SkyFire Overwhelms Apple’s AppStore: Need Anymore Evidence that People want Flash?

by Matt Klassen on November 8, 2010

Last week here at theTelecomblog it was reported that Apple had let Flash onto its devices in a roundabout sort of way, through the addition of the Flash-to-HTML5 conversion browser app known as SkyFire. Well, if you ever wondered how much users of Apple devices want Flash on their phones, tablets, or MP3 players, the following story should be all the proof you need.

In just under five (5) hours after its release, Apple was forced to remove SkyFire from its popular AppStore becomes the incredibly high demand for the app was threatening to take down the entire system. In fact, the SkyFire was so popular upon its release that it actually unseated the incumbent Angry Birds, an addictive little app that had previously sat at the top of the applications sales charts for months.

So what does this tell us? For one thing I’ll reiterate the point made here last week, people want Flash on their Apple devices. Beyond that, the removal of the application after its undeniable popularity means that Apple may be a little embarrassed about the comments Apple CEO Steve Jobs made about the Internet video encoding software earlier this year, as its clear Flash is not going anywhere.

Beyond Apple removing the popular Flash decoder application from its store, SkyFire itself was clearly overwhelmed—and probably a little surprised—by the huge demand for its product. Within a matter of hours all of SkyFire’s servers were rendered almost inoperable, leading to the result that we had predicted here: streaming content being decoded at a snail’s pace leaving users around the world frustrated and disillusioned.

What really makes me wonder, however, is the initial explanation of the removal of the application from the AppStore, as both Apple and SkyFire claimed the application was “sold out.” Now you’ll have to excuse my ignorance, but I for one am a little unclear about how a piece of mobile software available for download on the Internet can actually be “sold out.”

Instead, removing the app from the AppStore so quickly is evidence for me of two realities: First, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users want Flash; hell, they need Flash. Second, it shows me that Apple is now clearly aware of how much their users want to be able to access the highest percentage of Flash content on the Web.

It’s no secret that Apple despises Flash, considering it a ramshackle piece of antiquated software that has so many glitches and bugs that no one in their right mind would ever want to use it. But beyond the recognition of how much their apparently addle-brained users want to use the antiquated Flash, I’m sure there are some around the Apple offices who are little embarrassed by the bold comments made by their fearless leader this past summer.

But lets be honest here, did Apple pull the SkyFire app because it was embarrassed by its popularity? Of course not, clearly the incredible demand for the app came as a complete surprise for Apple and for SkyFire, leading to the inevitable removal of the app because of the threat it posed to the integrity of the entire AppStore. But that being said, there’s still a lot about this situation that Apple is probably embarrassed about, though its unlikely you’ll ever here them admit it.

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{ 1 comment }

Geoffrey Wiseman November 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Skyfire didn’t overwhelm the app store, it overwhelmed Skyfire’s servers. So you might see this as further evidence that interacting with Flash causes things to crash. 😉

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