The End of Flash as we Know It

Post by
Scott Francis

Usually when someone says "the end of" some technology, we can all snicker, knowing that this meme comes up every so often and is usually way off base.? In this case, with Adobe's recent announcement of the end of Flash on mobile devices, we can reasonably say it is the beginning of the end of Flash as we know it - because, increasingly, sites will be designed without it.? Flash won't go away in a day or a week, but it is in decline.

It seems like a reasonable strategic move for Adobe.? Their engineering team has had more than enough time to figure out how to make it perform for mobile devices - and it hasn't.? Moreover, iOS was unlikely to support Flash even if it started to perform well.

Still, it was a moment full of rich claim chowder.? No surprise, Daring Fireball has the best collection of such links:

  • Everybody Wins - as John points out, it isn't some competing Apple tech that won, it was HTML5, which is an open specification.
  • And clearly, Steve was Right.
  • Opponents: in this piece, John reminds us that Apple didn't win this argument from a position of market dominance, they were starting from a position of zero marketshare in 2007.? And one could argue that keeping Flash off the phone improved the experience - and therefore the sales - of the devices.
  • Why Apple is Completely Wrong - one of the more amusing "claim chowder" posts.? JR Raphael's response is even more amusing, in that he completely ducks the argument he picked in the first place. And of course the first tip-off that he's lost the argument is that he opens his blog by belittling Daring Fireball and John Gruber, rather than just responding to the points made.
  • Did you know Flash 10.1 was going to kill HTML5?

What's surprising (to me) is how many people really thought Flash support was a problem, or a marketing gimmick that real people would care about.

At least there is one commentator who had the courage to poke fun at his own writing: Dan Frommer, now writing for his own spot, SplatF:

But it was so impractical! Not just the idea of Palm and Adobe banding together ? they actually did try to work together on Flash for WebOS devices, and it still failed. But the idea of Flash working well on a mobile/touch device was so far-fetched in 2007, and is still pretty looney today. And that?s a big reason why Adobe is now winding down mobile Flash development. (Though it will continue to try to be a part of the mobile app ecosystem, which is sort of what I was getting at.)

Anyway, I think that was the first time John Gruber linked to me from Daring Fireball. I guess I deserved his sarcasm that day:

Sure, and maybe they can wave the same magic wand and make chips run faster and cooler and have batteries that last for weeks without recharging.

At least Dan owns it.? I'd love to see something similar from Fred Wilson's blog - a re-examining of the basic truths as he saw them in 2007-8.

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