News Analysis: Adobe has decided to ditch Flash Player for mobile browser applications and, in the process, has lost its prolonged and bitter battle with Apple over this Web application development platform.
Apple shipped the first iPhone in 2007, it became clear that the future of the
space would be dominated by Apple. Many consumers who wanted to own an iPhone
were just fine by that. But there were a host of companies that weren't so
pleased to see Apple try to impose its will on the industry. Chief among those
companies was Adobe.
the last several years, Apple and Adobe have been engaged in a bitter battle in
the mobile space over whether or not Flash should be supported in iOS. Apple
has argued it shouldn't, since it can cause security issues and because Flash
can be replaced with better technologies, such as HTML5. Adobe, on the other
hand, has argued that the popularity of Flash, both in online video and games,
makes it a necessity.
now, years later,
Adobe has finally capitulated
. The company announced on Nov. 9 that it will
no longer offer Flash Player for mobile devices and will instead work with
other companies to improve HTML5. Adobe's surrender was, as much as the company
might not want to admit it,
surprising but inevitable
on to find out why:
1. First and foremost, Apple's resistance
it weren't for Apple
, Adobe would have never been forced to discontinue
Flash Player for mobile browsers. Apple is a major agent of change in the
mobile space, and it has the unique ability to determine just about any product's
fate. It proved that once again with Adobe.
2. Major iPhone, iPad adoption
Apple wasn't too keen on Flash, it wouldn't have mattered all that much if the
iPhone and iPad were failures. But over the last several years, as millions of
iOS-based devices were sold, Adobe's chances of making Flash relevant in the
mobile space continued to decline. Flash's death in the mobile market can be
directly attributed to the success of the iPhone and iPad.
3. Steve Jobs
Jobs was able to impact the decision-making of competitors when he was running
After he wrote an open letter about Flash on his company's Website
battle lines were drawn and he effectively made it clear that if application
developers wanted to be successful in Apple's mobile space, they needed to
follow Apple's lead. And that meant turning their backs on Flash.
4. Other smartphone makers followed suit
significant that after Apple took its stand, other smartphone makers and mobile
OS providers balked at the idea of supporting Flash. Many companies viewed
HTML5 as a better option and decided to follow Apple's example rather than try
their luck with Flash. Sure, Android supported Flash, but by then, it was too late.
And every stakeholder knew it.