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Adobe Halting Development on Flash Player Mobile

Wednesday Adobe confirmed that it is indeed dumping Flash Player for mobile browsers and will instead focus its mobile efforts on HTML5. In an official blog posted by Adobe's Danny Winokur, the company acknowledges that HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, and in some cases even exclusively.

"This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms," Winokur said. "We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers."

Following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook, Adobe will officially discontinue development on Flash Player for the mobile browser. Instead, all work with Flash for mobile devices will be focused on enabling Flash developers to package native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores. However Adobe will still continue to provide bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations.

"These changes will allow us to increase investment in HTML5 and innovate with Flash where it can have most impact for the industry, including advanced gaming and premium video," Winokur said. "Flash Player 11 for PC browsers just introduced dozens of new features, including hardware accelerated 3D graphics for console-quality gaming and premium HD video with content protection. Flash developers can take advantage of these features, and all that our Flash tooling has to offer, to reach more than a billion PCs through their browsers and to package native apps with AIR that run on hundreds of millions of mobile devices through all the popular app stores."

The HTML5 "exclusivity" comment made in Adobe's blog seemingly points to Apple and its stance against using Flash in iOS. "Flash was created during the PC era — for PCs and mice," the late Steve Jobs said. "Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low-power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards — all areas where Flash falls short."

Tuesday Adobe said that it is cutting 750 jobs in North America and Europe as part of "corporate restructuring" to add greater focus to its digital media and digital marketing software. The change is expected to reduce its revenue growth next year by between 30 cents to 38 cents a share, lower than its previously guided range of 41 to 50 cents. Shares dropped 9-percent to $27.64 after the news of the upcoming layoffs became public.

Adobe put up a good fight over the past two years trying to bring its Flash Player platform to the mobile sector. Google and RIM have even widely adopted Flash Player despite security issues surrounding the platform. But the software has brought its share of problems to the mobile internet, draining batteries, consuming large chunks of internal storage and eating up processor power. Load times can even be atrocious, a deterrent for those wanting to browse the web on the go.

Looking back, industry support for Adobe's Flash Player for mobile seemingly came to an end when Apple refused to adopt Flash. Facebook has even launched an HTML5 platform supporting a wide variety of apps and games.

"Steve Jobs kicked the industry forward a notch toward HTML5," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis. "Open-source always wins, even it doesn't mean innovators are going to make money on it."