Today, Adobe announced that it was halting its development of the Flash player for mobile devices. In a blog post, Adobe VP and General Manager of Interactive Development Danny Winkour wrote that because “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively,” Adobe will redirect its focus from Flash to an “increased investment in HTML5.”
HTML5 is faster than Flash, has lower CPU usage (due to Flash ignoring GPUs), is exclusive for iPads and iPhones, and is free. So Adobe decision to redirect mobile development to HTML5 shouldn’t be a surprise. The zdnet.com article that broke the story predicts that although Adobe announced only a retreat from mobile Flash at this time, desktop Flash will soon follow.
Apple and Jobs Declared War
Precipitating this whole Flash vs. HTML war was Steve Jobs’ controversial decision to not support flash on any Apple mobile device and prohibit app developers from using it. As Jobs wrote in a blog post listing the fatal flaws of Flash:
Flash was created during the PC era…new open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.
Walter Isaacson, author of the bestselling authorized biography on Jobs, relates that Jobs not only thought Flash was bad software, but had a personal feud with Adobe:
TIBCO:The Swiss of Software
Following our platform-agnostic philosophy, TIBCO has kept a neutral stance in the battle between Flash and HTML5. While some proclaim the death of Flash, the truth is that some developers will continue to use Flash for years, and our software needs to provide support both to the old guard and the new upstart. Our recently launched web messaging service already fully supports the new HTML5 WebSocket standard. We are already familiar with HTML5 and have concrete plans to support it in many of our products. TIBCO doesn’t have any stake in the battle, but we are watching attentively from the sidelines and will continue to offer products that have a full range of support for all platforms.