Word came out this past weekend that Steve Jobs held a Town Meeting with his employees after the iPad party. Among the topics were Adobe and the Nexus One, which apparently both have Jobs more than a little riled. According to a Wired article, he had this to say about Adobe and Flash:
They are lazy, Jobs says. They have all this potential to do interesting things but they just refuse to do it.
Seriously, Steve?! I would say, Adobe has done all kinds of interesting things with Flash in spite of what Jobs may think. Yet it seems that many pundits feel with the advent of HTML 5 next year, it will mark the end of Flash era of domination. HTML 5 has the ability to generate streaming video (which is only part of the Flash experience) and Google has even demoed (according to this article) a version of YouTube using HTML 5 instead of Flash. It could very well be that HTML 5 could represent a sea change on the web, but I'm guessing that it will be a slow evolution. Flash is too enmeshed in the Web experience to just fall off the face of the earth.
Silverlight Didn't Do Squat
Microsoft's Silverlight was supposed to challenge Flash, but it really hasn't. You would think with all of the resources that Microsoft has put behind it, it would have made a dent in Flash's domination, but you have to remember how deeply entrenched Flash is. According to figures on Adobe.com, the Flash player is on one billion computers worldwide, representing 98.9 percent of the world's computers. Think about that for a minute, and try to think of any other piece of software that has that kind of presence. Hard to imagine, isn't it?
That's probably why Microsoft found it wasn't so easy to unseat Flash and why Adobe may be threatened, but it's probably not cowed by other challengers.
Adobe Isn't Going Away Easily
Adobe and Flash aren't simply going to disappear whenever HTML 5 happens to show up. How many people are using Dreamweaver, Photoshop , Illustrator, Acrobat or Captivate? Go on, raise your hands if you're using one of these tools. And guess what folks, Flash is a big part of this tool set. How many of you are using Flash to develop applications?
How about Adobe Air? How many of you are using an application developed on the Air platform? Let's face it, it's ubiquitous and Steve Jobs may be irritated with Adobe for whatever reason, but even with all his money, power and reputation had can't just make it disappear.
Adobe has a role here folks whether, Jobs wants it to or not. It may be true that Flash causes some issues, but it's not going away any time soon. Even if Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Steve Ballmer all wish it to be so. It's just too much a part of the web experience in 2010.