The Future of Flash Looks Bad

Adobe Flash, I’m not seeing a bright future for you. It seems pretty clear that HTML 5 is going to be a new favorite. Look at the big three rivals – Microsoft, Apple and Google. Microsoft has Silverlight. Apple just announced the iPad – without Flash support. And as for Google, they do things with AJAX and basic browser features. If video is going to be a standard function of future browsers, why should I keep wasting money for upgrades of Adobe Flash? Why should I force photics.com visitors to use a third-party plug-in? If rival companies are coming to the same outcome, a world without Flash, then why should I support it?

There’s more to Flash than YouTube videos. It’s a critical part of the banner advertisement market. That’s why so many people hate it. Flash is associated with annoying ads. Once major players start to move away from Flash, how many people will keep Flash installed on their computer?

The main motivation for this posting is what Steve Jobs said at a recent townhall meeting. I read it at Wired.com. According to the article, Steve Jobs denounced Google’s “Don’t Be Evil” mantra and he called Adobe lazy. Supposedly, a common reason why Macs crash is because of Flash. The battle lines are clear. Google and Apple are gearing up for a huge mobile battle. But it doesn’t matter who wins, Adobe loses. Neither of the rivals are showing huge love for Flash.

Oh sure, Flash CS5 is supposed to be able to make iPhone apps. I was really excited about that, but then Adobe canceled the beta test. Instead of working on a familiar platform, I found a new one – GameSalad. For $99 I can make iPhone and Mac games, with even more platforms to be supported in the future. I’m thinking that’s going to be far less expensive than what it will cost to upgrade CS4. There’s another bonus of choosing GameSalad over Flash. I don’t have to worry about ActionScript, a language that becomes more confusing to me with every upgrade.

Competition is good. This could force Adobe to get better. Maybe the pricing will be cheaper. Maybe the software will be improved. If not, the .swf format could be forced out of the industry.

This also makes the iPad seem more logical. At first I thought, “What good is it going to be without Flash?” I realized that I asked this question over and over… will the Flash videos on YouTube work on my Wii… will they work on my Playstation 3? Nope, I still can’t enjoy an episode of MacGyver (youtube.com/shows) on either of those platforms… not even my Android phone. With so many platforms doing a lousy job at running Flash, Abode becomes the least common denominator.

HTML 5 is starting to look really good to me.

2 thoughts on “The Future of Flash Looks Bad”

  1. There is too much overhype about HTML 5. The only thing HTML 5 will be good for is to replace some simple static video here and there. Like you said, Flash can do much more than just play videos, but that’s all HTML 5 can do which is very limiting. HTML 5 is not be INTERACTIVE. People are all excited thinking HTML 5 will kill off Flash. This will hardly be the case once they fully understand how very basic and limited HTML 5 is.

    Steve Jobs really messed up when he tried to say Apple was more innovative than Adobe. I would hardly say the iPhone is innovative. It’s just popular for the moment. The new iPad is hardly innovative. It doesn’t even have a USB or webcam. Apple has gathered too much pride based on their lucky streak with the iPhone.

    It’s interesting that Steve Jobs was all upset over Google getting into the phone business. That was a very hypocritical statement for Steve to make. Apple is a computer company, so why did they get into the phone business?

    Job’s negative statements will only make Adobe more fierce. Very few people are going to buy the iPad, and the ones that do are going to be dissapointed with the price and the lack of modern day features.

    I think Apple has forgotten about who helped make them a company in the first place… it was Adobe providing all of the innovations in graphical software.

  2. Oh good… a debate! :)

    Is HTML 5 hyped, maybe. It probably needs some excitement to get people to upgrade, especially considering that Internet Explorer 6 is still in use. That’s not to bash Microsoft either. (They’re my favorite company of the big three.) The problem is that IE6 is not a safe browser. It should be upgraded.

    …but HTML 5 is not just about video. It’s about building applications in the browser itself. Will those applications be as robust as if they were done in Flash? Probably not at first, but that process could gradually erode Flash.

    There are four main reasons why I use flash… Banner Ads, Flash Paper, Games and Video. Once HTML 5 is popular enough, I can replace video. Flash Paper, I could replace with PDFs (The load time has improved dramatically in recent history.) or maybe I could use the new design features of HTML 5. As for Banner Ads, that can’t be the only reason for the existence of Flash, otherwise people will uninstall Flash to block the annoying ads. (I’m thinking that some people do this already.)

    As for games, I don’t like Flash as a gaming platform. With each upgrade, they change things around. I think, for the worse. It shouldn’t be so complicated to make a button that goes to the next frame. In Flash 4, it used to be very simple.

    Should Steve Jobs be saying such things? I don’t think it’s very professional. Yet, it’s good for me. It gets the competition going. Is the iPad a revolutionary device? I don’t think so, not for first version. I’d rather use my laptop. Yet, the device does have “cool” factor. It reminds me of Star Trek: The Next Generation. When the price eventually drops to $199, it could be a game changer.

    My thinking is that this trash talk was publicized to counter some of the backlash from the iPad. That’s the problem with hype. The expectations of the iPad were too high. Apple announced a device without Flash support. At first, it seemed odd to me. But after learning of Steve’s rant, the decision made sense to me. I didn’t like it when Steve launched the first iMac, a device without a floppy drive. Time proved him right to make that decision.

    So back to the main point, is HTML 5 hyped? I don’t think so. I think it’s moving in the right direction. It’s going to be a gradual change. It’s a warning sign for Adobe. If they don’t make Flash better, it means they could be phased out to the point of insignificance.

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