Why Web Multimedia Won't Let Flash Die Any Time Soon

By HTMLGoodies Staff

With the debate between HTML 5 and Flash rolling on, largely fueled by Apple's refusal to allow Flash to run on the iPhone and iPad, many have speculated that Flash is seeing its last days. Others, however, are of the opinion that Flash will be around for a long time, as HTML 5 is not ready to live up to the expectations of web multimedia users.

The arguments against Flash have largely been focused on open source, non-proprietary software versus proprietary software that has to be installed on a user's machine to work in conjunction with their web browser. Industry analysts, however, have their own arguments. As RedMonk analyst Michael Cote stated, "There are many people who despise Flash, but I'm not sure they'd love the alternative right out of the gate. The open-source world has not blown everyone out of the water with their video work thus far. Adobe has spent a lot of time optimizing Flash, and I'd wager it'd take some time to get HTML 5 video as awesome."

Flash is beginning to show up on mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPad (though its use requires the devices to be "jailbroken" and the use of a specific app which converts Flash is required). Flash is used for more than video, and most of the games on popular social networking sites utilize the technology. Adobe provides a lot of support for Flash developers. Flash technology also provides DRM protection for content producers, something that HTML 5 is lacking. It also appeals strongly to advertisers, who have been slow to move to HTML 5. And HTML 5 video, which is one of the strongest reasons cited by those who are proponents of the emerging standard, still has video codec patent issues to settle. Flash may have alternatives that developers are eager to work with, but it will still be among us for a long time.

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