Adobe’s Significant Flash and Flex Changes

November 17, 2011

Last week, or thereabouts, Adobe announced that it was discontinuing support for Flash on mobile devices. This is, by all accounts, a wave of the white flag in Adobe’s battle against Apple and its iOS devices (if only Steve Jobs were alive today to celebrate). I didn’t think too much of that decision: it does make sense to use HTML5 or native apps for dynamic content to be run on mobile devices anyway. And Flash would still continue to run on desktops, where something like 99% of browsers have the plug-in and 90-some% of video is run through Flash. Flash is such a large component of Adobe’s various technologies that I can’t imagine Adobe leaving it behind.

And then Adobe announced today that it was offering Flex to the Apache Software Foundation (managers of the ubiquitous Apache Web server, among other projects).  Apache will need to vote on whether to accept Flex or not. This announcement does surprise me, as Flex is used not only for Flash creation, but also desktop and mobile application development via the AIR platform. Adobe says it will continue to support Flash and Flex, but clearly Adobe is moving more towards HTML5.

An interesting, and rather big, development. One does not normally think of a technology with such a large market share being outright dropped. We shall see how this plays out…