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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on May 04, 2010

I wrote a post last week about the brewing ‘discussion’ between Adobe and Apple re Flash. The story has evolved and is getting interesting….

-Steve Jobs, in a long-winded but frank open letter, explained his reasons for discontinuing Flash in the iPhone OS. The reasons are that Flash is proprietary, a security risk, a battery-drainer, and that HTML5 is a better and more open solution.

-Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen responded in a Wall Street Journal interview, claiming that Adobe believes in open content and that Apple is threatened by its abilities to create cross-platform software. He also likened the fight between Apple and Adobe to the rift between Jon and Kate Gosselin... It was a rather strange interview and Mr. Narayen didn’t score any points – he gave evasive answers and no one was fooled. The 300+ comments on the WSJ blog are extremely harsh in their criticism of Adobe.

-Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch then confirmed that Adobe is abandoning future development for the iPhone OS. "We have already decided to shift our focus away from Apple devices for both Flash Player and AIR," said Lynch. "We are working to bring Flash Player and AIR to all the other major participants in the mobile ecosystem, including Google, RIM, Palm (soon to be HP), Microsoft, Nokia and others."

-Speaking of Microsoft... in a blog on the Microsoft Developer Network, General Manager for Internet Explorer Dean Hachamovitch stated that HTML5 is the "future of the web" and comments that Flash's "reliability, security, and performance" leave much to be desired... He adds that Flash is "an important part of delivering a good consumer experience on today’s web" -- but primarily because of the fact that consumers had few other options.

To sum it up, Flash's decline has started and appears inevitable. Apple is playing for keeps, Microsoft is firmly in the HTML5 camp, and Adobe is acting weakly in the modern strategic context . Adobe's cash-cow is being led to the slaughter – and all the internet marketers, developers and advertisers will soon be upgrading their skill sets to keep up.

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