Thursday, November 10, 2011

Adobe Kills Mobile Flash

The tech news today is alive with Adobe's announcement that it's Flash plugin for mobile browsers will no longer be developed. Bugs for the existing plugin for browsers on Android and Blackberry will be fixed but there will be no new development. Instead the company will focus on HTML5 which allows browsers to do the same nifty animations and movies but is an open standard.
    Journalists immediately started to say the Steve Jobs has had the last laugh since he famously refused to allow Flash onto iOS devices. It's now hard to disagree. In April 2010 Jobs published an open letter to clarify his reasons called, "Thoughts on Flash", which said,  "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short...New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."
    It's hard to see now why developers would use Flash if they had the choice between HTML5 and Flash; unless they either don't have HTML5 skills (and are unwilling to learn) or are so bound to Flash for legacy reasons they have no real choice. I know this to be the case for several who are know faced with the decision of investing in HTML5 or seeing their products increasingly relegated to a shrinking PC ghetto.
    Adobe also announced it was cutting 750 jobs.