To date, apps have continued to dominate HTML5. Although developers would likely prefer to live in a world where they don’t have to code for numerous operating systems, the integration offered by traditional apps still reigns supreme. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), for example, attempted to go the HTML5 route years ago, but has long since given up on the strategy.
Mozilla’s CEO Gary Kovacs thinks things are different nowadays. According to Gigaom, he believes that innovations in web technology have made HTML5 a viable alternative to apps. Ultimately, if Kovacs is right, it could have much larger implications. If the mobile operating system doesn’t matter, then companies that live by it have much to lose.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), in particular, would be most disadvantaged, as the majority of the company’s profits come from its iOS devices. If consumers can get the same experience purchasing a cheaper phone, there’s no reason to buy into Apple’s walled garden.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), who already gives Android away for free, likely wouldn’t care. In fact, the company’s Chrome OS already uses a similar strategy in the desktop space, relying on the web to replace traditional PC apps.
Research In Motion Ltd and Microsoft, like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), make money off their operating systems directly. Improved HTML5 would benefit them in the sense that it would lessen their app ecosystem weaknesses, yet, at the same time, it would undermine the need to pay for their exclusive operating systems in the first place.
Will history repeat itself?
If history repeats itself, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android and Apple’s iOS have the mobile operating system game in the bag. Like Windows in the 1990s, such robust app ecosystems will make it difficult for new mobile operating systems to compete.
Yet, investors should keep an eye on Firefox OS. If Mozilla’s basic premise holds true — that apps can be fully replaced by HTML5 websites — it could have enormous consequences for the sector. In that case, this discussion would be completely moot, for mobile operating systems would no longer matter.
The article Yet Another New Mobile OS Is Coming This Year originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Joe Kurtz.
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