Adobe Engineer: Apple Played Major Role in Demise of Flash

Apple Played Major Role in Demise of Flash

Adobe’s announcement last week that it will cease development of its Flash Player platform for mobile device browsers was caused in major part by Apple’s decision not to support the platform on its iOS devices, according to Mike Chambers, principal product manager for developer relations at Adobe. 

Although initially only joked about, Mr. Chambers’ explained in a blog post that Steve Jobs’ very public battle with Adobe and his decision to eschew the company’s technology likely spurred its demise. 

In a section entitled “Why did Adobe decide to no longer develop the Flash Player for Mobile Browsers?,” Mr. Chambers explained that Flash on mobile “was not going to achieve the same ubiquity” as it had on the desktop. “This one should be pretty apparent, but given the fragmentation of the mobile market, and the fact that one of the leading mobile platforms (Apple’s iOS) was not going to allow the Flash Player in the browser, the Flash Player was not on track to reach anywhere near the ubiquity of the Flash Player on desktops,” Mr. Chambers wrote. [Emphasis added].

Even after Mr. Jobs’s passing, there was little hope at Adobe that Apple would change its course on Flash. “Just to be very clear on this. No matter what we did, the Flash Player was not going to be available on Apple’s iOS anytime in the foreseeable future.”

Going forward, Adobe will focus its mobile browser efforts on HTML5, the same platform that Mr. Jobs praised as a better, higher performance, and more open technology for achieving the same benefit that Flash had brought to the table. “HTML5 has very strong support on modern mobile devices and tablets. Indeed, on mobile devices, it has a level of ubiquity similar to what the Flash Player has on the desktop,” Mr. Chambers noted.

While some have taken Adobe’s announcement to mean the end of Flash, Mr. Chambers was quick to counter: Outside of mobile web browsers, “Flash is not dead. It’s role and focus has shifted but we feel that it still fills important roles both on the web and mobile platforms.”