Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

Summary: Adobe admitted last week its flash player won't be dominant on smartphones, the fastest growing computer segment. In fact, you can watch YouTube on your iPhone today. So, Adobe, shut up already!

SHARE:

Adobe admitted last week its Flash player won't be dominant on smartphones, the fastest growing computer segment. In fact, you can watch YouTube on your iPhone today. So, Adobe, shut up already!

Flash doesn't run on 98% of all computers An Adobe director of technology strategy told Reuters last week:

. . . Adobe said it expects its Flash software to be supported in 53 per cent of the more than 300 million smartphones expected to ship in 2012.

Tech isn't a democracy 53% is a majority, right? Flash player wins!

Wrong. 53% means Adobe loses - especially since that 53% is 2 years away. It might never happen. But even if it does, no one will care.

Why? Because the driving force behind this is advertising. You want to watch streaming video on your smartphone. The streamers - like YouTube - want to sell advertising to pay for it.

Advertisers want to reach affluent, early-adopters - like smartphone users - while they are on the go. And since Flash player won't be on half of all mobile devices - even in 2 years - Flash will not be their delivery platform of choice.

But what about YouTube?

Watch YouTube on your iPhone TODAY! It's easy. Go to http://www.youtube.com/html5 and click on the html5 beta link at the bottom of the page. You'll be watching tracks from Bonnaroo in minutes.

How cool is that? With, sadly, no ads - yet.

The Storage Bits take Flash player has had a good run, but it's over. Adobe needs to go back to its roots as a graphics tool-maker and give up dreams of global video delivery domination.

Ain't gonna happen, guys. [See Adobe Flash: all over but the shouting for more.]

What you can do is focus on building a solid flash player for PCs and notebooks and stop PO'ing users. It is a strategic retreat, but it will earn you the good will of millions of users that you are now frittering away.

And save you hundreds of millions of dollars fighting a battle you've already lost. Shareholders will thank you for that.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. Yes, this reminds me of Toshiba's losing battle against Blu-ray.

Topics: Mobility, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Smartphones

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

66 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I do agree with one thing ...

    "...shut up already!"
    Lunatic59
    • You are right lunatic,

      Harris should heed his own words.
      Uralbas
  • flash is not youtube

    flash is a whole platform that provides an incredible framework for developers. check the quality of all these sites and talk after that http://www.irie.be
    The ads will come in our phones anyway so that's not the point either...the people needs will define this battle at the end and what the people needs it's better interfaces and smarter aplications so i bet to adobe and andriod
    the_hell_rider
    • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

      @the_hell_rider
      What part of "Flash player" don't you understand?
      R Harris
    • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

      @the_hell_rider

      I lost patience waiting for some of the Flash sites from the link to load (or finish buffering), so I came back here to comment......
      dave95.
    • Have you ever used the PizzaHut web site?

      @the_hell_rider

      That site alone will convince you that Flash creates horrid interfaces.

      I hope Flash has a life span measured in weeks.
      Bruizer
    • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

      @the_hell_rider
      Flash is dying, and HTML5 is the technology sticking the proverbial knife in it's back. I'll be glad with both Flash and MSIE 6/7 gone, because we'll be at a web where everything looks similar on everyone's browser (except that ActiveX stuff, but that's something that will only die when Windows dies, which will probably never happen).
      nix_hed
  • Pointless article

    After following ZDNet for so long I feel shame for an article like this.

    Looks like it was written by a troll.
    flavioramos
    • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

      @flavioramos
      Exactly. Sounds like a fanboy to me. Notice how he points out how cool it is for iphone to be able to use hulu but does not point out that the html5 page is a BETA site which means beta issues. He doesn't point out the restrictions listed right on that page like:
      "only videos with WebM transcodes will play in HTML5"
      Way to research this article like a real journalist.

      What a brilliant article.

      What makes me laugh is that all this "I hate flash" from apple....it really helps out microsoft since silver light is the next best alternative.

