Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

Summary: Jobs: 'Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future'

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So, Adobe is pulling the plug on Flash for mobile. Apple's iOS platform claims another victim.

And it was inevitable.

It was pretty obvious to me that Flash was never going to gain much in the way of traction in the mobile market as soon as Apple turned its back of the platform and refused it a foothold on the iPhone and the iPad.

While there are a lot of smartphones and tablets out there, the iPhone and iPad were (and still are) the flagship devices for the mobile sector. With Apple refusing to play ball in allowing flash onto its devices, the game was up. It was a case of when Adobe would pull the plug on mobile Flash, not if.

Some might argue that Adobe hasn't pulled the plug on Flash, just changed the wrapper (to Adobe AIR and HTML 5). I don't think this matters. This is still a massive blow to the Flash brand. If Flash has lost its grip on mobile, than the next step is for Flash to lose its grip on the web as a whole. I don't doubt that Adobe can still find ways to make money in a post-Flash world, but this will have a huge impact on the future of Flash and rich web as a whole.

What's really interesting to note is that Adobe is taking advice given to it by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Jobs wrote the following 'thoughts on Flash' back in April 2010. Here is the summary:

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.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple's mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 250,000 apps on Apple's App Store proves that Flash isn't necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

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 took a year and a half, but Adobe finally took Apple's advice.

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Topics: iPad, Enterprise Software, Mobility

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25 comments
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  • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

    Does Adobe make any money off Flash from anything other than selling licenses and tools?
    Darkninja962
    • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

      @Darkninja962@... Not really. About 7% of Adobe's revenue is attributed to Flash tools, licenses, and such.

      Considering that HTML5 use is rising, Adobe saw the writing on the wall. Selling HTML5 tools would eventually make more money than it's Flash business. Easy decision. It's going to be painful for awhile as they have to hack AIR/Flash to output HTML5 versus designed specifically for HTML5. Hopefully they rev their tools really fast.
      THA1210
      • I hope the quality of the code is better than flash

        @THA1210 The quality of Adobe code is quite lacking.
        otaddy
    • Makes money on Flash Streaming server..

      @Darkninja962@... That's where the real money is.. or was..
      doctorSpoc
  • Finally. [nt]

    [nt]
    olePigeon
  • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

    boo, hisssss - many meteorological sites use flash animations to display radar and satellite image loops. While I don't have any of these devices, now I won't be able to use them to view this content if & when my financial picture improves.
    Starman35
    • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

      @Starman35

      The Weather Channel app on iOS does animations without Flash. Don't worry; it'll be there for you.
      msalzberg
  • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

    ROTFL
    Of course! It's a very outdated technology, and not a fit for the mobile world.
    Instead of being pig-headed, adobe should have been developing newer, energy-efficient technology, suitable for mobile platforms.
    lqr_up_frnt
    • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

      @lqr_up_frnt I suspect they have been doing exactly this - I am guessing they want to be in a position to launch new tools before dropping old ones.
      cymru999
    • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

      @lqr_up_frnt
      In the past decade, Adobe has revamped it's Adobe Creative Suite to Adobe CS2, CS3, CS4 CS5, to CS5.5 with the next generation due out in less than a year. This means re-writing all their programs, adding tooling, and making changes to work quicker, along with adding new or bought out programs such as Dreamweaver. This means I have 6 $1,800 suites laying around. I wish they'd slow down. The present rate of upgrade changeover is running at once every 16 months. Flash is not outdated, just limited, with too many crash and security problems, while the sky is the limit with HTML5, and the best is yet to come with it.
      JimiKay
    • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

      @lqr_up_frnt - Say it ain't so! Flash has been the keystone argument of the 'roid users from day one. From what I've read, they can't live without it!! Are you implying that the 'roid OS is outdated by extension??
      Gr8Music
  • the pain is this

    - the writing has been on the wall for flash for sometime but it will be a long time dying - even longer than it takes webmasters to deliver mobile friendly web sites which is still leaving a lot of websites unsuited to iOS. Now I dont have sympathy for commercial sites but there will be thousands of non commercial sites who dont have the money to spend on a major redesign. Still as an android user I can have the best of both worlds (smiles smugly!)
    cymru999
  • I shall miss flash though......

    as I remember it transforming my web experience over a few years.....now I am sure HTML5 is delivering even better experiences but a boring name like HTML5 it is hardly a "flash" name for something that is supposed to be exciting and fun
    cymru999
  • They're not here to speak

    My hunch is that commercial artists everywhere stay away from ZDNet in droves. So we're not hearing what they have to say about this. But I can guess.

    Personally, I've never 'gotten' the artsy-fartsy side of Flash. That part of the GUI baffles me. But I know that there are thousands of commercial artists making a living with it. If after ten years of getting smart with that GUI, you tell them that they can do the same things with HTML5 and JavaScript, they are going to look at you as if you are speaking Swahili. They want to [i]draw[/i], not code.

    However the output is rendered, the Flash tool set is not going away any time soon.
    Robert Hahn
  • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

    Cheap journalism ploy referring to Jobs - again. Jobs clearly wasn't the only person on this planet who thought HTML 5 would obsolete Flash. There are thousands of other people out here who can think for themselves and didn't need help to determine this rather simplistic outcome. Find another way to make a point, or do you always needs someone else's help, too?
    Lucky2BHere
    • He was one with the biggest axe to grind against Flash.

      @Lucky2BHere And the biggest name to spell out exactly why it was past it's time. Let's not forget that there were a lot of "Full Web Experience" Flash-tards out there who swore up and down that without it mobile devices were just lacking.
      matthew_maurice
    • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

      @Lucky2BHere
      There were a lot of people pretending to love Flash.
      You're right. Before Jobs' diatribe about Flash, many folks (on all platforms) complained about it all the time. Afterwards, most of the Anti-Apple crowd then feigned disgust and pretended that the world couldn't live without Flash on their mobile devices just to spite Jobs. And of course Apple's competitors started advertising the (LOL) "Full Web experience."

      Now that even Adobe concedes their own product isn't worth developing, that crowd is back here saying: "yeah, it sucks like I always said."
      Tigertank
  • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

    Yeah 3 years later after SJ passes on....thats really listening. Still doesn't change the fact that plenty of sites out there STILL uses flash.
    rengek
    • RE: Adobe listens to Steve Jobs, pulls plug on Flash for mobile

      @rengek

      You are right, of course. Adobe never listened to Steve Jobs.

      Adobe came to the conclusion that after six years of trying to make mobile Flash work, their ace programmers failed to deliver on their promises and now Adobe managers will save mankind from this load of crap only fools would defend as essential for a full web experience and kill this software abomination.
      kenosha77a
  • I'm Pretty Much Done With Adobe

    Between my unresolvable Google Chrome Adobe Shockwave crashes and the awesome new Nitro Pro PDF suite, I'm uninstalling Adobe products as fast as I can!
    John Westra