Why does the Adobe Flash battle matter?

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All the geeks out there have been reading pro- and anti- iPhone and Flash battles. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, says Flash drains battery life on the iPod. He also claims that it’s the biggest cause of crashes on Mac computers. InfoWorld has even come up with a Peace Plan to try to settle the conflict. One of the thing’s I’m most curious about: why is Adobe so passionate about this battle?

Flash has always been a large part of their business, it’s true, but Flash has not evolved. Since Adobe bought Macromedia in 2005, I feel development from version to version has been fairly static. True, I’m no Flash developer, maybe there have been giant improvements in how it works on the backend, but from what I can see, it’s very stagnant. In 2007, when Microsoft released the Silverlight platform, I expected to see a big push from Adobe – but it never came. Microsoft and NBC (you know, MSNBC), cornered the Olympics and did some amazing things, showing several cameras at one time, in fluid motion. It’s got fantastic performance and it’s turning my regular internet connection in to something beyond magic!

After all of this, only one question keeps coming back in to my mind: why does Adobe care if Flash is killed off? Adobe is clearly losing ground to Silverlight, and, to agree with Apple and everyone else, HTML5 is coming, and you won’t need Silverlight, or Flash, or shockwave, or anything else to play videos, listen to music, or have great interactive experiences online. Why not work HTML5 into other Macromedia / Adobe web development products, such as Dreamweaver and Fireworks. You have a chance to streamline your business model, and make other products thrive, and you’re complaining that you might lose the foothold that exists in Flash. Adobe already has lots of other businesses cornered, like the Acrobat PDF. They have great software i nthe form of the former Syntrillium property, now Adobe Audition. Why focus on this one tiny platform whose days are clearly numbered?

If Adobe’s Dreamweaver & Fireworks applications are promptly and properly updated, I sincerely don’t feel that they should be too sad to see Flash go. While I understand Flash is one of Adobe’s most identifiable brands, but it has problems. In an economy where companies are downsizing for kicks, if you’re forecasters are expecting the Flash team to have a hard time, why not just kill it off?

I guess this whole post is just repetitive and doesn’t really clear anything up for anyone… but I just had to say: I don’t really care if Apple or Adobe wins the argument. But frankly, too bad, Adobe. Flash is on it’s way out. Now go make Dreamweaver better.

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