Adobe has announced Flash Media Server 4.5 which enables iOS devices to play Flash content. iOS devices do not run Flash videos right now. Flash as a technology was rejected by Apple for its high CPU consumption. Though Adobe has waited for a while for Apple to budge, it has given up on Apple and made its own arrangements. Flash’s high CPU consumption problems are resolved by going through an alternative way of providing the same video content on iOS.
In a way this looks like a win for Apple as it has rejected Flash and gone in favor of HTML 5. Though Apple has given technical reasons to reject Flash, everybody knows that millions of iOS devices not running Flash is as much a political decision as it was a technical decision. There were proofs that Flash isn’t all that of a CPU hog Apple made it out to be and HTML 5 isn’t all that of a smooth runner as Apple wants it to be. The truth is somewhere in between.
Egos have never served anybody well in the real world and they never do in politics or business. Adobe has done the smart thing to circumvent Apple’s Flash abhorrence by a smart technology move. Now all that is left is political reasons and Apple can’t do anything about it.
Flash on iOS is not necessarily a loss for Apple but definitely a big win for Adobe.
If we look at the numbers, Adobe doesn’t really need Flash to be run on iOS devices. After all, iOS devices are a tiny drop in the galaxy of Flash clients. 99% of all the browsers support Flash, and there are more than 2 billion users who are accessing Flash through their browsers from various devices. When compared with 2 billion Flash users, 20 million iOS users seems like tiny number. It indeed is a tiny number. Yet Adobe thought it is wise to get them under the Flash umbrella. Smart move. After all iOS is where the money is. 75% of the video served online is served using Flash technology. With Flash kind of enabled for iOS users, that number would swell even further.
Despite HTML 5 being a competitive technology (at least in the video) to Flash, Adobe has embraced HTML 5 and released a software toolkit (Adobe Edge) for developers. Now with Flash on iOS, Adobe has made sure that it remains relevant. Classic dual-play.
Image courtesy : Flickr user Angus Stewart