Facebook's Zuckerberg, Closed App Stores and HTML5

By Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC  |  July 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of NGN.

Could you imagine being so famous that your declaration of killing all the food you eat yourself becomes mainstream news? And all this at age 27? In case you missed it, I am talking about Mark Zuckerberg, a man who in a few short years has become as popular it seems as Steve Jobs (News - Alert).When you think about Apple and Facebook and the popularity of both, you wonder what sort of competitive conflicts the two companies will have in the future. For example, Apple's (News - Alert) Ping is supposed to be its entry into the social networking realm. To date, though, I don't think Facebook has much to worry about.But what is interesting about the two companies is in 2009, Facebook's (News - Alert) iPhone developer Joe Hewitt gave up on the project because of what he called Apple tyranny. These were his comments, according to TechCrunch:

“My decision to stop iPhone (News - Alert) development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.

“The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.”

Seeing the open web become a closed ecosystem controlled by a handful of companies is a fear every person who uses technology should have. Imagine a world where the apps you use have to be policed for content by some entry-level kid in a cube somewhere. That isn't a world I want to live in, but Apple designs such amazing devices that many of us give up application freedom because Apple's products are just so great to use.

Luckily, HTML5 is supported by many devices including browsers on Apple devices and, as a result, there is hope for those of us craving open development environments where any developer is free to create any application he or she chooses – free from censorship or guidance from a big brother company.This is one of the primary reasons the world has a vested interest in learning about and moving to HTML5 as soon as possible.

The open computing environment is something to be cherished and protected, and the longer we let a handful of companies manage our apps for us, the more freedom we lose.

My passion on the topic has led TMC, the parent company of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine and the organization of which I am CEO, to launch in conjunction with Crossfire Media a conference called DevCon5 focused on HTML5 development. It takes place this month in New York City. (We also recently launched an HTML5 Report news site and associated newsletter.)

It is no secret that more of the world is using mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, and many of these devices are not able to see much of the magnificent Adobe (News - Alert) Flash development on the web. This means that if you don't have an HTML5 strategy, every day more of the content on your website will be invisible to the outside world.

To learn more about the show visit the DevCon5 website at html5.tmcnet.com/conference.To date Mark Zuckerberg is not scheduled to attend the conference, but with some notice we can be sure there is a live goat, knife and a Weber grill available for him.

Rich Tehrani is CEO of TMC. In addition, he is the Chairman of the world’s best-attended communications conference, INTERNET TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO (ITEXPO). He is also the author of his own communications and technology blog.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi