End of the App story?

Do you know Pokki? Neither did I, until I read about in the FT.

Apparently, Pokki allows developers to create software as Apps, using HTML5 (the next generation of website/internet development language).

The really interesting bit in the blog was this: through use of this new technology, anyone could develop any App for the Apple OS system, without having to distribute it through the iTunes Appstore or other Apple exclusive distribution channel.

Whoosh – that sound you just heard was the disappearance of a good bit of Apple’s revenue.

App stores (Apple and others combined) revenue are projected to grow from $7.3bn in 2011 to $14.1bn in 2012, and projected to have a value of $36.7bn in 2015.

Note that the reference is to revenue, not to number of Apps.

If, however, anyone can develop any App, and then market it without having to go through the App store or equivalent of other OS providers, that number may well be very wide off the mark.

Moreover, the potential freedom offered by HTML5 not only applies to the entry-fee commission to the Apple App store, but also to any other restrictions set in the SDK’s imposed by different OS providers (Apple and RIM are pretty restrictive, Nokia, Microsoft and Android allow a lot of freedom – it is probably one of the main reasons why the number of Android Apps grows so much faster).

This is more relevant than just revenue for Apple, RIM, and other OS/SDK providers though.

It is connected to the eternal swing movement between closed and open systems.

The Internet is notorious for being open. That’s a main reason why it has been revolutionary, rather than just another small step.

Most private business prefers closed systems though. Apple (and the teenage Microsoft) are prime examples, but they are far from being the only ones.

Historically, markets have opened up because of technological development (especially when that technological development is based on open standards or open technology, like the Internet).

An explosion of new applications and businesses follows. Gradually, new champions emerge, and existing champions adapt or buy influence.

And then IP rights start to kick in.  Established businesses start litigating to block new entrants, or to prevent others from using specific parts of the new technological developments.

Slowly, the new system becomes more and more closed. Innovation slows down, and the market power of champions grows.

Until another technological breakthrough opens it up again.

Is HTML5 such a breakthrough, that will open parts of the Internet again?

Too early to tell, but maybe the pendulum will swing again towards freedom and innovation.

What seems likely though, is that Apple’s investment in “App Store” as a brand and trademark may well be dead in the water.