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26 Jul 2017

Adobe to pull the plug on Flash Player in 2020

Adobe plans to retire Flash Player

Adobe Systems is going to end an era by retiring its once-popular Flash Player plug-in by 2020.

Encouraging content creators to migrate existing Flash-content to new formats, Adobe announced it would "stop updating and distributing" Flash and completely remove support for it.

It once used to power most of the online media content; it was widely used for playing games and watching videos.

In context

Adobe plans to retire Flash Player

Adobe Systems' statement

Adobe stated: "In collaboration with several of our technology partners, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla, Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Adobe will continue to provide the best tools and services for designers and developers to create amazing content for the web."

Flash Player

The rise and fall of Flash Player

Macromedia released Flash Player in 1996; later, Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia in 2005.

It was once the preferred software for developers of various applications, video players, and games capable of running on several web browsers.

In 2005, Flash was used on over 98% of computers; Google said 80% of desktop users used the technology in 2014, but now the number is just 17%.

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Hackers used Flash as a vehicle for malware

Flash's popularity began to fade after Apple decided not to support the technology on iPhones.

In 2010, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs openly criticized Flash's reliability, performance and also security.

Flash had been criticized mainly for "flaws in its code", which helped hackers to infect computers.

Several major browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari, have already phased out support for Flash.

Other open-web technologies are more secure than Flash: Google

Google stated, "(Current) trend reveals that sites are migrating to open-web technologies, which are faster and more power-efficient." App developer Malcolm Barclay said, "(Flash) fulfilled its promise for a while but it never saw the mobile device revolution coming, and ultimately that's what killed it."

Other Technologies

HTML5 offers much of Flash's functionality

Adobe Vice-President (Product Development), Govind Balakrishnan, said only "few technologies have had such a profound and positive impact in the internet era."

He added they decided to kill Flash because other technologies, like HTML5, WebGL, and WebAssembly, "matured enough" to provide "viable alternatives".

Flash's rival HTML5 doesn't require users to install and update plug-in as it can create multimedia content available within web pages.

Flash's retirement wouldn't affect profits at Adobe

Saying that Flash's demise wouldn't affect Adobe's profits, Balakrishnan stated, "We think the opportunity for Adobe is greater in a post-Flash world." The company would remain committed to supporting Flash until 2020 as "customers and partners put their migration plans into place."

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