Adobe has today announced that it will stop developing Flash Player for mobile browsers.
A paragraph from a post on the Adobe blog reads: "Our future work with Flash on mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.) following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook. We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations. We will also allow our source code licensees to continue working on and release their own implementations."
The company is also undergoing major restructing which, according to marketwatch.com, will result in the loss of around 750 jobs.
Open Web evangelist Molly E Holzschlag told us that this development is a "game changer for the web":
"For several years the buzz has been 'HTML5 is the Flash Killer' – and surely when Apple made the decision to leave Flash out of its iOS devices, it looked as though that were to come true.
"While the push for HTML5 video is important, one has to question Adobe's real goals. They spent a fortune to buy Macromedia, which was largely about buying Flash! But let's think back prior to that purchase. What was Adobe working on implementing? What plug-in had they been pushing? SVG! This leads me to believe that no matter the business agenda at the top layer of this news, there's also a fantastic opportunity for Adobe, who already has imperfect but improvable SVG support in some of their tools.
"Imagine the focus at Adobe shifting back from 'let's build stuff on the Flash/Flex' application platform to 'let's go back and do what we have always done very well' – which, of course, is making developer tools. Imagine a Dreamweaver that has a GUI for working with APIs? That automatically adds ARIA to forms? That allows you to use SVG, finally, as we see its usefulness becoming more important now that IE finally has an implementation. One things for certain – this is a game changer for the web, whether desktop, smartphone pad or device-of-the-day."
She also tweeted from @mollydotcom:
"The most important lesson to take from Flash? Don't ever, ever put all your developer eggs into one basket. Skill diversity is essential."
Creative coder Seb Lee-Delisle told us he had expected Flash to be phased out more gradually: "As native browser technology encroaches on its stronghold, use cases for Flash are becoming more and more specialist. As a large public corporation, Adobe will be under pressure to stop investing in a technology that returns little financial reward.
"I have to admit that I'm surprised at the boldness of this move. I expected Adobe to lose interest in Flash over time, but this is an explicit statement that Flash is no longer a priority. I expected Adobe to take longer to switch focus.
"There'll clearly be demand for Flash games, especially within Facebook, but long-term, I see Flash's new position as similar to Director and Shockwave – a specialist plug-in for 3D games, and we all know how that turned out."