Adobe Announces Flash Wind Down

Adobe Announces Flash Wind Down
Stephen Yagielowicz

LOS ANGELES — It was an obituary long in the making, as Adobe today announced the end-of-life plan for its once ubiquitous Flash technology.

Long used as a panacea for web video delivery and the underpinning of the live cam industry, Adobe’s Flash has been plagued by security and usability issues — with the proprietary software system being largely replaced by advances in Open Source HTML5-based video delivery — leading to considerable anticipation of Flash’s impending demise.

Today it became official, with a release by the Adobe Corporate Communications team, entitled, “Flash & The Future of Interactive Content,” that estimated a late 2020 time frame for Flash support to cease — a long enough lead time for even the largest site (or slowest dev team) to make other arrangements.

“Adobe has long played a leadership role in advancing interactivity and creative content — from video to games and more — on the web. Where we’ve seen a need to push content and interactivity forward, we’ve innovated to meet those needs,” Adobe’s team explains. “But as open standards like HTML5, WebGL and WebAssembly have matured over the past several years, most now provide many of the capabilities and functionalities that plugins pioneered and have become a viable alternative for content on the web.”

As a result, Adobe says that in collaboration with technology partners including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla, will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 — and even sooner “in certain geographies where unlicensed and outdated versions of Flash Player are being distributed.”

During the intervening period, Adobe says it will continue to support Flash through “regular security patches, maintaining OS and browser compatibility and adding features and capabilities as needed.”

Adobe also plans to lead the development of new web standards and contribute to the HTML5 standard and WebAssembly Community Group, while continuing “to provide best in class animation and video tools such as Animate CC, the premier web animation tool for developing HTML5 content, and Premiere Pro CC.”

“Looking ahead,” the release concluded, “Adobe will continue to provide the best tools and services for designers and developers to create amazing content for the web.”

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