be willing to wait for creators to "retrain".
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