Myriad are the complaints from developers and consumers who have had to deal with wonky Flash programming. But Apple has drawn a line in the sand with its refusal to support Flash on its mobile products, and the repurcussions are continue to be felt.
Flash currently flourishes online, but more and more companies are opting out of using it. First a few publishers came out with iPad friendly websites. And now the Open Video Alliance, which includes Mozilla, Kaltura, and Yale Law School, has announced plans to get video on Wikipedia – Flash-free.
Apple is notoriously opposed to Flash and refuses to support the animation software on the iPhone or iPad. Steve Jobs went so far as to tell the Wall Street Journal that Flash enabled iPhones and iPads would only have a 1.5 hour battery life.
For companies that rely heavily on Flash, abandoning it seems like a lot of work. But that is what appears to be happening.
The Journal uses Flash for all types of things — from video to its slide shows and infographics. And Jobs’ admonishment appears to have worked on the company’s developers.
This month, the paper announced that it would be catering taking Flash programming off its homepage and elsewhere. And other publishers, from Conde Nast to NPR are
designing websites without Flash to be viewed on the iPad and other devices.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is trying to increase usage of its
Silverlight player as a Flash alternative. Sites like the U.K.’s Hulu
alternative MSN Video Player and March Madness On Demand rely on Silverlight to stream video. And other sites are shedding Flash as well. Virgin America, for example, has announced that it will remove all Flash content from its site so that iPhone users can access it.
Adobe claims that 85% of websites currently use Flash, but more and more web creators are opting out of the multimedia platform. Not necessarily because of Apple’s decision, but also because increasingly, consumers access the internet from mobile phones. Even if they’re not using iPhones, mobile is a much more fickle environment for viewing content.
If there’s a Flash alternative that uses less memory than Flash to convey images and content in the mobile environment, people are going to use it.
Image: Open Video Alliance