Thursday, February 4, 2010

Adobe's Flash R.I.P.?

Adobe is frustrated at Steve Jobs as Apple's mobile devices increasingly become a bigger player in the Internet experience. The iPhone platform which was released three years ago still does not have Flash and that does not seem like it will change anytime soon. But it's not entirely Apple's fault. Adobe's Flash platform isn't conducive to long battery usage. Simple as that.

The recently announced Apple iPad along with advances in HTML5 will only accelerate the trend of companies rebuking Adobe's Flash platform over the long term.

It turns out, Adobe's frustrations are well grounded (in fear). If content creators start considering the growing Apple userbase and stop leveraging Flash because they'd rather not alienate Apple device users, it means a long and slow death spiral for Adobe's platform. Fact: Adobe makes a LOT of money selling content creation software, Adobe doesn't make any money on people downloading the Flash plugin. Adobe is one of the largest software vendors for the Windows platform outside of Microsoft itself, e.g., Photoshop, Dreamweaver, PDF software, etc., etc. In short, Adobe makes a large portion of its revenue selling content creation tools. If one of its major formats dies, i.e. Flash, that's a serious blow to Adobe.

Case in point, remember when Real Networks blazed trails with respect to streaming audio/video over the Internet? Well, look where they are now. I can't remember the last time I installed any of Real's software and given the fact that practically no one puts out content in Real's format anymore, that won't be changing anytime soon.

I wrote about HTML5 a few days ago which shimmys itself in a position that essentially starts loosening Flash's vice grip on video playback. It seems I'm not the only one with this opinion:

"HTML vs. Flash: Can a turf war be avoided?"

Here's an excerpt:

Bruce Lawson, Web standards evangelist for browser maker Opera Software, believes HTML and the other technologies inevitably will replace Flash and already collectively are "very close" to reproducing today's Flash abilities.

"The Web (including video, games, animation) is too vital a platform for business, communication, and society to be in the hands of any single vendor," Lawson said. "But it'll be a while; there is a huge body of existing content that uses Flash."

Both Lawson and I have come to the same conclusion - the long term future for Adobe's Flash platform is not bright (pun intended).

1 comment:

Coffee Addict said...

Obviously, nobody wants a single vendor to control them with a closed format. Adobe is essentially against the grain. If you look at Inkscape, for example, it is amazingly capable, compared to Illustrator. The former's output format is SVG, an open format. Adobe is in the wrong millieu.