Adobe CTO: HTML Video Won’t Supplant Flash

Citing the widespread use of Flash on the Internet, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch recently published a blog post in which he cited “an important crux for the future of Flash” and dismissed support for video in HTML 5 as a serious threat to Flash, saying: “I don't see this as one replacing the other, certainly not today nor even in the foreseeable future.”

Mr. Lynch was apparently inspired to write his piece after the iPad’s launch: he leads off with this line: “Some have been surprised at the lack of inclusion of Flash Player on a recent magical device.” He goes on to point out that “we are now on the verge of delivering Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones with all but one of the top manufacturers.”

That holdout, of course, is Apple, which doesn’t seem likely to work with Adobe on Flash support in the iPhone OS any time soon. During a recent internal town hall meeting, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was quoted as saying: “No one will be using Flash. The world is moving to HTML5."

Mr. Lynch does go on to directly address Apple, writing: “We have shown that Flash technology is starting to work on [Apple] devices today by enabling standalone applications for the iPhone to be built on Flash. In fact, some of these apps are already available in the Apple App Store such as FickleBlox and Chroma Circuit. This same solution will work on the iPad as well.”

He adds: “We are ready to enable Flash in the browser on these devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen.”

A few days after Mr. Lynch’s public statements, The San Francisco Chronicle’s Ryan Kim posted a piece in which he said that Adobe told him iPhone and iPod touch users want Flash “a lot.” The company pointed to the more than seven million Flash download attempts from iPhones and iPod touches during December, up from three million last June, as evidence that users are hitting Flash-enabled content online and trying to download the plug-in.

Mr. Kim also cited a Strategy Analytics report that sees 53 percent of smartphones supporting Flash by 2012, or an install base of more than 250 million devices.