Adobe needed more backbone over mobile Flash

Today’s announcement from Adobe that it is pulling its Flash Player from the Google Play store is one that has infuriated me.

Since Steve Jobs published his unnecessary tirade against the company back in 2010, saying Apple would never incorporate the software for fear of “reducing the reliability and security” in its iPhones or iPads, I have watched the company fall in line with its rival.

Adobe’s initial (and true) stance that Flash was the most used software for video on the web so should be on mobiles, disappeared in a relatively short time and, despite it being a prominent feature on Android, BlackBery and Symbian phones, it made the decision late last year to can the software on mobiles altogether, focusing on the Apple adorned HTML 5 standard.

Everyone knew Adobe and knew it was the most dominant way of watching video on the web. Yes, the consensus was that HTML 5 would be the future, but the majority also acknowledged this future was a few years off and mobile users would need Flash performing as well as possible in the interim.

It annoyed me how quickly the firm crumbled under the Cupertino marketing machine and gave up on its mobile ambitions, despite having a good few years ahead. I was angered that rather than improving the software and proving Jobs wrong, it bowed out of the competition and let him and his company win.

But, it would be ok, I thought. They will continue to support Flash until its dying days and then, when we are all ready and all the apps are ready, we can migrate to HTML5 and slowly see off Adobe Flash to the software bin in the sky.

But no. The company wants out and wants out now. It is removing its Flash Player plug-in from Google’s application store and support will end in 2013 for anyone with an existing version of the app.

The mobile web is not ready for this. Huge applications, like the BBC iPlayer, are still dependent on Flash being downloaded so this decision will leave a lot of Android users, both with smartphones and tablets, screwed out of capabilities.

It also means those software developers, like the BBC, will have to rush out their updated applications to keep users happy, which will undoubtedly lead to mistakes and several versions having to be released before they get it right.

There is just no need to pull the rug out from under developers and users, as well as no need in letting Apple get the last laugh. You should have had more backbone Adobe. 

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