It is a bold move and one that I think pays off for Adobe down the road. The key with Flash has always been penetration and as quickly as people upgrade, releasing a new player requires a lot of waiting on the part of early adopters. The latest stats on Adobe's page indicate that Flash Player 9 has only 35.9% penetration but at the FlashForward Macworld Keynote we found out that the penetration is closer to 60%. This is nowhere near the 90%+ that Flash Player 8 has and leaves people adopting Flex 2 how much of an impact that penetration number will have on their business. But with Flex, Ted says he believes that Adobe should always target the player that has 90% penetration:
As our market is by majority business applications, we need to focus on wide deployment and compatibility first and on new player dependent runtime features second. Flex should always deploy into the fat of the Flash Player adoption curve and it is my opinion that we should always target the player that is 90% deployed. If that means that Flex 3,4,5 ship targeting Flash Player 9 all the better for developers and companies. Honestly there are a ton of features that need to be added into Flex independent of the runtime and above the compiler. When Flash Player 10 hits 90%, Flex should target Flash Player 10 in all future releases.
I tend to agree with Ted that this is only going to help Flex adoption. Even with Flash Player 9's current 60% penetration, a lot of companies and web applications are leveraging Flex 2. It's becoming an accepted way to build web applications and using the eventual ubiquity of Flash Player 9 to deliver more features can only help Flex adoption. The recent release of Flash Player 9 for Linux only helps the story.