In this post for the Disruptive Competition Project, I take exception to the “Google is doing this to stick it to Apple” interpretation of the company’s forking the WebKit code into another open-source browser engine, Blink. I think this is good for Chrome users and good for the Web at large—and that if Google wants to subvert Web interoperability and sandbag Apple, there are other things you should watch out for.
I wrote an extended essay for the Disruptive Competition Project on a few possible and existing downsides of having a single browser layout engine, WebKit, dominate the mobile market. Behind them, there’s an interesting philosophical question: Do the usual antitrust concerns never matter if it’s an open-source product monopolizing the market?
When you see a smart, promising startup get crushed in the traditional media, you may think the offending journalists are on the take or otherwise under the sway of the incumbents in the market. I’m sorry, but we screw up like that for much less exciting reasons.
This week’s USAToday.com column has some depressing news for a reader who wanted to know how much longer he’d have to put up with Adobe Flash. While it’s been defeated on mobile devices, the market for Flash-alternative video on the desktop remains fragmented by the same HTML5 standards battle that I was writing about at the Post back in 2010. Am I being too pessimistic here? What’s your forecast for Flash’s prospects?
A USA Today reader asked that question, so I answered it. IE9’s cleaner UI, better standards compliance, upgraded security and improved Web-standards support all justify upgrading. The column goes on to suggest Google’s Chrome as a good alternative, then concludes by explaining how to use two new non-Google search engines as your default in Chrome.