- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Adobe Air Archive
Back in December I provided results from advertising on Facebook. While the results weren’t great and the company billed me just over $1 last month, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says the company, “…could not be doing better financially”.
Over the past week companies including Seesmic have launched desktop applications which allow you to access your Facebook “stream” on your desktop without ever visiting the facebook.com website. Steven Hodson has a good overview of the new Seesmic application.
These new applications are similar to the crop of Twitter applications that allow you to interact with the service “off-site”. Most power users appear to use an off-site service when interacting with Twitter. I can only assume we will see the same pattern with Facebook and off-site interaction. I am not sold that these desktop applications have a chance to actually be solid revenue generators but we will leave that discussion for another day.
My question to Facebook is…where are my ads within these new desktop applications? Are they sent as a package with the feed to the desktop applications? If advertising is the model that Facebook intends to use going forward, I would have thought ads would be included in the desktop stream from day 1. I will admit that I haven’t downloaded the Seesmic desktop application but in all of the reviews I have read, there has been no mention of advertising within the stream.
Assuming ads are not currently part of the desktop applications, when they add them, will we see the same sort of backlash that Facebook has experienced with Beacon and more recently with the terms of service changes? The numbers of Facebook users using the desktop applications is low today and will be for the short-term but as that number grows (especially with power users), Facebook will be forced to push out more ads into the stream – or they risk losing the $1 that I paid them last month since users will never have the chance to engage with my ad unit.
The online office market continues to heat up. Everyone wants a piece of the Microsoft Office pie from Zoho to Google to SlideShare along with hundreds of other startups. SlideRocket is a Powerpoint replacement and is moving into public beta today.
SlideRocket launched in private beta in March and you can check out initial reviews on Techcrunch and ZDNet. SlideRocket offers free and paid versions of their presentation application. Phil Wainewright notes regarding an additional component to their business model:
One innovative extra that will help SlideRocket make money is its plan to offer a marketplace of data and asset services for paid use in presentations — for example, market sizing data and other material from analyst firms, or stock images from photo libraries. It’s the sort of money-making add-on that Microsoft ought to have done long ago with PowerPoint — it’s the classic ’software plus services’ play.
As startups continue to realize that there’s money in them hills – those hills being small to enterprise businesses, we will slowly see a shift to useful utilities instead of yet another social network.
Adobe AIR is a platform that can be utilized to create rich desktop applications. Twhirl and AlertThingy are two recent examples of applications built on AIR.
freshAIRApps is a community resource that offers a directory of AIR applications, news, resources along with developer tutorials. Corvida posted a review of the service on Readwriteweb and noted, "FreshAIRApps is poised to be the premier directory for all your Adobe AIR needs by providing a haven for users and developers to mingle together."
Apparently Adobe is now going after anyone who uses the word "air" in a domain name that has content related to the Adobe AIR platform. freshAIRApps creator James Whittaker noted today:
I have recently been informed that Adobe systems believe that this website and it’s domain name are in infringement of their trademarks. This is because I am using the word AIR in the domain name freshAIRapps.com. Adobe seem to think that they own the trademark of AIR and that I can’t use it and should hand the domain over to them and stop the website. After reading through the list of Adobe trademarks they only reference Adobe AIR and not AIR. I have been in communication with members of the Adobe evangelist team who truly believe that I am helping the community and promoting the use of the AIR runtime and subsequent applications built on the platform. I started this site because I have a genuine interest in AIR and other Adobe technologies.
James concludes by saying that, "Adobe has let me and the community down by trying to block sites that appear to challenge their marketplace, even though none of the apps featured on this site are hosted by me." If James properly redirects the domain, the change should be semi-transparent.
We will try to get some comments from Adobe AIR evangelist Ryan Stewart today. Going forward, freshAIRApps will now be known as RefreshingApps.
Web strategy firm Howard Baines has just released to the public their FriendFeed API application named AlertThingy. It uses Adobe AIR to run as a desktop application and basically shows you whatever is in your friendfeed on your desktop. That’s about it. I won’t even ask how they will monetize it (see below) or how FriendFeed will monetize themselves because it’s the same issue as Twitter has. It seems everyone loves FriendFeed these days.
This is a smart idea and more Web agencies should be creating simple Web apps built on other platforms to keep their agency top of mind. While the traditional Howard Baines client may not give a hoot about FriendFeed, it can be a great sales strategy. It can also help build very valuable inbound links like the one above.
I noticed that the customization is very limited. For example, the screenshot below is the smallest you can make the window. There are no color selections or transparency settings and when minimized in Windows, you can’t click to bring it back, you are forced to right click and select Show.
Update: NicoleSimon notes on Twitter: #alertthingy: does not use my "hide" settings, does not have the links, colors hurt my eyes, hate opaque – ping me again with version 5.0.
Today Adobe is announcing the official release of Adobe AIR and Flex 3. While these announcements are not really news in that the products have been in beta, and usable for a year, today seems a good point in time to mark the official end of the Windows era.
With AIR and Flex, What Adobe is doing is building a platform to replace all operating systems as a development target, and the implications of this are profound.
For most applications it does not make sense to write directly to the OS any more. This movement has been underway for years as application developers have been increasingly writing applications for web browsers instead of for specific PC operating systems. But web applications have had two problems. First they just looked crappy compared to desktop apps. And second, they did not have access to the file system and other local resources that a standard application has.
What is strategically significant about these tools is that they give millions of web developers the ability to do almost everything a hardcore Windows or Mac developer can do in a way that is totally cross platform (Windows/Mac/Linux and maybe mobile someday). A typical web developer today has no idea how to build desktop apps, so this technology is a game changer for that audience.
Adobe’s strategy is a death stroke to Windows as a strategic monopolistic platform. And Adobe as a software company with revenues north of three billion dollars has the muscle, the development community, and the momentum to fight this battle. They will not be "Netscaped."
Windows will be a money maker for years to come as a tool that end users care about. And to be sure, there is still significant strategic value to the platform. But as a "must have" because people need to run Windows compatible apps, as of today we can say that rationale is officially dead.
RIP Windows 2008.
This article was authored by Hank Williams who is a New York-based entrepreneur who recently launched a new blog: Why Does Everything Suck? exploring the tech marketplace from 10,000 feet.