Stephen Shankland, writing for CNet on the demise of Flash for mobile devices:

But in context, the cancellation wasn’t a complete surprise. Flash has plenty of opponents, and the biggest one, Apple, also happens to be the single most powerful player in mobile computing. By banning Flash on the browser responsible for 62 percent of mobile Web usage, Apple effectively exercised third-party veto power over Adobe’s ambitions.

Opponent is not the right word. Critic, perhaps. Silverlight was an opponent to Flash. Apple didn’t favor its own proprietary plugin over Flash. There’s no QuickTime plugin on iOS either. Apple’s view was, and is, that there should be no proprietary web browser plugins, period.

And, regarding Apple’s mobile web usage share, remember that in June 2007, Apple’s share was zero. It wasn’t like they built a majority share of mobile web usage and then shut the door on Flash — every single web page ever viewed on an iOS device was done without Flash. I would thus argue that Shankland has the cause and effect backward. It’s not that iOS’s popularity for web browsing led to the death of mobile Flash; it’s that the lack of Flash — and the resulting overall improvement to speed, responsiveness, and battery life — led to the popularity of iOS for web browsing.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011