Adobe to pull plug on Flash, ending an era

  • 26/07/2017
Adobe will stop releasing updates for Flash and web browsers will no longer support it. Photo credit: Reuters

Adobe Systems Inc's Flash, a once universal technology used to power most of the media content  online, will be retired at the end of 2020, the software company says.

Adobe, along with partners Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc and Mozilla Corp, said support for Flash will ramp down across the internet in phases over the next three years.

After 2020, Adobe will stop releasing updates for Flash and web browsers will no longer support it.

The companies are encouraging developers to migrate their software onto modern programming standards.

"Few technologies have had such a profound and positive impact in the internet era," said Govind Balakrishnan, vice president of product development for Adobe Creative Cloud.

Created more than 20 years ago, Flash was once the preferred software used by developers to create games, video players and applications capable of running on multiple web browsers.

When Adobe acquired Flash in 2005, the technology was on more than 98 per cent of personal computers connected to the web.

But Flash's popularity began to wane after Apple's decision not to support it on the iPhone.

In a public letter in 2010, late Apple CEO Steve Jobs criticised Flash's reliability, security and performance.

Since then, other technologies like HTML5 have emerged as alternatives to Flash.

On Google's Chrome, the most popular web browser, Flash's usage has already fallen drastically.

 In 2014, Flash was used each day by 80 per cent of desktop users.

That number is now at 17 per cent "and continues to decline," Google said in a blog Tuesday.

Flash, however, remains in use among some online gamers. Adobe said it will work with Facebook and other companies to help developers migrate their games.