Thursday, December 11, 2008

Whatever Happened to QuickTime II
I like to keep an eye on some of the media developer lists out there, and today I came across a fascinating discussion that could basically serve as the sequel to the article I wrote, this time last year, for Streaming Media, detailing the woes of developers who have watched Apple stop supporting the excellent tools and third-party applications that allowed them to build rich media/interactive programs and tools in QuickTime, which still, by the way, does a better job than Flash on so many levels.

According to veteran multimedia developer Jon Alper, "The way Flash handles video and audio, even in an MPEG-4 format is simply inadequate, period. The reasons why run the gamut from server taxes to sync."

He goes on: "The problem is, the way Flash does everything else is much more focused on what content authors needed than QuickTime's wired sprites ever were. Ironically, this was as much or more a result of insufficient tools and evangelism for interactivity in QuickTime than caused by any meaningful failure of the still vastly better underlying philosophy of QuickTime.

"Macromedia bought and then enhanced a file format and toolset, built a thriving developer and designer community around it by focusing on the tools and the ease and needs of the people who made the content."

This is not good news for Apple or Microsoft, but Microsoft seems more aware of the danger here than Apple does.

Alper: "Adobe bought Macromedia and Flash with it and now neither Apple nor Microsoft control the playback of rich media on their own platforms. Microsoft is volleying back with Silverlight and in a move I find, frankly brilliant, is even supporting the Mac as a target platform. I doubt it will work because I don't think Microsoft has what Apple and Adobe do in the way of a means of connecting to the designers, but Microsoft's creation of Silverlight and decision to support the Mac indicate they perceive the very real threat to their own access to the eyeballs using their own operating system."

I'll be keeping an eye on the discussion as it continues....

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