Slideshare made an announcement this morning that is sure to thrill open Web standards advocates and iOS gadget lovers alike. The document and presentation-sharing site has done away with Flash completely and now uses HTML5 for its file embeds.
Not only will millions of SlideShare uploads embedded across the Web now render effortlessly on iPhones and iPads, but the company also launched a new mobile site that renders nicely on smartphones and tablets as well. The upgrade should also make the site and its embeds load faster, since they don't rely on clunky Flash plugins and content to render.
With this move, SlideShare becomes the latest popular website to forgo proprietary app stores like Apple's in favor of a cross-platform-friendly HTML5 Web app. We've seen Amazon do this with its Kindle Cloud Reader and in the newspaper world, the Financial Times has had some success with its own mobile Web app, which recently surpassed its old native iOS apps in users.
In the presentation-sharing space, SlideShare's closest competitor is probably Scribd, which has its own native iOS app called Float rather than a mobile-friendly Web app. Their website renders on the iPad, but tapping on a presentation results in a prompt to download a PDF rather than displaying it natively in the browser.
The change has the added advantage of allowing SlideShare to sell premium subscriptions to its service without having to pay 30% of that revenue to Apple.