Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

It's official, Adobe is putting its future mobile video efforts behind HTML5. So, do you really think that desktop Flash will survive for long?
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Good-bye Adobe Flash. It was nice to have known you.

Good-bye Adobe Flash. It was nice to have known you.

Adobe's love affair with its Flash format has come to an end. Oh sure, Adobe said they were just killing development on mobile browser Flash in favor of HTML5, but seriously, do you think, that they'll keep working on Flash on the desktop for much longer? If you do, I have a nice, lightly-used bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. No, the end of Flash is in sight and HTML5 is now the one true future for Internet video.

In Adobe's official announcement, Danny Winokur, Adobe's VP and general manager of interactive development, wrote, "HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively. This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers."

Notice the second company there? Apple. With this move, Adobe has conceded that Flash was never going to make it to iPads or iPhones. Now, Adobe developers and independent software vendors (ISV)s can work on delivering the goods for Apple's family of devices.

Of course, Adobe isn't just saying forget about Flash. Adobe wants to bring all the Flash goodness it can to HTML5.

In speaking about the desktop, Winokur said, "We will continue to leverage our experience with Flash to accelerate our work with the W3C and WebKit to bring similar capabilities to HTML5 as quickly as possible, just as we have done with CSS Shaders. And, we will design new features in Flash for a smooth transition to HTML5 as the standards evolve so developers can confidently invest knowing their skills will continue to be leveraged."

The writing is on the wall. While Adobe programmers will be able to use their same Adobe software development tools, the end-product is clearly going to be HTML5 video. Flash is now a legacy format.

Silverlight? Microsoft's one time rival to Flash? It's toast. Even before this news, it wasn't a sure thing we'd even see another version of Silverlight. The day of non-standard video formats seems to be coming to and end.

This won't mean the end of the Web video wars. HTML5 currently supports no fewer than three formats for its video element. These are Ogg files with the Theora video codec and Vorbis audio codec; MPEG4 files with the H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec; and Google's WebM files with VP8 video codec and Vorbis audio codec. So, we can expect video format battles to continue. But, it does mean that HTML5's video chief rival, Adobe Flash, is throwing in the towel.

By this time next year, I expect Adobe will have announced that, except for legacy support, all Flash development will have come to an end.

Flash is dead. Long live HTML5.

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