Apple continues its iShun of Flash: Who really wins and loses most?

With all the posts and noise, I wanted to take a step back and consider who wins and loses most now that the world’s biggest mobile device company has officially continued its policy of shunning Flash Player from its mobile product line.


– Any Flash design/interactive firm that has embraced the iPhone SDK, hired developers and built a portfolio of impressive apps. I know a couple of folks in this category who stand to win big with the further distribution of iPhone SDK-based devices that will ship. Good work guys.

– Adobe. Yes, Adobe. If CS5 Packager launches soon and successfully, expect a surge in sales of both Flash Professional and the Creative Suite. Flash, Flex and Actionscript developers not interested in learning the iPhone SDK will have to purchase the new version of Flash Pro to stay with the pack and meet the demand of their clients for increased iPhone SDK application production.

Jeff LaMarche and other talented authors and evangelists who have become the thought leaders of iPhone development. As the only way to code applications for the closed platform, existing and new developers will continue to buy your materials – now, via the iBook store, on the very device you code for.

– Any device/SDK that embraces the Flash Platform and its developer community, recognizing the potential of what talented designers and developers can do with a solid tool set. Devices like JooJoo, Chumby, litl*, Android and many more will continue to present Flash content and applications to a majority of consumers, thus deserving the attention and participation of most loyal Flash developers.


– The 30 Rock fan who, after growing accustomed to watching his favorite show for free via Hulu, will now have to pay $2.99 per episode. Add to this category the productive software user who enjoys sites like Buzzword and Photoshop Express as alternatives to having to buy suites like iWork to remain, or attempt to remain, as productive on the larger screen mobile device format.

– The average AT&T customer who will experience slower service on a more diluted 3G network.

– Any Flash designer, developer or agency making a good living building Flash-based banner ads. Since your work won’t see the light of the iPad screen, expect fewer companies banking on reaching their market this way. Similar abandonment of Flash or interest in relevant services could devalue this and related skill sets across the board.

– Adobe. Yes, most of all, Adobe. The Flash Player’s success and continued dominance depends critically on, among other things, it’s ubiquity across all platforms and devices. Already, most of Apple’s 250 million mobile devices do not include nor support Flash. By continuing this practice, Apple denies Flash its ability to sustain a dominant ubiquity ratio parallel to the rate of mobile device adoption among consumers.

So that’s some of my thinking on this epic and very compelling news. While the extent of what will be won and lost will be offset by surging adoption of Flash Player on other devices, until those devices turn the world’s head the way Steve Jobs and Apple do, it seems most relevant to discuss it in this context.

I wonder who you would add to this list and why?

[*Disclaimer: I am the Chief Channel Evangelist at litl. This post represents my own thoughts and opinions.]



Jesse Freeman

Very good post, nice to see you take the high road. Like I keep saying I do want Flash on all devices. It makes total sense to me since I a program for the Flash Platform. My only real concern is having a slow, underpowered, and limited version of Flash on these devices. There are still issues with performance, bugs, and security that continue to bog down the desktop player.

If Flash can’t run the way people expect it to on mobile devices who is the real winner? I still believe Adobe has a lot of work to do making Flash as lean and responsive as possible and if they don’t nail it people will be completely turned off by the experience. Developers understand that it runs slow and we accept it since it blows our minds that Flash can run on such a small device but the average web user will never get it.


Well i agree with jesse on the performance issue. But i am sure that once HTML5 becomes mainstream we will see pages that kill the CPU too. Even more than Flash, Javascript coding is not simple thing all the good examples we saw from HTML5 came from Apple, Google and such.

So when your average developer gets his hands dirty with advanced Javascript, crashes are going to happen.

But Adobe should improve their performance issues anyways 😛

iPad, HTML5 og Flash · omFlash();

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I still believe Adobe has a lot of work to do making Flash as lean and responsive as possible and if they don’t nail it people will be completely turned off by the experience.


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