Apple Develops Its Own Adobe Flash-Killer, Gianduia. But Why?

by Jeff Wiener on May 13, 2010

I have no doubt that much like me you were questioning Steve Jobs’ recent open letter to the public over the failings of Adobe’s Flash software. Not that his claims weren’t true, for it truly does seem that Flash will meets its end at the hands of HTML5, but that they really served no purpose except to anger and annoy. It is with this in mind that we hear that Apple is now developing its own platform, Gianduia, “a client-side, standards based framework for Rich Internet Apps, to create production quality online apps for its retail users.”

While it comes as little surprise to see Apple produce a platform of its own meant to rival, if not kill, Adobe’s Flash, the move seems strange in light of Jobs’ comments regarding the antiquated and outdated nature of Flash, comments that could also be made in reference to Gianduia.

So with Apple committing itself to backing the development and implementation of the cutting edge HTML5, a web upgrade that will most likely kill the need for Flash, seeing Apple create its own Flash alternative Gianduia, which will undoubtedly succumb to the power of HTML5 as well, seems particularly strange, which naturally begs the question, why develop Gianduia in the first place?

With the answer to this question aside for a moment, Gianduia, like other third-party JavaScript frameworks like Cappuccino, takes a Cocoa-inspired name (Gianduia is the name of an Italian hazelnut chocolate) to, as AppleInsider reports, “describe its role as a way for Cocoa developers to bring their skills to rich online applications built using web standards, with no need for a proprietary web plugin like Flash or Silverlight.”

The strange thing is that Gianduia is certainly not new, as Apple rolled it out at last year’s World of WebObjects Developer Conference, and Apple has employed this framework for programs like the One-to-One program, the Concierge service for Genius Bar reservations, Personal shopping programs, and the iPhone reservation system, but only now, after Apple’s rejection of Flash, do we see Gianduia touted as the Flash killer.

The benefit of Gianduia, in fairness to Apple, is that it is able to provide support for Rich Internet Apps, such as those that contain video, using current web standards, but without the need for the same web plugins that Flash depends on.

Nevertheless, all this seems to smack of corporate hypocrisy, as we find Steve Jobs’ railing against the antiquated nature of Flash one week, and then rolling out Apple’s equally antiquated programming framework the next.

While I have not sided with either Adobe or Apple in their ongoing feud, it’s about time Apple was honest about its motivations; it has rejected Adobe’s popular Flash technology not because Flash it old, antiquated, or even difficult to use, but because Apple thought it might be able to employ its own antiquated tech while the world waits for HTML5.

Though I have little against Apple’s desire to employ its own tech in favor of something produced by its competitor’s, why the whole show? Why write open letters to the public over the failings of Flash? Why wait till Adobe finishes the production of its Creative Suite 5 before changing the developer agreement to eliminate Flash apps? And why produce Gianduia, an antiquated framework in its own right, especially when reports indicate that developers can’t even download Gianduia to construct Flash-style content like animations or games? It just doesn’t make sense.

In the end one thing is clear, Gianduia won’t kill Flash, at least not anytime soon, and with both platforms likely eventually succumbing to the power of HTML5, it really won’t matter anyways.

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Written by: Jeff Wiener. Follow by: RSS, Twitter,, or Friendfeed

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