In another disappointing announcement from Adobe this year, it seems as though the company will be ending their flash mobile player and instead shifting support behind the Adobe AIR and HTML5 technology. This marks the end of an era, as Flash has served up video and games for more than 10 years on desktop devices. Whether or not the company will abandon the platform entirely remains to be seen.
News of the shift away from Flash for mobile devices was first reported on ZDNet a little over two months ago, where it was finally confirmed by Danny Winokur, who serves as Adobe’s vice president of interactive development. In Winokur’s statement to the press, he lauded the expansion of flash into mobile devices, but acknowledged that the universal support of HTML5 is the best solution for deploying mobile content in the future.This acknowledgement comes only a year after Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs penned a harsh letter entitled “Thoughts on Flash”, which detailed his decision as to why the company would not support Adobe’s outdated technology. Jobs’ main point was that Flash was designed to cater to the desktop environment and with its resource intensive architecture, it would not provide a good mobile experience. Despite how hard Adobe fought with Jobs on the matter in order to get Flash accepted into Apple’s walled garden, it appears the company now agrees with his sentiments.
The company was likely spurred on by the news that Microsoft shares the same opinion as Apple when it comes to Flash in the mobile environment, as the Metro browser featured in Windows 8 which will be for both tablets and PCs will be plug-in free. Microsoft said in September that Internet Explorer 10 will support web-plugins for PCs, but the feature will not be present for tablets. With such a shift in focus from two major players in how consumers interact with their devices, the move to dump Flash on the mobile platform seems to be a smart one.
Instead, Adobe will now focus its last remaining resources to assisting Flash developers in converting their flash files into native apps designed to run on Adobe AIR. After the upcoming Flash 11.1 release for Android and the Blackberry PlayBook, the company will only focus on critical bug fixes and security updates, with no new resources dedicated to device configuration. From this point forward, Adobe will focus its efforts on HTML5 and newer innovations.
Of course with the end of Flash support, Adobe announced that more than 750 jobs will be cut as the company begins internal restructuring in order to refocus their development on newer technologies. The jobs are being cut mostly from North America and Europe as the company plans on focusing more of its developmental resources around Digital Media and Marketing. With all of the restructuring and severance payouts, the company is expected to pay anywhere between $87 to $94 million in pretax restructuring charges. Despite the grim prospect, Adobe is confident that its revenue will remain between $1.08 billion and $1.13 billion.