      And I'm tired of people who don't understand the difference between flash and html5 thinking like they are the same type of product when in fact you are comparing apples to oranges. One is a product that creates rich content while the other is a guideline for building web pages. Nobody said that the next version of flash can't be html5 compliant. So whats the beef besides Steve showing how he can bully a company because he can't bully google or microsoft?
      rengek
      • LOL BETA ISSUES??!!?

        @rengek
        When do Flash's Beta Issues go away? I mean come on, that program should be rock solid by now, and it's a joke on a PC platform. Not sure what it's like on OSX, but Adobe has put out crappy release after crappy release to the point where I run my system with the plug-in disabled.

        Anything is better than Flash. Anything.
        croberts
      • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

        @rengek So if someone doesn't like Flash and mentions the iPhone ONCE, that automatically makes them a Apple fanboy?
        ZackCDLVI
      • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

        @rengek Google means beta.
        dogbreath1
      • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

        @rengek
        Talk about a HAAAATTTERRRR! LOL....wow do you hear those sirens....'cause it sounds like the wambulance is coming for you! Dude...do you work for Adobe or something or are you just a fanboy?! BTW where's chumchum!? Dude really, who cares at this point...i jsut want to be able to see video in HD whether its on MS, Apple or Linux and I use all of them.
        az49erfn
      • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

        @rengek
        What part of "html5 beta" don't you understand?
        R Harris
      • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

        @rengek
        What part of "html5 beta" isn't clear?
        R Harris
    • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

      @flavioramos - I'm hoping that HTML5 will replace fanboi bloggers like this!
      klockheed
      • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

        @klockheed

        > "I'm hoping that HTML5 will replace fanboi bloggers like this!"

        Bigtime.

        At least this guy wears his heart on his sleeve.

        What gives with all the pro-Apple lobbying by ZDNet columnists these days, anyhow?

        It's becoming one of the least useful news/opinion sites dealing with the info/web/computer biz.

        ZD needs to wake up or they'll continue their precipitous decline.

        Remember when PC Mag was 550 pages every couple of weeks?

        They kissed THAT off by cooking their coverage and with their increasingly untrustworthy product shootouts.

        Looks like they're determined to destroy the rotting rump.
        ks2problema
  • Flash lite

    Flash is nice, it's used on a lot of fancy sites, like airline map navigation, Google finance, etc. We use it here to model 3D renderings of products for customers.

    Flash Lite is shipped with HTC and other phones, those customers can use their smartphones to see those sites. Without flash they see a subset of sites.

    It's a pity Apple don't support it yet, but well, there are plenty of smartphones in the market now. So it's no big deal, competition fixes everything. Just as Apple have had to add some sort of multi-tasking to their phone, so presumably they will have to add widgets and flash and Google goggles and everything else too.

    A smartphone, after-all is defined by being smart. Nobody wants a stupid smartphone.
    guihombre
    • RE: Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost

      @guihombre

      So which version of actionScript are you using to cater to Flash Lite and Flash 10 mobile beta users?

      2 or 3?
      hill60
  • You still don't get it.

    It doesn't matter (and I could care less) who wins in the long run, Adobe, HTML5, Google's open codec (well, I might be pulling for that one) or Vorbis video or whatever, it's today, it will be today all day, and what do I want to do today. I want to YouTube and Facebook with flash support today. It does me no good to pat me on the back and say "it's for the best really, now shut up and go away because one company has decided to cripple your experience".

    And again, if Flash is set to die, it will die a natural evolutionary death. In the meantime, a friend who called me asking how she gets her games to work on her brand new iPhone on FB (bejewelled blitz is one) had to be told, if that is a dealbreaker for you, take it back and test drive an android phone. Aside:anyone know if that specific flash app works on Android?

    Kudo's to one company, you now have another open box return simply because you decided accelerating the death of Flash is worth more than a complete user experience.

    She did also ask why some videos on YouTube don't work, I said it just depends on which are .flv only and which have .mp4 "clones" behind the scenes.

    TripleII
    TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827