Why would Intel want to help port iOS apps to HTML5?

Brent Simmons mentioned Intel’s beta tool to port iOS apps to HTML5, and says, “I don’t know why.”

I have a hunch here – just a hunch, but I’ll throw it out there anyway:

With Windows 8, Microsoft has embraced HTML5 as a first-class application UI framework (along with your choice of JavaScript, VB and C#).

Intel’s success or failure is in no small part tied to Microsoft’s. In order for them to stay relevant in the consumer space, they will need to ensure that they can compete with ARM architectures that are core to most mobile devices.

Leaving the hardware issues aside for a moment and looking at software, both Microsoft and by extension Intel need to make it as easy as possible for the ginormous mobile developer community to get onto their platform stack.

By making it easy easier to get your apps to run in HTML5, they might be able to help developers get cross-platform presence in Windows 8, which presumably would boost the value of the platform, and thereby help shore up Intel’s languishing consumer market. I think that’s part of what Intel is doing here. (If they’re also working on hardware optimized for HTML5 and/or JavaScript, that would make porting more valuable for them.)

Of course this assumes that the consumer market will actually embrace Windows 8, which certainly remains to be seen, and that developers will feel they can make it economical to develop for it. Personally I have doubts, but I’ve been wrong before.

But Microsoft is tenacious, and plays a long game with the ability to put up whatever table stakes they want to. Barring some major upheaval, it will take years for this to play out to the point where any clear winner emerges.

And it’s just as likely that we’ll continue to have a heterogeneous environment into the far future. Personally I think that’s good for the ecosystem, since it means more competition, better ideas coming from all players, and better value for users.

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