Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The end of Flash according to Apple and Microsoft

On the same day both Apple and Microsoft made announcements that signify the end of Adobe Flash. Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager for Internet Explorer, announced that IE9 will use only the H.264 standard to play HTML 5 video. Microsoft seems to have become very committed to HTML 5, while Flash loses even more ground. The announcement came the same day Steve Jobs detailed why Apple does not accept Flash on iPhone and iPad.

Microsoft is taking HTML 5 very seriously. Hachamovitch stated: “The future of the web is HTML5 ... HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design.” Many wondered what is Microsoft going to do about HTML 5 and, if they start integrating it, what video standard is it going to use? Microsoft has already started implementing some of the HTML 5 features – history, inline editing, web database – but they still have to catch up with the other browser vendors which have many more feature implemented like Canvas, Drag&Drop, Messaging, Video, Audio, Workers and others. But IE9 will certainly contain many of these features, Microsoft being known of advancing quickly on something after they have set their mind on it. For example, the IE team demoed recently IE9 running HTML 5 video on GPU, a step in front of other browsers by using hardware acceleration.

Steve Jobs in his post on Apple said "I wanted to jot down some of our thoughts on Adobe’s Flash products so that customers and critics may better understand why we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Adobe has characterized our decision as being primarily business driven – they say we want to protect our App Store – but in reality it is based on technology issues. Adobe claims that we are a closed system, and that Flash is open, but in fact the opposite is true."

He closed his discussion about the future of platforms with "Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short."

"The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games."

"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."

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