Adobe: “We didn’t loose, we are just listening to our customers.” Huh?

Adobe abandons Flash Player for mobile phones

Adobe is throwing in the towel.

The Silicon Valley software company, which makes Photoshop and the ubiquitous Flash for websites, announced Wednesday it will no longer support the mobile version of its Flash Player for smartphones and computer tablets.

Instead, the company, which was co-founded by University of Utah graduate John Warnock, will focus its development on the programming language HTML 5, which is an easier way to develop animation and video on the Web.

The news is not surprising for Web and mobile application developers because the Apple iPhone and iPad, the world???s biggest-selling portable devices, have never supported Flash. And that Adobe will stop development for Flash should not affect what developers do, they said.

???You look at the horsepower to run Flash and the battery drain, it was never going to be the solution long term,??? said Clark Stacey, president of Salt Lake City video game developer, Smart Bomb Interactive, which makes the Flash-based Web-browser game, ???National Geographic Animal Jam.???

???We have not done anything Flash-related since Day One,??? said Andrew Howlet, president and CEO of Rain Interactive in American Fork, which makes mobile apps for clients such as KSL, Skullcandy and Sony Music. ???Adobe no longer has to throw good money at something. It became clear it wasn???t going to be adopted by Apple and by other small devices.???

Adobe Systems??? surrender is the end of a long and controversial battle with Apple over what would be the primary way of developing video and animation on mobile devices. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs adamantly refused to have the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad support the mobile Flash Player, claiming Flash was too slow, a big battery drain and was not an open platform for developers.

???The mobile era is about low-power devices, touch interfaces and open Web standards ??? all areas where Flash falls short,??? Jobs wrote in a now-famous 1,500-word letter to customers in April 2010, explaining why his devices would not support Flash.

But in an interview with analysts in New York, Adobe???s chief financial officer, Mark Garrett, said Adobe???s move away from mobile Flash was not a concession. ???I wouldn???t say we lost to Apple. I???d say we listened to customers,??? he said.

Salt Lake City-based digital marketing firm, StruckAxiom, which has done Web marketing for clients such as Nike and DreamWorks Animation, has never turned to the poor-performing Flash for mobile devices because the popular iPhones and iPads never supported it.

???Nine times out of 10, when someone [a client] says they want a mobile app, they???re talking about wanting an iPhone app,??? said StruckAxiom???s director of new business, Kyle Snarr.

In fact, StruckAxiom is also developing fewer Web sites with Flash because clients want those sites to run on an iPad.

???The iPad is what is driving Flash out of the Web in general,??? he said. ???We???re doing less and less websites, period [with Flash], mainly because they want viewers to get to it via the iPad.???

Web and mobile developers ultimately think it???s a good idea that Adobe finally abandoned its losing battle with Apple over Flash. But Rain Interactive???s Howlett says Apple may have too much power in directing where technology is headed.

???You hate it when someone dictates how you should do something. It bothers us and bothers me that Apple says, ???No, this is how you do it,??? ??? he said. ???That is never a good solution in my opinion. But it???s Apple. They get to do those kinds of things.???

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Twitter: @ohmytech

Google+: +Vincent Horiuchi

?? 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune

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