Adobe Closes Mobile Flash Development - The UpStream

Adobe Closes Mobile Flash Development

posted Sunday Nov 13, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Adobe Closes Mobile Flash Development

It has been a hard fought war between Adobe and Apple, leading Adobe to throw in the towel. They have even gone farther than conceding to Apple, they have conceded to mobile, closing up shop on their Flash Player for mobile project.

Adobe won't let this set them back, however. They have committed to contributing to the HTLM5 standard and will continue to promote its AIR platform, allowing developers to build an app once and allow it to live natively on multiple OS platforms. This raises the question, however, if you are going to continue to deliver Flash to mobile devices to power AIR, why would you drop the browser support?

The answer is simple, and follows the break.

Adobe's business is not plugins, no matter what amateur developers and mobile users might think. In the same way that Microsoft builds Windows not because it wants to but because it is a necessary evil for their business, Adobe builds Flash support for platforms because they sell development tools. Every extra platform they natively support is extra cost incurred by the corporation with no extra income to back it up.

Add to that, if you have ever experienced Flash on a mobile device, you will know it is not quite the rich media experience that Adobe wants it to be. Why would a developer continue to offer a less than stellar performing product, for free mind you, especially when there is an equally powered product already implemented on the device? Adobe seems to think that there would be no reason to do this, but I think they are wrong.

Adobe, whether you love them or hate them, has a major following in the development world. Many companies make a living off of developing Flash sites, including for mobile. By killing off mobile, which is becoming the more dominant platform for consuming rich media content, they are removing the need for many people to interact with Flash at all. Why build a mobile site in one technology while your desktop site runs in a totally different technology. Once people start developing for HTML5 for mobile, their desktop development will go the same way.

While I personally do not like the Flash platform, I think it is a mistake for them to let go of the mobile market. The only way HTML5 won't become HTML4 is by having competition, and Microsoft's Silverlight platform can't be the only option out there. Without Adobe in the mix, what will drive Microsoft and W3C to develop the best platforms available? We know that Adobe has a strong commitment to HTML5, including a demo page of the cool things you can do natively in the browser, so I would assume that Adobe has an HTML development tool in the works, but that won't create the competition the market needs to thrive.

That is, of course, just my take. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments section!

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