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Adobe readying its Plan A (Flash) and Plan B (HTML5) into future

Posted in Internet and Search by Manas Ganguly on September 27, 2011

Industries evolve, Industries mature and the products and technologies travel through their lifecycles through intriguing phases such as Question Marks to Stars to Cash Cows till the die out (The BCG way of explaining things).Heeding industry trends, companies are often forced to give up on once-premiere products and offerings in order to survive.

Examples abound: In Case of Nokia dropping the ageing Symbian for Wp in smartphones, IBM and HP spinning out its hardware business to focuss on software consultancy and Netflix splitting its DVD subscriptions into Qwikster and staking its future on streaming content.

However, there are cases where managers and boards stick on to old products and platforms and forget evolving to the new paradigms and then go out of business… the all familiar example “Frog in Burning Water” example.

A classic example is that of the Flash from Adobe. Adobe, which last week doubled down its efforts on Flash, releasing Flash Player 11, Air 3, and ramping up its 3D and HD support–even as many critics argue the industry is shifting away from Flash and toward HTML5. With such a disruptive technology as HTML5, at what point does Adobe give up on its flagship Flash product, which has long been Adobe’s bread and butter? At what point is Adobe stubbornly ignoring the writing on the wall?

Danny Winokur, Adobe’s VP and GM of Flash has no plans to give up on Flash. Publishers and content creators, he says, are still “really excited” about the technology. However, that doesn’t mean Adobe is rooting against HTML5–in fact, the company has heavily invested in HTML5 with its Edge suite of tools. That would mean that while Adobe is working at Flash, it is also building its bridge to the future paradigm. As for now, Adobe continues to drive innovation on both fronts [of Flash and HTML5]. Not everyone shares Adobe’s long-term support for Flash. Top directors of Google Chrome and Internet Explorer have sung HTML5’s praises; Mozilla Firefox product VP Jay Sullivan is also betting short on Flash stating that HTML5 is the longer-term answer.

Winokur states that the capabilities of Flash will absolutely come to HTML5 over time. He argues that in each round of innovation that is happening across with both platforms, Flash has been trying as aggressively to drive HTML5 innovation–but there are always opportunities to go out and innovate ahead of the standards and bring content publishers the latest and greatest capabilities that are available on devices, and let them take advantage of those things even before they’ve been fully standardized.

Adobe is investing in both [HTML5 and Flash] and is readying both platforms. As and when HTML5 takes over, Adobe would move all its efforts on the HTML5 platform and let drift Flash. However, that might be a long way away to a time when when content publishers are not interested in ongoing investment in Flash.

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