Home Steve Jobs Wins: Adobe to Give Up Mobile Flash for HTML5

Steve Jobs Wins: Adobe to Give Up Mobile Flash for HTML5

Alt title: A Win for the Web.

Sources close to the news have told ZDNet reporter Jason Perlow tonight that Adobe will announce soon that it has given up on the development of mobile flash and will increase its investment in supporting HTML5. The company will say, according to an email published by Perlow, that it will encourage app developers to work with the cross-platform Adobe AIR platform to be distributed across mobile app stores, a caveat that could mean the news is less dramatic than it might seem. Rather than building with AIR for mobile, though, it seems likely that more developers will focus on HTML5 instead.

Feisty Twitter user Counternotions quotes Adobe’s CEO from 2010 “Technology problems [w/ Flash] Mr. Jobs mentions…are ‘really a smokescreen.'” Apple’s refusal to go with the glitchy, gloppy proprietary protocol that performs poorly on Apple devices had to be a big part of what turned the tide.

Adobe prints giant piles of money from sales of its Flash authoring tools. (Point aptly critiqued below in comments, by the way. Flash on the desktop remains alive and relatively well.)

Update: Adobe published this statement today.

Apple CEO Jobs explained why he was opposed to the inclusion of support for Flash on Apple mobile devices in the Spring of 2010. Sarah Perez summarized his arguments as follows:

  1. It’s proprietary.

  2. Most Web video plays on the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad

  3. Who needs Flash games? We have apps for that.

  4. Flash has poor security.

  5. Flash doesn’t perform well on mobile devices.

  6. Flash negatively affects battery life.

  7. Flash was designed for PCs, not touchscreens.

Adobe contested those arguments of course, and Google was happy to support Flash on Android. At least one prominent benchmarking test found HTML5’s performance to be comparable to Flash’s. The European Union went so far as to consider forcing Apple to support Flash on the iPhone.

Adobe began offering an experimental Flash to HTML5 conversion technology this Spring.

Perlow, who broke the story tonight, has been a Senior Technology Editor at CBS’s ZDNet since 2008 and was a Senior Editor at Linux Magazine for ten years prior.

The leaked news from Adobe says that the company will “continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.” That doesn’t mean much for future configurations of those Operating Systems.

ZDNet’s Microsoft specialist Mary Jo Foley reported earlier today that Silverlight may be slated for an imminent demise as well. Open standards FTW.

[Note: This post was written in a hurry but delayed until Flash and AIR apps on my Mac could be force quit. It’s running much better now.]

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