July 25, 2017 Last Updated 12:50 pm

It… is… finally… over: Adobe announces end-of-life for Flash

Adobe, which acquired Flash as part of its 2005 acquisition of Macromedia, has now set a date for ending the updating and distributing of the Flash Player: 2020

The end is near, or so says Adobe, announcing today that the company will stop updating and distributing its Flash Player at the end of 2020.

The end has been a long time in coming, and predicted by most tech reporters who recognized that Flash just was not the technology for interactive content going forward.

But it was probably Steve Jobs of Apple that is remembered for his refusal to have iOS free of Flash, even writing a post on Flash in April of 2010 when the first model of the iPad was released.

“Besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn’t support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads,” Jobs wrote.

“We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers,” Jobs said.

What Apple was trying to prevent was the creation of apps that used Flash to run, rather than having the apps built natively. While this did prevent the use of Flash, it didn’t stop Adobe from promoting DPS as its platform for creating digital editions. Meanwhile, Flash continued on but became overtaken by HTML5.

Today it is rare to run into a video that requires Flash only to view, but it happens. It won’t after 2020.

A little history: Flash redates Macromedia, but it was when that company acquired FutureSplash in November 1996 and rebranded it as Macromedia Flash 1.0 that it began to get noticed. Around this time talented designers were experimenting with both Flash and Shockwave, which Macromedia acquired when it bought MacroMind in 1993.

We associate Flash with Adobe, but that company did not acquire Flash until it bought Macromedia in 2005 when it not only picked up Flash and Shockwave, but also Dreamweaver and Fireworks. Picking it up so late in the game is probably one reason it didn’t like the idea that Apple would prevent its use on the iPhone and iPad.

In the end, it may have been the issue of security that doomed Flash, however.

Here is Adobe’s announcement regarding Flash:


SAN JOSE, Calif. — July 25, 2017 — 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. Where a format didn’t exist, we invented one – such as with Flash and Shockwave. And over time, as the web evolved, these new formats were adopted by the community, in some cases formed the basis for open standards, and became an essential part of the web.

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. Over time, we’ve seen helper apps evolve to become plugins, and more recently, have seen many of these plugin capabilities get incorporated into open web standards. Today, most browser vendors are integrating capabilities once provided by plugins directly into browsers and deprecating plugins.

Given this progress, and in collaboration with several of our technology partners – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla – Adobe is planning to end-of-life Flash. Specifically, we will stop updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020 and encourage content creators to migrate any existing Flash content to these new open formats.

Several industries and businesses have been built around Flash technology – including gaming, education and video – and we remain committed to supporting Flash through 2020, as customers and partners put their migration plans into place. Adobe will continue to support Flash on a number of major OSs and browsers that currently support Flash content through the planned EOL. This will include issuing regular security patches, maintaining OS and browser compatibility and adding features and capabilities as needed. We remain fully committed to working with partners, including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoftand Mozilla to maintain the security and compatibility of Flash content. [To see each partner’s announcement on this news, click on the links inside each partner name.] In addition, we plan to move more aggressively to EOL Flash in certain geographies where unlicensed and outdated versions of Flash Player are being distributed.

Adobe will also remain at the forefront of leading the development of new web standards and actively participate in their advancement. This includes continuing to contribute to the HTML5 standard and participating in the WebAssembly Community Group. And we’ll continue 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, Adobe will continue to provide the best tools and services for designers and developers to create amazing content for the web.

Comments are closed.