This report about Google’s brand power reminds me of a discussion I had with a guy from Adobe at ETech who was pushing Apollo. I was trying to figure out why somebody would want to use it, and this guy’s response was “One word; branding”. Of course, he trotted out the expected example of Apple and iTunes and said that iTunes was more immersive and therefore provided Apple superior branding. Ok, fair enough. But obviously, as this report shows, Google didn’t require a fat client in order to build one of the world’s strongest brands.

Adobe’s ability to execute has been impressive, of course. But I can’t help but wonder if they wouldn’t be doing so much better had they simply innovated on top of the Web. I suppose that’s the easy way out, but it’s not nearly the most lucrative.


no comment until now

  1. Mark,

    I don’t understand how Apollo is not “innovating on top of the web”. Sure, it is not *solely* on top of the web. But the browser is not *solely* on top of the web either, is it? I mean the browser access the desktop. Apollo apps can do the same, only as a developer I can use Apollo’s desktop abilities to go beyond the browser’s desktop abilities.

    Is one (the browser) a good “web” use of the browser but the other (Apollo) not a good “web” use of the browser? Why?

  2. Erm, intended to write something like…

    Is one (the browser) a good “web” use of the desktop but the other (Apollo) not a good “web” use of the desktop?

  3. Hi Patrick. “Yes” to your second comment because most of the value of the Web is being able to deploy new functionality using already deployed software.

  4. OK, let me dig into this a bit.

    If I want to access some USB device, say my camera, from an app, and that camera’s driver does not implement a web server then I cannot get to that device from my laptop if that laptop is only running apps fully “on top of the web”.

    Now I could write a little web server that access the USB device and puts a web interface in front of it. Then I could get to that USB device from my non-apollo browser.

    Or I could write an apollo app that accesses the USB device.

    Generally speaking if there were a web (e.g. HTTP) interface to cameras or whatever, from anywhere on the web, that would be a good thing. I would not even be constrained to USB cameras on my laptop.

    Then perhaps if cameras generally used bonjour/zeroconf for discovery and lookup, and then http for web access, cool.

    I guess until then I am happy to have apollo with more desktop capabilities *along* with web capabilities. Presumably as soon as cameras started showing up on the web, apollo could use them as well as other browsers.

    Until then, though, those other browsers are excluded from accessing my camera. So while that is not “on top of the web” I think it is the camera’s fault, not apollo’s.

  5. […] and Fuzzy jumped on something from Mark Baker about Apollo and whether or not it’s built on top of the […]

  6. Hi Mark, by “branding”, I think the rest of the sentence might have been something like “One reason why Apollo is getting such a good response among creators is because it’s completely their own branding; these’s no Adobe chrome or logos, it’s entirely your choice of look-and-feel.”

    (In the Apple iTunes analogy, the Apple role would be played by a website owner, not Adobe… it’s like how Flash Video became very popular because it got out of the way and didn’t show in a separate Macromedia-branded box. Apollo has no UI: it’s a publishing platform for content creators, who wish to create standalone OS-neutral applications, using just the range of common WWW development techniques.)

    The FAQ has much more info — it’s in wiki now, but the second URL will always bring you to the best address:


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