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Is Flash Dead?

It’s an interesting topic these days. With Apple and Microsoft both saying that Flash on their mobile platforms is unlikely, where does that leave Adobe’s foundational development platform?

First of all, Adobe should and probably will focus all of its energy towards RIM (which has an alliance with Adobe) and Android (which just passed Apple OS as the number 2 mobile operating system). I’m sure Adobe is highly frustrated with Apple’s stance, especially since one could argue that a significant appeal of Apple computers has been as an artistic platform. Adobe has been the foundational component of that appeal with its design products Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. If I were Adobe, I’d pull those products from the Apple desktop and market heavily on Windows. That might be just enough headache to bring Steve Jobs back to the negotiating table.

Microsoft is a different animal. Their mobile business is in reboot mode with the new Windows Phone 7 and it remains to be seen how successful the new platform will be with developers and consumers. Since Microsoft’s Silverlight is the development platform for the new mobile OS, it isn’t a stretch to see why they wouldn’t want Flash in their breadbasket.

But all of this is meaningless. Adobe Flash is still the standard on every desktop in the world and although their are a lot of mobile devices, people will continue to use desktops at work and in schools. The new fad is the tablet computing devices, some of which will run mobile operating systems, but it’s my assumption that within a year, there will be many of these running Linux and Windows, both of which support Flash. There will be iPads and other oddball tablets, but these devices will not replace netbooks, notebooks, laptops, and desktops.

I think Steve Jobs is overreaching and it’s going to cost him a lot of money. Apple is one hot competitor product away from losing marketshare and Windows Phone 7, WebOS and HP, and Droid all have an easy shot at being that product.

People think Apple is cool, but people don’t like to be locked out of choices. Apple is ironically playing the bad guy in their seminal 1984 marketing video. Someone will throw a hammer through their new playbook…it’s only a matter of time.

And Flash will survive just fine.

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