Adobe smacks back Apple over iPad, again

There’s a ton of chatter on Techmeme today regarding iPad and Flash and HTML 5. Again. In particular don’t miss posts from ReadWriteWeb regarding Flash vs. HTML 5 speed and PC World’s comparison of HP’s new Slate vs. the iPad and how the focus will be on Flash.

Yesterday I sat down with top execs from Adobe’s Flash team. I filmed two videos:

1. A video demo of a variety of things Adobe announced at the Mobile World Congress, including a new Flash player for Android and Palm Pre (I played with it yesterday, very nice).
2. A response to Apple about Flash’s appropriateness for including on iPhone and iPad.

Why won’t the iPad have Adobe Flash technology? Anup Murarka director of technology strategy and partner development for the Adobe Flash platform and Aaron Filner, group product manager of Flash platform, focusing on AIR, answer some of the reasons why Steve Jobs doesn’t put Adobe Flash onto the iPad in one of the videos I filmed yesterday when I visited Adobe’s offices in San Francisco. Things like:

1. It will chew up battery.
2. It will crash or be buggy.
3. It doesn’t work with touch interfaces.
4. It won’t perform well enough.

They take on each of these complaints about Adobe Flash and explain what has changed with the Flash 10.1 player.

My thoughts? I’m buying an iPad anyway (we’re even having a party at the Palo Alto store all night on the evening of April 2nd) and I have iPhones. My life would be better if Flash shipped on iPad, but it doesn’t look like that will happen. So, developers are going to be forced to build two versions of their web pages if they care about reaching me as a customer and one of those versions will need to have no Flash or Silverlight (Apple is also resisting including Microsoft’s Silverlight platform).

But Adobe is doing a pretty good job of keeping Flash developers’ skills relevant. You can build apps for iPhones or iPads in Flash and compile them using some new tools that Adobe has been showing off and will ship before July. Even Adobe’s own Photoshop app on the iPhone was built in Flash and compiled using these new tools. That’s a compelling story.

I have to admit, though, that I will be checking out other competitive devices from Google and others. I already have a Droid, which will use the new Flash 10.1 player just fine and I expect I’ll check out the new HP tablet and, especially, ones that will come with the Google Chrome OS later this year. Those, I expect, will support Flash and that could be a big deal in future device decisions.

How about you? Will you decide not to buy Apple products just because they won’t run Flash in Web pages?

The Revolution at Work (the industry reacts to Salesforce's moves)

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, has been using the bully pulpit over at Techcrunch to tell everyone that how we work together is about to radically change to be more like how we are able to share photos and fun things with each other over on Facebook. He’s right, but I’m not sure yet Salesforce is really going to be the one to lead us into this new world. He recently told me what Salesforce is trying to do with its entry into this space, Chatter, and I got a separate demo of Chatter’s newly shipped beta on video. You should watch both of those to get up to speed on what Salesforce is trying to do.

Other companies like Yammer, SocialText, Jive, SocialCast, and others have actually been doing the harder foundational work here of trying to convince us all to bring socially collaborative services into our workplaces. Yesterday I sat down with Yammer’s CEO, David Sacks, and talked about the industry and what Yammer is doing (Yammer was first to bring microblogging streams inside corporate firewalls and won TechCrunch 50 two years ago because of that).

I’ve been going around this enterprise world trying to understand it. I recently visited SocialCast and talked with CEO Tim Young about how he sees this revolution taking shape (and how he views Salesforce’s entry into it). In the interview you’ll hear Tim tout his advantages: that SocialCast is runable both on its servers, but can also be run on your own servers inside your firewall, or on your own infrastructure. Enterprises in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and banking will want to do this and won’t go with the Google or Salesforce model of “run it on our servers, they are safe, promise.”

I also talked last week with SocialText’s founder, Ross Mayfield. SocialText was the first company into this new “Enterprise 2.0″ space and they just shipped a new version that has a much broader range of applications than SocialCast or Salesforce has (spreadsheets and wikis, to name two) that are integrated deeply into its socially collaborative streams. Companies that want a complete set of applications should look at SocialText.

