The Beginning of the End for Flash?

Jobs has taken every opportunity to mock Flash and even flaunt the fact that the iPad won’t support it. His words have been less than kind regarding it’s security flaws and myriad of other problems. Google probably hasn’t helped much with their slow but steady conversion away from Flash in support of HTML5. They just announced a massive shift on the mobile side of YouTube so that more devices can see their videos.

It’s not great when two major players start pulling away from you, but what makes it worse is that you live to up to their bad expectations. The last couple of Flash updates have caused more problems than they’ve helped. This latest one in the 10.x series broke some major functionality and rendered a slew of videos useless. It’s a bad place to put users where they stuck on whether to upgrade and not get any videos or remain where they are and expose themselves to known security exploits.

And the odd thing is, Adobe is making huge strides when it comes to Photoshop and their other editing software, but Acrobat and Flash seemed to be plagued with problems. The security flaws seem numerous and glaring. HTML5 is all the rage and many companies are proving that it can replace Flash for a variety of functionality.

There are hundreds of millions of instances of Flash out there so for it to disappear overnight isn’t going to happen. But these mistakes are certainly chipping away at it. You can’t keep breaking things as you try to fix security issues, that just doesn’t work.

Everyone thought the world would end when iPad didn’t support Flash. Two million units later I don’t think it’s stopped many people. Most sites adapted and many more will. If anything, it just makes people choosy on the sites they do visit and if you want to be one, you need to get your site in shape.

So where does Silverlight fit into all of this? Quite frankly I don’t think it does. It’s being adopted, but it’s no more accessible on mobile devices that Flash is. Switching a site over to Silverlight is just shooting yourself in the foot. I can’t see any sane person switching from Flash to Silverlight, and there seems to be no reason to build a site from the ground up using Silverlight. You’re still alienating way too many people.

Neither one of these is mobile technologies. Flash is at a tipping point. There will be a shift away from it regardless of what Adobe does. Silverlight is far too late in the game (no surprise there) to really gain a foothold. It would take a fundamental shift in thinking from both companies (which I don’t think they will do) to keep them relevant. It’s taken awhile, but that mobile market is really starting to have an impact on that desktop market and how people view the web. It’s been a good run, but I think technologies are moving beyond Flash and Silverlight.

As an aside I just read that Adobe is jumping on the 3D bandwagon for Flash. Can someone please explain to me just what the hell’s the point of all this 3D nonsense?

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