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Adobe explains why it killed mobile Flash: it couldn't compete with HTML5

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Adobe product manager Mike Chambers has provided some context to Adobe's decision to kill off the mobile Flash plug-in. He admitted that Flash "was not going to achieve the same ubiquity on mobile that it has on the desktop" and pointed out stiff competition from HTML5 on Apple's iOS devices as well as the difficulty of developing for multiple platforms.

Adobe Flash Logo
Adobe Flash Logo

Adobe has taken note of the big reaction to its decision to cease development of the Flash Player mobile plug-in, so product manager Mike Chambers has taken to his personal blog to provide some context and background. In short, Adobe saw the writing on the wall, with Chambers admitted that Flash "was not going to achieve the same ubiquity on mobile that it has on the desktop." One of the big reasons for that was stiff competition from HTML5, which is much more widely supported on mobile browsers than Flash could ever hope to be. That's another way of saying that Apple supports HTML5 on iOS devices, but despite Adobe's best efforts would not support 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.

Adobe saw that in order to support iOS, even loyal Flash developers would need to also create HTML5 versions of the same content, duplicating efforts. However, it wasn't just Apple's resistance that was behind the decision, there is another bugbear of the mobile world also factored in: fragmentation. In order to get Flash working properly, Adobe has had to work with multiple OS vendors, multiple device manufacturers, and even multiple chip makers. That kind of effort, Chambers says, was "simply not scalable or sustainable."

More details will come about Adobe's HTML5 and Air efforts, but Adobe believes that features that are even now still unique to Flash are coming to HTML5 in short order. Chambers is encouraging Flash developers to give HTML5 a long, hard look — hopefully Adobe's tools to help those developers do just that will see rapid development.