Adobe drops mobile Flash development

A leaked email from Adobe appears to signal that the company is to quit development of its Flash player plug-in for mobile devices.

The news has lead to many pundits proclaiming that this is the first move toward an end for Flash on the internet, as was famously predicted by the late Apple boss Steve Jobs.

Yesterday Adobe announced that it is to shed 750 jobs at the firm due to ‘corporate restructuring’.

Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores,” the email reads, as reported by ZDNet.

We will no longer adapt Flash Player for mobile devices to new browser, OS version or device configurations. Some of our source code licensees may opt to continue working on and releasing their own implementations.

We will continue to support the current Android and PlayBook configurations with critical bug fixes and security updates.”

It’s a dramatic about turn for a company that has always insisted that Flash had an equally prolific future on mobile devices as it already enjoys on the web – an opinion most notably held by Steve Jobs, whose mobile iPhone and iPad devices do not support Flash.

The reasons? Primarily that Flash itself is resource heavy, leading to fast battery drain and reduced processing speed. Indeed, Adobe persisted with its mobile plans in the face of growing criticism from Jobs but was never able to deliver a fully stable version of Flash for mobile.

And Flash is not without its challenge in the desktop market, either. The growing prominence of HTML5, which replicates most of the functions of Flash but without the drawbacks, is quickly gaining traction.

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