A Future with Flash?
In a March 9 posting on his personal blog, Mike Chambers, Adobe's principal product manager for developer relations for the Flash platform, wrote that: "Adobe and Microsoft are working together to bring Flash Player 10.1 to Internet Explorer Mobile on the Windows Phone 7 Series." Chambers added: "I don't have an ETA or other specifics right now, but is something that both Adobe and Microsoft are working closely together on."That same day, an Adobe spokesperson suggested in an e-mail to eWEEK that, "While the newest version of Windows Phone won't support Flash at initial availability, both companies are working to include a browser plug-in for the full Flash player in future versions of Windows Phone. More details will be shared at Microsoft MIX next month." Apple's refusal to support Flash for either its iPhone or iPad will perhaps be seized upon by its competitors as a chance to establish a competitive differentiator for their own devices. While Apple CEO Steve Jobs declared Flash to be a buggy product during a January "town hall" meeting at Apple headquarters, the application nonetheless continues to power rich content on a wide variety of popular Websites. While Microsoft's smartphone operating-system franchise has a considerable mind-share among business users, a new analyst report suggested that Windows Phone 7 Series could experience notable uptake by consumers. Devices running the OS, suggested Jefferies & Co. analyst Katherine Egbert in a March 9 report, "could go a long way helping Microsoft recapture the consumer imagination." Part of that strategy, Egbert noted, involved Microsoft limiting its partners' abilities to alter the Windows Phone 7 Series: "Consumer experience on the upcoming phones is essential. Previously, Microsoft partners had more power on customizing the Windows Mobile user interface experience, but now the company plans to limit the extent of customization, ensuring a consistent experience across phones. We expect most of the innovation to take place in the UI and application layer." Whether Microsoft's attempts to develop new devices receives any blowback from Apple's patent-infringement lawsuit against HTC remains to be seen.
That echoes reports from the operating system's unveiling at a Feb. 15 press conference in Barcelona, where Microsoft executives said that Windows Phone 7 Series would not support Flash at the outset. However, Ballmer indicated during the conference, "We have no objection to Adobe Flash support."