Quicktime better than Flash?

Somehow I can just hear Steve Jobs saying something along the lines of: If it supports or uses Flash, they blew it.

The CEO of Apple is notorious for condemning other companies’ implementations of various technologies and his recent comments are no exception. Two big targets: Google’s Android mobile OS and Adobe’s Flash rich-media platform. Jobs is a huge proponent of web standard technologies like HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS 2.1/3 replacing older, proprietary technologies like Flash.

Now, hang on just a minute. Something’s been nagging at the back of my mind lately about Apple’s website (a site that doesn’t comply with HTML5 standards, by the way). I jumped on http://apple.com/getamac and clicked on “Watch the Ads.” Yep, just as I suspected, Apple provides it’s website videos, demos, and other presentations using Quicktime.

Let me say that again: Quicktime.

Now, if there’s one technology that’s bloated, slow, buggy, not guaranteed to be installed on any Windows PC, and is certainly NOT a web standard–it’s Apple Quicktime.

If everything Jobs has been saying lately is any indication, I would’ve expected that all media on Apple’s websites would use H.264-encoded, HTML5 compliant video. But such is not the case. If the target of your ads is non-Mac users, then why in the world would you use Quicktime? If not HTML5 video, it seems logical to at least use Microsoft Silverlight (which is installed on some 55% (not 75% as stated previously) of all computers out there–Macs AND PCs), if not Adobe Flash (which has a 98-99% marketshare).

But Quicktime??

Hmm–sensing just a little bit of hypocrisy there, Steve…

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  • I wonder where you’re getting your statistics for Silverlight. According to this site (http://www.statowl.com/plugin_overview.php) Quicktime is installed on more computers than Silverlight across the board, Windows and Mac. Don’t argue to replace one “non-web-standard” with another. And don’t fuss so much at Steve Jobs. He’s not the only guy who sees the advantage of moving away from Flash (see http://www.apple.com/ipad/ready-for-ipad/). You do have to grant him the fact that he actually wants to support true standards.

    I’m glad you’ve been thinking about getting a Mac lately! 🙂

  • My primary point is that Apple should be using HTML5 video on their own site if they’re going to so adamantly push it everywhere else. The Silverlight/Flash comment was simply to illustrate the disparity.

    The Silverlight statistic is actually above 55%. 75% was a typo.

    Jobs’ support of one standard doesn’t change the fact that he is more interested in locking customers into his “Empire” rather than allow real innovation and competition on his platform.

    Compared to companies like Google, Apple is looking more and more like AOL from the 90s.

  • Chuck Danton

    The argument is pretty absurd in the first place, and I suspect written only in some attempt to gain attention, but at least try to get things correct.

    Modern pages on the apple website offer html5 video with a quicktime fallback. (The Get a Mac Page mentioned is too old) The trailer sections of the quicktime page has similarly mixed implementations, some pages offer html5 while other are all quicktime. Large 720p-1080p videos are downloaded and played within the Quicktime Player application, not the browser. They are moving to html5 video but are not there yet, what is so wrong with that?

    There is no use complaining about the actual format of the video since there is no real accepted standard.

    “(a site that doesn’t comply with HTML5 standards, by the way)”

    Just using the old html validator, which is only a very general picture of compliance, I feel that apple’s site is more complaint that most sites online, including yours.

    Finally, saying Quicktime is bad since it is not a standard and fewer people use it is not really a logical basis for an argument. (With flash, there are actual issues within the environment that can be pointed out) Please elaborate on why quicktime is technically bad and not suited for online video presentation.

  • @Chuck

    I examined the Apple website in thorough detail before posting this. My premise is indeed 100% correct. I would challenge you to find URLs on Apple’s website that support your conclusion, as I can find none.

    You may also want to more carefully read the post before making unsupported accusations. I clearly stated why Quicktime is a bad idea (not simply because it’s not a standard) and pointed out that it would make better sense to use a more PC-centric non-standard if you’re going to use a non-standard at all. At least, that’s the message I get from this page: http://www.apple.com/getamac/

    Finally, Quicktime was never created to be a web-based player. It was ported into a plugin. H.264 HTML5 video is native. Flash was built with the web in mind (even if not video) and Silverlight was built specifically for both.

  • jay

    11 months later, as I try to watch the Newest ads on ipad2, I was still asked to update quicktime, even though my chrome plays H.264 videos just fine. As much as I like apple gadgets, I have one word for apple: “BS”.