The future of Adobe Flash is in the hands of Google.
Apple’s reluctance to support Flash on the iPhone and the iPad is putting tremendous pressure on the future of Adobe’s ubiquitous platform, present in 98% of browsers worldwide.
The Adobe Flash Player is the engine behind 99% of Video in the web. Adobe Flash Player 10.1, soon to be released, was supposed to take Flash Player dominance together with online video to mobile handsets. But Google and Apple insistence in an Open Web with HTML5 native video (among other capabilities) that make Flash irrelevant can ruin Adobe’s plans. Apple bet of non supporting Flash even on the iPad shows they are pretty determined to kill Flash.
Abobe is going from being the ‘good guy’ that enabled video on the Web, to the ‘bad guy’ that imposes proprietary technology and that crashes browsers too often. Is Flash doomed to die then? It is up to Google.
Apple and Google close romance is turning to an end as both turn to competitors rather than friends in smartphones, office applications, browsers, OS, and soon in tablets and ebooks.
With Chrome OS now targeting the trendy tablet feast too, the support of Flash Player on Chrome OS and Android can give an edge over Apple’s rivals. Having all video on the web on Google powered smarphones and tablets, that would be a huge advantage to Google.
But Google could also well decide to stick to its principles and go full speed on the HTML5 open web vision, shared with Apple. If Google moves all YouTube content to HTML5, who on Earth is not going to install an HTML5 browser? Even the stubborn IE6 laggards would finally wake up and change. How long would it take for other web video properties to move to HTML5 and drop Flash?
Update: Good ZDNet post on the HTML vs. Flash war.
Update 2: Good explanation on Gizmodo about HTML5 and Flash
Update 3: Great post on TechCrunch on the Future of Web Content