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Innovation

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

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

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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