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Adobe plans to ditch mobile Flash, focus on HTML 5

Adobe announced Wednesday morning that it will stop developing Flash for mobile browsers, chipsets and operating systems, opting instead to develop on the open HTML5 platform.

“HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively,” wrote Adobe executive Danny Winokur in a company blog post. “This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms.” The company will continue to release security updates for its Android and BlackBerry PlayBook, but will stop developing its Flash Player for those platforms.

The company’s plans were first reported Tuesday by ZDNet’s Jason Perlow .

Adobe has pulled its Flash player out of the spotlight in recent months, pivoting toward more HTML5 development with the release of Adobe Edge in August. At that time, Adobe’s Web Segment Group Product Manager Devin Fernandez told my Washington Post colleague Emi Kolawole that the HTML5 tool was not a sign that Adobe was abandoning Flash. He said that Flash “remains very relevant” for use in data-driven applications and high-end video.

But Flash has become increasingly less relevant in mobile, most notably because it was publicly shunned from iOS by none other than the late Steve Jobs himself. In an open note in April 2010, Jobs outlined why he didn’t like Flash, saying that it was proprietary, not secure, a drain on battery life and not designed for mobile.

In September, Adobe made a quiet capitulation to Apple, allowing for Flash content to run on iDevices without actually having to run Flash, though it didn’t work for animations, interactive content or games. With this new announcement, it looks as if Jobs has won this battle.

Adobe also announced Tuesday that it was cutting 750 jobs and scaled back its fourth-quarter profit outlook and sales forecasts.

On another interesting note, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft may be abandoning its proprietary video player, Silverlight. Foley, a reporter with a reputation for getting good sources at Microsoft, said that her sources say that the company may release the next and likely final version of the player, Silverlight 5, by the end of November.

Related stories:

Ideas@Innovations: Adobe Edge marks pivot to HTML5

Flash content will run on your iPhone

Adobe to cut 750 jobs, trims 4th-quarter profit outlook and 2012 sales forecasts

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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