Adobe bites mobile Flash bullet

It was obvious 18 months ago that Adobe had lost the smartphone Flash player war. So why did it take them so long to admit it?
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

Adobe's loss was inevitable (see Adobe: smartphone Flash player battle officially lost after Adobe failed to deliver iOS support - heck, Flash stinks on a 3.4 GHz quad-core i7 iMac - but it's a case study in how corporations deny reality.

Adobe's belated admission that they can't succeed with their smartphone Flash player - for all the reasons Steve Jobs detailed - was a long time coming. Why?

The 5 stages of corporate denial Like the 5 stages of the Kübler-Ross model for grief, like this: 1) denial; 2) anger; 3) bargaining; 4) depression, and; 5) surrender.

How this worked at Adobe:

  1. Denial: No flash on 1st iPhone. "I think Apple's entry into the market with iPhone is only going to enhance the importance of the user experience on handsets across the spectrum, which plays to our strengths." Huh?
  2. Anger: Flash is on 98% of all PCs. Apple has to come around because users won't stand for not getting the content they want. And if that doesn't do it, Flash on Android will!
  3. Bargaining: "The technology problems that Mr. Jobs mentions in his essay are "really a smokescreen," Mr. Narayen [Adobe CEO] says.
  4. Depression: “If you can build an app using our tools, and if you run it through AIR, it can be in the App Store.”
  5. Acceptance: OK, we're going with HTML5 and Adobe Air. Prior statements on Flash are inoperative.

Wait, Adobe Air? Google "adobe flash problems" and you'll get over 80 million results. Google "adobe air problems" and you'll get over 20 million results - 90% of them on PCs. I guess that's an improvement - except Air hasn't been around that long. Haven't we seen this movie before?

The Storage Bits take Forget the country club whining about government stifling innovation: the biggest problem is between executive's ears. Just as RIM and Microsoft pooh-poohed the iPhone, Adobe believed their own hype about Flash for far too long.

Adobe may get the last laugh after all. According to them AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) includes Flash Player as the runtime environment.

Maybe AIR isn't much of an improvement: I took it off my Mac after it starting causing all-too-familiar problems. Can they fix Air better than they did Flash?

Readers, what is your experience with AIR?

Comments welcome, of course. I do like Adobe's Photoshop Elements 9, although I mostly use Graphic Converter for photo editing.

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