Amazon has announced that ads on its network (including the Amazon.com portal) will no longer be able to use Flash from September 1. It’s another nail in the coffin for the ailing interactive Web technology, which became the go-to tool for displaying videos, animations, games and other types of content online in the 2000s.
“This change ensures customers continue to have a positive, consistent experience across Amazon and its affiliates, and that ads displayed across the site function properly for optimal performance,” reads the Amazon statement, hinting at some of the reasons why Flash has been ditched.
In short, Amazon ditched Flash because it can’t offer a “positive,” “consistent” or “optimal” experience. These are the same sorts of problems Steve Jobs cited about Flash in 2010, pertaining to security, reliability and performance.
Flash-Forward? Rather Flash-Back
When YouTube opened its doors in 2005, Flash was the obvious choice to handle video playback duties; nowadays, YouTube has transitioned to HTML5, the lightweight and nimble successor to Flash, and large swathes of the Internet are following suit.
The stand Jobs took right from the start with the iPhone and iPad is finally permeating the industry as a whole: Firefox temporarily suspended Flash support in July because of a security issue. The Chief Security Officer at Facebook wants to see it killed off. The Interactive Advertising Bureau would like to see marketing departments switch to HTML5 instead.
Soon Chrome also will stop Flash content from playing automatically. The reason: It takes up too much battery juice and CPU time. The more you dig in, the bleaker Flash’s fate looks.
For now, though, Adobe’s aging technology continues to hang on, Internet Explorer 6-style. Open-advertising firm Sizmek estimates that some 100 million ads will be affected by Chrome’s stance every single day. Fast Company found websites—HBO, Hulu and Spotify among them—reluctant to abandon an established approach.
So it may be a while before Flash finally bows out for good, but the writing is certainly on the wall. Tech giants like Apple, Google and now Amazon have lined up in front of it, wielding their mighty pens to scratch the media plugin right off tech’s tableau.
Image courtesy of Occupy Flash