But, now, don’t miss what Google did last night (it turned on the Google Apps Marketplace). It’s big. But even more exciting and potentially revolutionary was the Gmail integrated contextual apps extensions. These let developers integrate all sorts of enterprise data right into Gmail. You can see where Google will go next, right? An enterprise version of Buzz with these widgets integrated into Buzz messages. Salesforce is actually ahead in integrating its partners’ data right into its feeds with Chatter, but it’s clear that window will close pretty quickly as Google keeps building its Enterprise Reef (my term for all the various projects that Google is stitching together). If you are interested in the enterprise space, I’d definitely watch the video presentations from last night. Salesforce has a few million users, Google has 25 million users, so you can see the relative strength of Google’s moves. Salesforce must articulate a strategy of how it will both partner with, and differentiate from, Google’s reef.

After the presentations last night I talked with executives from Zoho, Atlassian, and other companies. They agree with Benioff that a revolution at work is underway. They are seeing sizeable sales and adoption into enterprises as we all change how we work from a file-based and email-based system of working to a socially-collaborative feed way of working.

This is also why the most important panel at SXSW will be the Activity Streams panel. All of these companies need to adopt standards-based stream formats so that they can easily interoperate with each other and all the data sources that will need to shove data and reports into our work streams of the future. I’ll be there and will report more on Saturday as I understand more about the state of the art.

Are you feeling this revolution yet? Are you changing how you work with others? Or are you still only using email and Microsoft Sharepoint to collaborate with your coworkers? If you are, beware, your work life is about to change big time.

If you work at a company like Jive, SocialCast, SocialText, or Salesforce, what do you think? Are Marc Benioff’s moves important?

Check in on this: can location-based services get any hotter?

If you’ve been reading Techcrunch or Techmeme lately you know just how in love tech bloggers are with location-based services like Foursquare. Just yesterday Facebook announced its intention to check in on this hot market.

Even the major players, like Gowalla, know that they must innovate to stay relevant. Gowalla’s CEO, Josh Williams, told me yesterday in a video interview that everyone knows that the check-in gesture will be a commodity pretty quickly, if it isn’t already (even Yelp added the “check in” gesture).

Gowalla and Foursquare this morning checked in new iPhone apps, both of which make the experience of using these services a lot nicer. You can see Josh showing me Gowalla’s new iPhone app in the video here.

Why do these matter? Because of three reasons:

1. By letting the world know your location you can enable a new kind of search. Yelp will show you restaurants near you. Foursquare will show you tips near you. Gowalla will show you tours, or trips near you.
2. Several of these let you play various games, like collecting badges, or just collecting cool locations. You can show your friends all the places you checked in on your European vacation, for instance.
3. A rolodex of your friends organized by location is very powerful. I use this all the time to setup meetings near me with new execs I want to meet.

Gowalla and Foursquare aren’t the only ones trying to thrive in this space, though. Brightkite, Loopt, Whrrl, Lunch.com, and others are releasing new versions this week and are trying to find communities that will love them.

But for me the real fight this week is between Foursquare and Gowalla. I’m using both and neither has come out with a set of features that make me totally want to use one over the other.

The longer term fight (IE, between now and June) is whether any of these will be able to defend themselves against Facebook and Google.

Google’s Buzz should give some of these startups some hope. Before Buzz came out I expected it to be much more competitive with Twitter and Facebook. After it arrived we realized that Google isn’t as smart in the social arena and I thought they might be.

Already Foursquare’s co-founder is saying that Facebook is losing its “real friendness” when compared to these newer services and he does have a point, but it seems it’s way too early to poke the bear. Ask Mark Andreessen how that works out (he made Mozilla seem far more important than it actually turned out to be and woke up the Microsoft bear which proceeded to chase Mozilla off of its lawn).

Anyway, this space is white hot and the next week will decide which team or teams will get to do battle with Facebook and Google in the real test for this space.

Can this area get any hotter? Will something surprising that none of us are expecting come out at SXSW?

One thing I like is just how articulate Josh Williams of Gowalla is on this space. Anyone interested should definitely watch this video.

By the way, if you haven’t read the Google Buzz thread on this topic yet, you should. I lay out why I still like Foursquare the best there.