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It's a shame that Steve Jobs just barely missed his latest victory. He would have been beamingly proud of Adobe's (Nasdaq: ADBE ) recent announcement that it is ditching Flash development in mobile devices.
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) has been waging a high-profile war on Flash for years, despite its widespread dominance on popular websites. The first skirmish was when the original iPhone in 2007 lacked Flash compatibility, and while Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen had said in 2008 that it was working on compatibility internally, that obviously never came to fruition. Apple added insult to injury when the iPad in 2010 similarly excluded Flash support.
Jobs had written an open letter, which is still available on Apple's website, on why Apple felt so strongly. He outlined six primary reasons for his hatred of the platform, including its proprietary nature and its lack of reliability, security, and performance. Jobs added that Apple knows firsthand that Flash was the No. 1 reason that Macs crash. Its power inefficiency adversely affects battery life for mobile devices, and it was never meant for touch interface.
He concluded with what he considered the most important reason: developers. Flash was another third-party layer of software between developers and users, one that's flawed and that they should not have to depend on to distribute content.
Well, the war on mobile Flash is over, and Flash lost. Adobe is ceasing development on mobile devices as well as televisions. In its place, Adobe is now strongly supporting the standard that Apple, Microsoft, and Google have long been advocating for: HTML5. Adobe now concedes that HTML5 is the "best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms," as it is "universally supported on major mobile devices."
Oddly, Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) is deciding to go it alone and will not only continue to support the abandoned platform but will also keep developing it, since it licenses the source code from Adobe. As if we needed any more proof that RIM is falling behind the times, this one is a freebie.
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