Will Adobe survive the Flash – apocalypse?

Yesterday there was a change made in Apple’s developers terms and conditions prohibiting cross-compiling Iphone and Ipad applications. This addition is related to announcement of Adobe CS5, which should be able to convert Flash to Iphone application and open Iphone application development to Flash developers. This is not a huge step for Apple, however it enforces animosity between Apple and Adobe.

Some think that killing Flash is a good thing. HTML5 would be adopted faster if there were no flash. Computers are safer and more stable when they do not need to rely on third party plugins to display web pages. And all technologies are bound to die or evolve to something else.

However, this is not a question of technology only. This is question about keeping users and money. Adobe has two important and related technologies that compete directly with Apple. That is flash and Adobe Air. Flash allows implementing rich internet applications that are not dependant on Apple Itunes store. Air allows content delivery that can not be controlled easily. That will not be allowed by Jobs.

Frankly, I do not see why Adobe should fight for Iphone and Ipad market now. There is a lot of room for Adobe elsewhere: PCs, Macs, other mobile platforms. As long as Adobe focuses on Iphones, they will do crappy job elsewhere. Forget them for a while – do a superb job on Androids, on PC’s and later you might come back to Iphones as well. You will be forgotten if you will focus on this defeat. For now, Adobe can not gloat that it has way to develop fully cross-platform applications anymore. The biggest advantage is killed and might never return.

There is a lot of things that has to be done by Adobe to change and adapt to new world. Still no official Flash in Android Market. Adobe Air or mobile Air applications should be made available for Android and other mobile platforms. Make it easy for developers to monetarize flash applications as well and you will get a share of the gaming market money. I see very little movement to this direction. Can you make a cross-compiler from Cocoa to Flash as well?

The problem is that if Adobe waits, nothing of this will be possible. No one will believe that Flash is better than HTML5, no one will believe that Air is something better than other platforms. And it will be harder to return. Maybe even impossible.

Update

I have read this article by John Gruber recently. It has very good arguments why Apple will not allow Flash – based (or other intermediate layer) application development in the future. Adobe needs to move on. It is time to focus on other things to do, and work in other markets.



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