Nathan Peretic Called It, Too

Nathan Peretic, one day after Zeldman’s post in February 2010:

The coup de grâce, history will note, was Apple’s release of the iPhone sans Flash. The mobile Internet became a force to reckon with overnight, single-handedly trashing Flash’s former claim of ubiquity. The iPhone has gashed a gigantic hole in the number of people browsing the Internet who don’t have Flash. The iPad is poised to increase that number.

This is an excellent summation of the logic that doomed Flash.

Before the iPhone and iPad, Flash was the easiest way to publish multimedia viewable by the largest audience. The percentage of web-viewing devices with Flash Player installed, right from the factory, was surely in the high 90s. In an ideal world, web publishers would have aggressively moved to HTML5 simply because it was a better — and open — technology. But that wasn’t enough of a motivation.

Almost every device could play Flash content. Many devices could not render HTML5 content, because they were junky PCs running Internet Explorer. Publishers went for the larger group, technology be damned.

Starting with the iPhone, there was no longer any way to publish multimedia in one format for “almost all” devices. You could stick with Flash and ignore mobile, or you could switch to HTML5 and leave legacy PCs running old browsers behind. The choice was easy.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017